Welcome: Good morning everyone. Welcome to the Olympia Brown Unitarian Universalist Church in Racine, WI.
We gather together this morning so that our courage may be renewed, our convictions restored and deepened. We are more when we are together: stronger, wiser, more resilient and more able.
As we gather this morning during the High Holy Days of the Jewish year, much of our music will honor that faith tradition.
Prelude: Traditional song sung during Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippor
(Return us, O Lord, to you, and we will turn. Renew our days as before.) At the end of the song, Return Again, by Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach is mixed in with the words of Hashiveinu (Return again, return to the land of your soul. Return to who you are, return to what you are, return to where you are born and reborn again.)
We light our chalice this morning to these words by Jess Reynolds:
Light the candle.
Cup your hands around the flame and listen as it whispers.
What does it say to your warm and weathered palms? How closely can you listen without flinching? How quietly can you wait for the questions? Light the candle. Breathe against the flame and watch it ripple. Breathe your fears into it and let them burn into trails of empty grey. Let your air embrace the flame, and do not snuff it out. Light the candle. Feel your bones melt like wax, all your hardest parts softening to the touch, all your sharp edges smoothing over. Sink into your stance, your seat, the earth. Let your body be held in the quiet. Light the candle. Fix your eyes on the center of the flame, the center of being. Look into the darkness at the heart of the light. Reach for the contemplative dark in your own heart, for the place where stillness sits, and do not shy away. Light the candle. Settle into the knowledge that this light is the same as all other lights burning in all other candles. Look through the flame into the places you have known and the places you have yet to see. Light the candle. Bring into being the flame that bore us all.
Our Chalice is lit.
Message For All Ages: What if Nobody Forgave by Barbara Marshman
Centering Words: from Teresa Soto
Bring your broken hallelujah here. Bring the large one that is beyond repair. Bring the small one that’s too soft to share. Bring your broken hallelujah here. I know that people have told you that before you can give You have to get yourself together. They overstated the value of perfection by a lot. Or they forgot. You are the gift. We all bring some broken things, songs and dreams, and long lost hopes. But here, together, we reach within. As a community we begin again. And from the pieces we will build something new. There is work that only you can do. We wait for you. Bring your broken hallelujah here
Time of Stillness and Reflection :
Hymn: We Begin Again in Love #1037
Offertory Song: Traditional Jewish Prayer, May the gift of peace be upon us and all the world.
Benediction: by Sean Parker Dennison
TODAY has been a day, like all days, it seems, in which I let people down and did not love as fully as I always hope. And today I have been sad because always there are the unexpected and unpredictable consequences of what I do and do not know. And yet the taste of this perfectly ripe pear on my tongue reminds me of heaven and of gifts beyond measure: like sweetness and sunset and again, tomorrow.
This morning’s chalice is extinguished, but our connections and faith remain.