Throughout the month of April we are exploring the theme of liberation. Is there a difference between liberation and freedom? Is liberation individual or collective? What does liberation mean as we navigate this pandemic? We will explore ways that we can live into liberation through working with our emotions, engaging in spiritual practice, caring for one another and the earth, and advocating for justice. Theme-based ministry connects worship, religious education and small group experiences so that we are having a shared conversation across the generations. Come, join us to deepen our faith together.

Reflections on Liberation:

“No one who has ever touched liberation could possibly want anything other than liberation for everyone.”
–Rev. Angel Kyodo Williams

“I am learning that getting well in community is liberation. We are interdependent. When one of us attains freedom it elicits/rekindles that longing in each of us.”
Adrienne Maree Brown

“Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart, we still cling to anything—anger, anxiety, or possessions—we cannot be free.”
–Thich Nhat Hanh


The practice of accepting that we are already enough
The process of realizing that the freedom of others and our own is one and the same

Spiritual Practice:

Remind Yourself You Did It Before… and Can Do it Again!
What about being your own inspiration?  Sure others motivate us. All the time. They give us the courage and imagination to make changes in our lives that set us free.

But what about our own courageous choices? What about those times in our lives when we surprised ourselves with what we could do? What about those moments when we stuck with it and altered our lives for the better? Remembering how we set ourselves free in the past is the best way to escape what is imprisoning us today!
So this month, make time to review your life for those many moments when you made a change that markedly improved your life. Literally make a list! Keep it handy for at least a few days so you can add to it as new memories come to mind.

After your list feels hefty enough, move on to the next step of figuring out what new change is calling to you. What can you do right now to feel more free? What’s a change you can make to improve your life?”
To help, here’s a list of what a number of anonymous church folk said when they were asked about what “liberating change” they made in their life:

  • I no longer feel guilty about saying “No, I’d prefer not to.
  • I spend at least 10 minutes of sitting in silence everyday by myself
  • I’m finally going to therapy and sticking with it.
  • I stopped believing I was unhealthy because I was fat.
  • I called myself “an artist” rather than telling people “I do art sometimes.”
  • I meditate every single day.
  • I removed toxic people from my life.
  • I take all of my vacation time every year after many years letting it lapse.
  • I hired someone to clean my house, even though my parents-in-law were appalled that I did it.
  • I let myself go gray grey.
  • I’ve stopped saying “yes” when i want to say “no”
  • I no longer allow men to interrupt me.
  • I buy the expensive beer.
  • I read my poems out loud to people who ask.
  • I started telling myself “You know what you are talking about.”
  • I started praying

Taking It Home:  Ideas for All Ages

Liberated from Convention: Breakfast for Dinner
Breakfast-for-Dinner is a concept that both liberates us from getting stuck in what the evening meal is “supposed” to be and frees up a bit more time around the table since breakfast usually entails simple foods prepared quickly.

Eggs or egg replacement and toast with a side of fresh fruit or veg is a quick and easy option. Bagel sliders with your favorite fillings and breakfast burritos both come together quickly, too. What favorite early meal would your family be excited to prepare and eat together at an unexpected time of day?

Use this mealtime toss-up to offer some new suggestions about how household tasks and chores might be shared differently among the family. Who usually pairs the socks out of the clean laundry? Who refills the toilet paper in the bathroom? Who gets the mail? We all get used to things just “getting done,” but the person doing them might appreciate not being tied down, and other folks might like the chance to learn how to do new things.

Stuck in the Mud! Dice Game
Mostly we’ve been exploring ways to get UNstuck in our thinking about liberation, but in this game, getting stuck is part of the fun!
This is a quick-to-learn game that can be played by all the family members, youngest to oldest.

You need five dice, paper, and something to write with. The point of the game is to add up the dice to get a high score, but the trick is, 2s and 5s make the roll invalid.

Here’s how it goes:

  • Player 1 rolls. If player 1 gets no 2s or 5s in their roll, they add up all the up-facing numbers on the dice, and that’s their score. Play proceeds to the left.
  • If player 1 does roll a 2 or a 5, those dice have to be set aside (in the mud), and the remaining dice are rolled again. On that second role, if any 2s or 5s are rolled, those dice, too, must be set aside, and the remaining dice rerolled in an attempt to get a score of 1s, 3s, 4s, or 6s that might be added up as a valid score.
  • Some turns are over in a flash, and some seem to go on and on. This is a game of pure chance, so all players are on equal footing.

Stories Used In Worship and Classes This Month

Now One Foot, Now the Other by Tomie dePaola

Musical Connection

STJ #1035 Freedom is Coming
Video: (2nd verse includes Jesus is coming)

“Because the context is rich – there is much we can learn about the United States past and present from examining South African apartheid, from the creep of discriminatory legislation to the ways in which resistance to those laws bend the moral arc of the universe toward justice.

And as we see over and over again, music makes a difference. We have talked about it here a lot – the enslaved Africans in America, the civil rights movement, Estonia’s singing revolution, and more. Music spreads, music informs, music reaches deep in and grabs hold of our spirits, music shifts our energy and can change our minds.” from Notes from the Far Fringe

Theme Connection: “Freedom is coming.”

Soul Matters Spotify Music Playlists:
Discover musical inspiration on each of our themes through monthly playlists:

Join us to deepen our faith together:

  • Explore resources related to the monthly theme (links above)
  • Attend Sunday worship
  • Sign up for small group ministry (Soul Matters Sharing Circles and Chalice Circles)
  • Request a copy of Soulful Home (thematic resources for families)
  • Join our Parent Group (to discuss the themes in relation to parenting)

Resources on this page adapted from Soul Matters April 2020.