5/24/20 Unitiarian Universalism on the Threshold by Omega Burckhardt

Welcome to this online worship service. We may be apart and distant, yet we are home to each other as we gather.

Prelude: Hymn #1051 “We Are”
For each child that’s born, a morning star rises and sings to the universe who we are.
For who we are.
We are our grandmothers’ prayers and we are our grandfathers’ dreamings,
we are the breath of our ancestors, we are the spirit of God.
We are mothers of courage and fathers of time, we are daughters of dust and the sons of great visions,
we’re sisters of mercy and brothers of love, we are lovers of life and builders of nations,
we’re seekers of truth and keepers of faith, we are makers of peace and the wisdom of ages.


Call to Worship
Gather, my siblings in Unitarian Universalism. We are on the threshold. We look back at where we have been. We look forward, the way clouded. We hold steady in the interim, hands spread wide on the doorframe that encircles us.

These words are based on the poem by Anne Hillman:

We look with uncertainty
beyond the old choices for
clear-cut answers
to a softer, more permeable aliveness
which is every moment
at the brink of death;
for something new is being born in us
if we but let it.
We stand at a new doorway,
awaiting that which comes…


Chalice Lighting

We light this chalice this morning,
daring to be human creatures,
vulnerable to the beauty of existence.
Learning to love.


Love be with you and all living things


Gesture of Friendship:


Message for All Ages: The Feather by Margaret Wild

“At first it plummets, then it straightens. Wobbles. Dips. Soars.” What examples have you seen in your life that follow that pattern? Have you ever tried to make a paper airplane fly really far? Did it dive down first and then gain speed and height?


Children’s Blessing
We are…
We are blessed…
We are blessed by being…
We are blessed by being here…
We are blessed by being here together.


A friend of mine from my doctoral days at the University of Kansas recently shared a poignant tribute to a friend of hers who had passed. While I never had the pleasure of meeting Reverend Joyce Hardy, the impact she had on my friend’s life shines through these words. Our theme this month, thresholds, beckons us to consider our past and our future, even while we hold very still in a moment of purposeful and deliberate contemplation. My friend’s words:
“When I was 8 years old at Camp Mitchell, Joyce Hardy shared a homily around a bonfire while we were eating s’mores. She told us that a long time ago she had been attacked, and afterward, she was very afraid, so she always kept her front porch light on because it made her feel safer. Late one night, someone was knocking on her front door and crying. She peeked through the peephole of her front door and saw a woman on her front porch who was hurt because she had also been attacked. She brought the woman in, called the police, and accompanied her to the ER. After spending several hours with the woman, she asked her why, of all the homes on the street, she had come to her door. The woman said, “because you had your porch light on.” Joyce had kept her front porch light on because she was afraid, but this light had also been a signal to others that her home was a safe place to come for help.
Joyce, who became my lifelong friend and mentor and was a deacon in the Episcopal Church, died today. Because of Joyce, my front porch light is always on, and its warm, welcoming glow is a reassuring sacrament to me. The world lost a special light today, but Joyce’s grounded gifts of goodness, grace, and courage to confront social injustice will stay with all of us who were lucky enough to have been touched by her.
Keep your light on!”


Music for Meditation Butterfly by F. Bernard


Reflections by Omega Burkhardt


Prayer Benediction “Pray” by Theresa Novak
Pray with me now,
If you will.
I think
We need
To pray.
Pray with me now.
Not out to some great intervener,
A handsome stranger
Coming to the rescue.
You don’t have to barter your soul,
Your mind, your free and restless spirit.
Pray with me now.
We need to pray loudly sometimes,
Giving voice in word or gesture
To the urgent fires within our hearts.
Screaming out, “why this?”
“How long?”
Screaming out for help, for courage.
Outrage rumbles through our veins
And the pulse of our prayer is ragged.
Pray with me now,
If you will,
I think
We need
To pray.
We need to pray softly sometimes,
Our silent bodies held still,
A quiet hope rising to the wind,
Blowing about the world in wonder.
Pray with me now.
Pray silently or out loud.
Our very prayers are an answer,
The pulse of life, of hope,
In our oh so human hearts.
May our prayers be heard.


Extinguishing the Flaming Chalice
We extinguish the flames of this chalice, knowing we are on the threshold of great change. May we all hold steady in this moment of pause, this moment of surrender to the changes that swirl around us. May we listen to our past, to our hearts, and our visions for the future that we may grow with abundance, steadfast in our love and commitment to one another.


Closing Hymn “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwo`ole