We gather together this morning as best we can to restore both our sense of commitment and courage as we face the world as it is.
We are more when we are together, wiser, more resilient and more able. Finding wisdom in the presence of strangers and loved one alike
and the slower pace of these late-autumn days.
Prelude December Waltz, M. Bober – Anna Kojovic-Frodl
In times of darkness, we stumble toward the tiny flame.
In times of cold, we seek the warming fire.
In times of repression, we reach for the lamp of truth.
In times of loss, we pray for the comforting light.
In times of joy, we light a candle of celebration.
Spirit of life, as we kindle this [ flame ], help us find what we need this day.
Our chalice is lit.
Hymn Morning Has Come OBUUC Choir
Time for All Ages Christmas Farm by Mary Lyn Ray
Centering Words Winter Sequence by Mark Belletini
Grey skies over my head,
throw yourselves like quilts over my busy life
and remind me to sit down and rest.
Stars of winter,
Orion’s sash sparkling
across the heavens, remind me by your distance
that, compared to the infinity of the universe,
every single thing I struggle with on earth
is small, parochial and hardly universal in scope.
Great music of the season,
glowing with angel-songs and filigreed with great mysteries,
remind me that my own birth,
like the births of all people…,
was no less mysterious
than that ancient and celebrated birth,
no less brimming with wonder,
for all children that come into the world
have lives as precious to them
as Jesus’ life was to him.
So now come, Love greater than my longing,
silence greater than fatigue of tongues,
and haul my heart away from the undue frenzy of
the season, and bestow it to rest, proportion and
the haunting dark beauty of winter’s long nights.
set up time of stillness and reflection
Time of Stillness and Reflection
Reading from Barbara Davenport’s essay Gardening
in Everyday Spiritual Practice: Simple Pathways for Enriching Your Life
The most ancient religious rituals arise from the agricultural seasons: spring’s promise of new life and growth, summer’s sunny abundance, autumn’s gathering in, and winter’s deep and dark waiting. By participating in the direct preparation of our own food in collaboration with nature, we understand our true link to the land upon which our survival depends.
In gardening, as in all life, shortcuts and impatience do not work.
As a college student, I crammed for my English literature exams. As a result, all I remember about War and Peace is that it is about Russia. In gardening, you cannot cram. You cannot wait until the last minute to plant and expect a harvest the next day. Shortcuts do not work in a natural world, just as they do not work in our spiritual world. You cannot cram and suddenly become a person of integrity, courage or compassion. In relationships, caring, sharing, tenderness and consideration can never grow and flourish when too little time is spent nurturing the seeds of shared vision, trust and compassion. There are no shortcuts and now way to fake the harvest. One quick application of instant Miracle-Gro for the soul will not do. The law of the garden works as inexorably in everyday life as in nature – what we sow, we must inevitably reap.
The god of the garden blesses the patient sower and reaper.
Invitation to Thought Thinking About Waiting
Waiting – biding one’s time.
Being put on hold while on a phone call, or ‘on stand-by’ for a delayed plane
“I’m waiting to hear from you,” like the job applicant or the person waiting for test results from the doctor.
A young child waiting “forever” for their birthday at the end of the month.
Waiting for the pie to be done baking as your stomach rumbles from the delicious smell.
But Advent is more than just waiting … it is waiting and preparing – with a hopeful expectation of something coming.
We at OBUUC are in the process of calling a settled minster… we have been waiting for some time… and we are looking forward with expectations and hope,
BUT, we are also preparing for it.
We are actively engaged in a process of self-examination
Our time with our interim ministers was and still is preparation.
We are not just “waiting.”
Our Appreciative Inquiry was preparation.
We were not “standing by.”
Building the Covenant of Right Relationships was preparation;
We were not “on hold.”
The Workshop on Understanding Your Congregation as a System was preparation.
We were not “biding our time.”
And especially our discussions on how to move forward into search were not “waiting.”
We were – and are – moving forward, with hopeful expectations.
We have been in preparation all fall.
Maybe you completed the Survey with careful consideration.
Maybe you shared hopes and dreams in one of the Conversations.
Maybe you came away from the Beyond Categorial Thinking workshop with a new perspective.
These were all important steps in preparing OBUUC to invite a new settled minister, and they were critical input to the Search committee as we prepared the information to send to the UUA Transition Office.
We are pleased to tell you that information was sent to the UUA this week,
and now we are truly waiting…
…biding our time…
…with expectations and hope…
waiting to hear –
which ministers in search are interested in us.
This is truly a season of Advent for OBUUC.
Music for the Day People, Look East – OBUUC Choir
Reflection Advent and Other Times of Preparation by Rev. Eric Meter
Hymn Spirit of Life – OBUUC Choir
The Olympia Brown Unitarian Universalist Church is a community of generosity and abundance. Especially now, in this challenging time, your generosity is what keeps this community as vital as it is, a beacon of respectful engagement and faith in the power of love.
Each month we share the generosity of our collection with a local partner. Our outreach partner for November is the Health Care Network of Racine County:
The Health Care Network was founded in 1987 after a county-wide task force began studying the unmet health care needs of people not eligible for public aid programs in Racine County. Since its founding, HCN has provided free or low-cost medical, dental, and social services appointments to thousands of unique, uninsured patients. The support and generosity of the Racine community allows Health Care Network to continue to making sure everyone in our community has access to high quality, efficient and effective healthcare. For more information on how to donate to OBUUC and the Health Care Network, please visit our church website.
Offertory O Come, O Come, Emmanuel – Anna Kojovic-Frodl, organ
Benediction words adapted from those by Kathleen McTigue
May the light around us guide our footsteps,
and hold us fast to the best and most righteous that we seek.
May the darkness around us nurture our dreams,
and give us rest so that we may give ourselves to the work of our world.
Let us seek to remember the wholeness of our lives,
the weaving of light and shadow in this great and
astonishing dance in which we move.
extinguish the chalice flame
This morning’s chalice is extinguished, but our connections and faith remain.
After our postlude, our time together will continue with brief announcements, joys and sorrows. We’ll also go into breakout groups during our coffee hour conversation for a few minutes before we join back together.
But first, to close out this worship service, our postlude is Believe, from The Polar Express….
Postlude Believe from The Polar Express, arr. by Dan Coats – Anna Kojovic-Frodl, piano