We gather this morning as best we can to restore both our sense of commitment as we face the world as it is and inspiration to act in ways large and small that will foster better days for all. We are more when we are together: wiser, resilient, and more able.
Prelude: Chaconne by J. Pachelbel, Anna Kojovic-Frodl
Chalice Lighting: words of welcome by Christine Robinson:
We gather this hour as people of faith
With joys and sorrows, gifts and needs.
We light this beacon of hope,
sign of our quest
for truth and meaning,
in celebration of the life we share together.
Come, let us worship, together.
Hymn: Blue Green Hills of Earth, OBUUC Choir
Message For All Ages:
Centering Words by Maureen Killoran
As we weather winds of change,
may we have wisdom to cherish
moments of stillness.
As we recollect times
of challenge and of pain
may we remember also
the graceful blessings of our lives.
As we look to future unknowns,
may we have the boldness
To trust that there is unimagined Good
yet to come.
Time of Stillness and Reflection
Reading: Accepting This by Mark Nepo
Yes, it is true, I confess,
I have thought great thoughts,
and sung great songs – all of it
rehearsal for the majesty
of being held.
The dream is awakened
when thinking I love you
and life begins
when saying I love you
and joy moves like blood
when embracing others with love.
My efforts now turn from trying to outrun suffering
to accepting love wherever
I can find it.
Stripped of causes and plans
and things to strive for,
I have discovered everything
I could need or ask for
is right here –
in flawed abundance.
We cannot eliminate hunger,
but we can feed each other.
We cannot eliminate loneliness,
but we can hold each other.
We cannot eliminate pain,
but we can live a life
we are small living things
awakened in the stream,
not gods who carve out rivers.
Like human fish
we are asked to experience
meaning in the life that moves
through the gill of our heart.
There is nothing to do
and nowhere to go.
we can do everything
and go anywhere.
And now, Wayne Muller’s reflection upon the poem:
Today, all the good people are exhausted.
The teachers, parents, community leaders, social workers, doctors, clergy, nurses – those who keep our dreams alive, keep is drenched in hope, faith, and courage – they are overwhelmed, exhausted, and discouraged. We are all painfully aware of how little we have to offer, given the weight and magnitude of the sorrow, injustice, or pain we are to witness and heal.
Doctors believe they have not healed enough; parents ache for not better protecting their children; community leaders cannot stand up for one more fight; nurses wish they could care more than their sixty-four hour week allows; clergy are ashamed for not healing enough fractured, lonely souls.
This is our challenge: What is enough?
After two life-threatening illnesses, I have learned to move slowly, to need and accept care, to remember the miraculous nourishment of the kind word, the hand upon hand, the simple company of two hearts breaking together. Jesus said, “Pay attention to the small things, how they grow.” The mustard seed, the leaven in the bread, the pearl of great price – these, he said, are the small, simple seeds of heaven on earth.
Now, when I speak with groups of good-hearted community leaders and healings, I ask of us only this: Remember how small things grow. We cannot heal it all. But as … Mark Nepo writes, “We can feed each other.” We can offer small, nearly invisible kindnesses, that take flight into some resplendent future, effortless, alive.
This is what we can do.
Offertory: Prelude Op 16 No 4- Scriabin, Anna Kojovic-Frodl
Benediction: words by Dan O’Neal
There is so much to know, so much to love, so much to share.
Let us go forth this day and minister.
There are forsaken elements in each of us,
Abandoned dreams, neglected fears, breast closet skeletons,
Tremendous possibilities as yet untapped.
Let us minister to ourselves.
There are broken relationships among the people,
Friends we need to touch,
Partners we need to love,
Enemies we need to forgive,
Let us minister to each other.
There is sorrow in the land.
War. Pollution. Injustice.
A tragic squandering of immense wealth.
Let us minister to our world.
And there is a forgotten cry within us all,
A deafening Silence,
Largely unheeded but ever beckoning,
Home, home, home it calls,
An explosion of joy waiting to be born.
Let us minister to our source.
Postlude: Lift Up The Gates by Jason Shelton, Doug Clum