Covenant: the practice of traveling together

Without a covenant, however informal it may be, between Man and Trees, would we still be walking together? –Laurie Kigner

Without a covenant, however informal it may be,
between Man and Trees, would we still be walking together?
– Laurie Kigner


Two (or more) for the road

What is a relationship, what is promised?  Martin Buber contrasts the I-thou with the I-it relationship, describing I-it as the typical domination of others as objects for the I’s needs or purposes.  We might call this the way of the world, but not the only way.  Our covenant might be seen as the pursuit of not just an I-thou relationship, but the practice of upholding this kind of relationship in community.  We pursue common purposes, but while doing so, honor the freedom and potentiality of others.

This is an uncertain and risky enterprise.  We have not creeds that might allow us to disqualify errant members.  We ask for service, but cannot demand it. We are flawed human beings.  Some of us are tired, frail, afraid, none of us (that I know of) is totally selfless.  So we have not and will not transcend the realm of I-it relating.  The ways of the world remain a weight we carry that tempers our ideals.

–Ellen Lowery




COVENANT: The Practice of traveling together

Covenant:   Synonyms:  commitment, pact, pledge, promise

Antonyms:  disagreement, denial, refusal, misunderstanding (from Thesaurus)

Covenant is a word with special meaning at WBUUC; I did not hear it very much before joining this congregation in 2009. We did talk about covenant in the convent, where I was from 1964-70—yes, the turbulent 60’s. There, it was referred to as a commitment between God and His people.

Here in WBUUC, it seems covenant is an agreement we have with each other as a congregation of deeply spiritual, compassionate, caring, listening people who want to express our love for each other and the world. We might do this through activism for justice, through lovely congregational singing, listening to the choir and guest musicians and through participation in our Sunday services. In addition, we agree to provide service to each other and the wider community, to live in peace and to love one another. What a commitment—love one another!

How do we do that? Maybe we travel together on this “Road of Happy Destiny”—a phrase used in the book, Alcoholics Anonymous. (p. 164) Traveling, wandering, meandering through what we call “life” we meet unexpected challenges and help each other steadily grow through them. We experience unbelievable joys we share—thus doubling the blessings! Remember the “old” saying? “A sorrow shared is halved, a joy shared is doubled.”

On this blue orb
As I move and live and grow my being,
Surrounding me, if I let them,
Are fellow travelers who

Commit, from time to time,
As do I,
To come out of our shells and
Concerned with each other’s well-being
Showing compassion

We gingerly, hopefully, gradually
Open our hearts
Our hands
Our wallets
Our selves
To help one another
Seek peace
Care for the web of Existence
In our little corner of this Earth
– Diane Markel


February 2016
Sleet turning to snow stung my face
cold as my disbelieving heart
as we left my daughter’s condo
that Sunday evening

How I drove home I do not know
trying not to think of her body
lying across her bed, as if asleep
beautiful face peaceful
framed by her auburn curls

In the days that followed
I borrowed your strength,
leaned on your love.
accepted your help,
as we travel together.
–Louise Pardee



Journey Journal. Sign Press, polymer plate printed map collage on Crane’s Lettra paper, and Cave Paper covers protect pages tipped into accordion spine. Book structure selected to expand our journey.
—Cindy Gipple


Forming Circle
We came together as strangers;
Sitting in Circle.
Uncertainty took a seat and sat in silence.
Vulnerability cautiously joined the circle feeling inadequate.
Nervousness filled the space with chatter.
“Am I worthy” lowered into the chair unnoticed.
Courage spoke of in-authenticity.
Tenderness revealed heart.
Awareness hovered over like a cloud.
Lightening Struck; heart emerged.
Contribution became present.
Respect grasped both hands.
Dawn Ellison, MD