6/20/21 Flower Communion and Father’s Day by Rev. Eric Meter


First of all, this is Father’s Day. Congratulations to all the fabulous, well-meaning Dads with us today! This morning we’re also celebrating the Unitarian Flower Ceremony. If you don’t know what that is, it will be explained shortly.

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.




Chalice Lighting   words by Galway Kinnell

The bud
stands for all things,
even for those things that don’t flower,
for everything flowers, from within,
of self-blessing;
though sometimes it is necessary
to reteach a thing its loveliness.



Hymn #347    Gather the Spirit


Gesture of Friendship


Blessing for All Ages


The Flower Ceremony

The Flower Ceremony, those of you who have been around for a while will remember, began nearly 100 years ago, in 1923 to be precise, when the Rev. Norbert Chapek, who served the Unitarian Church in Prague, wanted ritual that would celebrate faith and vitality for the congregation that had had enough of traditional religious rites that left them cold and dispirited. This telling of the Flower Ceremony origin story is adapted from Janeen K. Grohsmeyer.

As the church was just about to go on its regular summer break (remember this was 1923, well before air conditioning) Rev Chapek asked the members of the congregation to come the following Sunday with a flower, budding branch, or even a twig with them to church.

As you might imagine, folks a little confused by this unprecedented request.

They asked, “What kind? What color? What size?”

“You choose,” Rev. Chapek replied. “Each of you bring what you like.”

And so, on the next Sunday, which was the first day of summer, the people came with flowers of all different colors and sizes and kinds. There were yellow daisies and red roses. There were white lilies and blue asters, dark-eyed pansies and light green leaves. Pink and purple, orange and gold – there were all those colors and more. Flowers filled several vases up at the front of the church.

Capek put it this way, “These flowers are like ourselves. Different colors and different shapes, and different sizes, each needing different kinds of care – but each beautiful, each important and special, in its own way.”

When he was done speaking, the people talked a little bit among themselves, and then they each chose a different flower from the vases before they went home, looking to see if they could figure out who chose who’s flower. And that was all – and it was beautiful, plain and simple as the day.

One last point about Norbert Chapek’s Flower Ceremony: sometimes, these days, we call it the Flower Communion. Chapek wouldn’t have gone for that.

During his time there, the Unitarian Church of Prague was made up of disaffected former Catholics. To call his ritual a communion would have been a slap in the face to them.

Today the distinction may matter less to us. But it made a world of difference then. Today, we’re celebrating the Flower Ceremony, as simple as that.

While we can’t gather together safely just yet, we’ve asked you to do two things prior to this morning: First to send in photos of flowers from your garden or anywhere there are flowers you specially enjoy. Second, to bring a flower to a vase at the church. Even if we can’t gather together yet, we can still make our church more colorful than ever.

Also, this is Father’s Day. Happy Father’s Day to all the dads with us today!

Now, we normally think of flowers having more to do with women and mothers than fathers. Cultures can be funny that way. But I have a sneaking suspicion that men and dad’s may like flowers as much as other human beings.

Having said that, while my own father loved flowers in the yard, it was my mother who planted them. I think what he loved most was the redbud tree in the front yard outside the kitchen window. When it blossomed, he would just stare at it. Redbuds, dogwoods, he loved budding trees like nothing else in the world.

Yet sometimes I felt he had more patience with that redbud than he did for me. Such is the way of fathers and their children, I guess.

Fathers and Father’s Day can be difficult for many of us. And all relationships between parents and children can be complex, no matter how good they may be.

My own father died when he was 60 and I was 27. During the years before his cancer diagnosis, I had a chip the size of Montana on my shoulder where he was concerned.

Later on, I grew mature enough to thank my mother for all the love and support she gave me as I grew up. While I gave my dad all the love I could before he died, I don’t know if I ever said Thank you to him for all he gave me, even the necessary life lessons that were painful at the time. I’m grateful for them now.

this isn’t finished, yet
but I’ll wrap it up, leading into



Time for All Ages  Father & Flowers video


A Blessing for the Day    Norbert Chapek’s prayer of Consecration of the Flowers

Infinite Spirit of Life, we ask thy blessing on these thy messengers
of fellowship and love.

May they remind us, amid diversities of knowledge and of gifts,
to be one in desire and affection and devotion to thy holy will.

May they also remind us of the value of comradeship,
of doing and sharing alike.

May we cherish friendship as one of thy most precious gifts.

May we not let awareness of another’s talents discourage us,
or sully our relationship, but may we realize that whatever we can do,
great or small, the efforts of all of us are needed
to do thy work in this world.




Offertory Music



Benediction words by Galway Kinnell
that each “bud
stands for all things,
even for those things that don’t flower,
for everything flowers, from within,
of self-blessing;
though sometimes it is necessary
to reteach a thing its loveliness.”


And from Martha Graham,

There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it.