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November 29, 2009


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Our reading this morning is from me.

I have been thinking about opposites lately. Some words have obvious opposites - black and white, good and evil, hot and cold. The opposite of "round" may be "square" and it may be "flat". On some checkerboards, the opposite of black is red, not white.

My thought is that "Easy", not "Evil", may be the opposite of "Good".

No one gets up in the morning and decides "I'm going to be evil this morning". A lot of us do get up and notice we are running late, so, instead of that 30 minutes of exercise we promised ourselves we'd do in the morning and the healthy breakfast, it is easier to grab a donut on the way to work. That night we worked hard and we're tired, so, instead of reading about foreign affairs or history or the candidates' positions on health care, or doing those 30 minutes of exercise we promised ourselves we'd do that morning, it is easier to slump in the recliner in front of the television, with a glass of old vine zinfandel. But, we'll get right on it - tomorrow.

Sooner or later there's an ad in the classified section of the newspaper; "Exercise machine, used once, half price.". Sooner or later someone is voting because of a sound bite or a clever joke, not because of a candidate's stand on the core issues

It is easier, just this once, to toss something in the garbage than to save it in a box in the garage and, eventually, take that box to the recycling center. It isn't really evil, just not the right thing to do.

It is easier to complain about the slate of politicians than to donate time and money to the one you like, early on, when it makes a difference.

It is easier to let our children do what they want, just this once, to do than to have the same old argument, over and over and over. Children are not noted for their willingness to do the right thing.

Blaise Pascal said "Strength of character is not measured by special exertions, but by habitual acts.". He's right; anyone can do the noble thing once in a while. We should try to make doing the right thing a habit, not an exception.

[This was the meditation reading for the service with the sermon Good Guys. We have four auxiliary pages for that service, in this order:
Opening Words, from Sam Spade, in "The Maltese Falcon";
Responsive Reading, inspired by the hymn "Comfort Me";
Children's Story, an abridged version of Leviticus 11, verses 9-22 and Mark 7, verses 18-23;
Meditation (above).]

This is one of a series of homilies I wrote for the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Stanislaus County, in Modesto, California, from 2003 - 2014.

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