Welcome: “We are glad you are here” (Amanda Shuber, adapted.)
If you carry the weight of a weary world on your shoulders, or if you are passing your days with a song in your heart and a skip in your step;
We are glad you are here.
If you have failed once or a thousand times;
We are glad you are here.
If you sing like angels, or mumble behind the hymnal;
We are glad you are here.
This community is what it is because of your presence. So welcome; welcome into this space of love, support, justice, compassion, fellowship and worship.
Prelude: Olympia Brown UU Church Choir
Call to Worship: Annie Foerster
Come we now out of the darkness of our unknowing
and the dusk of our dreaming;
Come we now from far places.
Come we now into the twilight of our awakening
and the reflection of our gathering.
Come we now all together.
We bring, unilluminated, our dark caves of doubting;
We seek, unbedazzled, the clear light of understanding.
May the sparks of our joining kindle our resolve,
brighten our spirits, reflect our love,
and unshadow our days.
Come we now; enter the dawning.
Come let us worship together.
Chalice Lighting: This is the International Council of Unitarian Universalists Global Chalice Lighting for the Month of July. Every month the ICUU puts out a chalice lighting in multiple languages so that we can all kindle our chalice with shared words. The words for this lighting are are by the Rev. Harrison Kingsley, minister of the Chennai Unitarian Christian Church, India.
Almighty and all-loving Father, thou God of the human heart, renew in us the life that the care or trouble or sorrow of the world has caused to fade and go out. Give us the spiritual vision by which we may behold the beauty of divine things. And give us the strength of purpose that will enable us to realise our dreams. Amen.
Hymn Hymn #188 sung by the Oakland Chancel Choir. Words adapted from Rumi; melody by Lynn Ungar.
Peace Be With You, and with all living things
Message for All Ages: “The Boy and The Ocean” – Max Lucado
We are blessed
We are blessed by being
We are blessed by being here
We are blessed by being here together
Reading: “Hide and Seek With God” by Mary Ann Moore
Once upon a time God said, “I’m bored because I don’t have anything to do. I want to play with my friends.” And because God is God, as soon as the words were spoken, God’s friends were there. When God saw them all gathered, God said, “I’ve been bored because I haven’t had anything to do. Let’s play something.”
“Good idea,” said God’s friends. “What shall we play?”
God thought for a minute and then said, “I know, let’s play hide-and-seek!”
The friends all said, “Yay!” They knew that hide-and-seek with God was always exciting and different because God was the one who hid and God always thought of wonderful places to hide.
God’s friends closed their eyes tight and counted to ten. When they opened their eyes, God wasn’t there anymore. So they all went off to look for God.
One friend decided to look close on the earth and soon came to a meadow. As he was searching, he stopped to admire the tender new sprouts of green grass pushing their way up toward the sun. As he bent over to look more closely at the tender green, he realized there was something special and amazing and wonderful about it. So he jumped up and ran back to home base, calling out, “I found God! God is green and growing. I found God in the grass!”
Another one of God’s friends decided to look for God in the night. She watched the sun go down, and heard the work-a-day noises stop, and saw the lights in the houses go out. As it got darker and the peaceful night wrapped itself around her, she listened very hard, and then she realized there was something special and amazing and wonderful about it. And when it was so still that she could see and hear nothing at all, she suddenly jumped up and ran to home base, calling out, “I found God! God is dark and peaceful. I found God in the night!”
A third friend looked on the earth and felt the mystery of the grass growing toward the sun. He stayed and watched the night come on, and he felt the mystery of the darkness and the stars. He thought to himself, “These mysteries are special and amazing and wonderful.” But when he finally came back to home base, he said, “I found wonderful mysteries but I’m not sure if I want to call them God.”
A fourth friend decided to look for God where people were. He joined a group of people going home from work and went with them into the store where they bought food. He went with them back out on the street as they started for their homes. He was with them when someone came up and said, “Please, I’m very hungry. Could you share a little food with me?” The people readily agreed and as he watched them share, he realized there was something special and amazing and wonderful about those people. He turned around and ran to home base, calling out, “I found God! God is love and sharing. I found God in people who care for others!”
Finally, two more of God’s friends, a boy and a girl, decided to look for God together. After a time, they came to a house and decided to look for God in the house. In the house they saw a room, and they looked for God in the room. In the room they saw a mirror, and they looked for God in the mirror. As they looked into the mirror, they realized there was something special and amazing and wonderful being reflected in it. They turned around and ran to home base, calling out, “We found God! We found God in us!”
At this God appeared again and said, “I had so much fun! Weren’t those good hiding places? Some of you found me, others weren’t sure, and others are still looking. That’s OK because the most important thing is just to play the game. Let’s do it again! I’m sure I can think of some other good hiding places.” And they all called out, “Olly, olly, oxen free, free, free!” And the game started all over again.
Reflection: Nick Demske
Hymn: #318 “We Would Be One” by the ULFUU Chancel Choir
Chalice Extinguishing” – Rev. Darcy Roake and Rev. Dr. Tony Larsen
There is too much hardship in this world to not find joy,
There is too much injustice in this world to not right the balance,
There is too much pain in this world to not heal,
Each of us ministers to a weary world.
Let us go forth now and do that which calls us to make this world
more loving, more compassionate and more filled with the grace of divine presence,
We extinguish this Chalice flame, but the fire, the light, and the love goes on in you. This service has ended, your service begins again. Peace, and unrest.
Postlude: Olympia Brown UU Church Choir