Sunday 30 Oct 2011

Halloween – All Souls – Dia de Los Muertes

Chalice Lighting

We light this candle as a symbol of our faith.
By its light may our vision be illumined;
By its warmth may our fellowship be encouraged;
And by its flame may our yearnings for peace, justice and the life of the spirit be enkindled.

UU Principles

Joys, Concerns, Sharing

Readings

We were never meant to survive

For those of us who live at the shoreline standing upon the constant edges of decision crucial and alone
For those of us who cannot indulge the passing dreams of choice
For those of us who were imprinted with fear like a faint line in the center of our foreheads learning to be afraid with our mother’s milk
For by this weapon, this illusion of some safety to be found –the heavy-footed hoped to silence us
For all of us this instant and this triumph–we were never meant to survive

And when the sun rises we are afraid it might not remain
When the sun sets we are afraid it might not rise in the morning
And when we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed
But when we are silent we are still afraid
So it is better to speak remembering–we were never meant to survive

Audre Lord; Singing the Living Tradition #587

Prayers for the Dead

Men are not isolated units in the life of grace, any more than in domestic and civil life. As children in Christ’s Kingdom they are as one family under the loving Fatherhood of God; as members of Christ’s mystical body they are incorporated not only with Him, their common Head, but with one another, and this not merely by visible social bonds and external co-operation, but by the invisible bonds of mutual love and sympathy, and by effective co-operation in the inner life of grace. Each is in some degree the beneficiary of the spiritual activities of the others, of their prayers and good works, their merits and satisfactions; nor is this degree to be wholly measured by those indirect ways in which the law of solidarity works out in other cases, nor by the conscious and explicit altruistic intentions of individual agents. It is wider than this, and extends to the bounds of the mysterious. Now, as between the living, no Christian can deny the reality of this far-reaching spiritual communion; and since death, for those who die in faith and grace, does not sever the bonds of this communion, why should it interrupt its efficacy in the case of the dead, and shut them out from benefits of which they are capable and may be in need? Of very few can it be hoped that they have attained perfect holiness at death; and none but the perfectly holy are admitted to the vision of God. Of few, on the other hand, will they at least who love them admit the despairing thought that they are beyond the pale of grace and mercy, and condemned to eternal separation from God and from all who hope to be with God. On this ground alone it has been truly said that purgatory is a postulate of the Christian reason; and, granting the existence of the purgatorial state, it is equally a postulate of the Christian reason in the communion of saints, or, in other words, be helped by the prayers of their brethren on earth and in heaven. Christ is King in purgatory as well as in heaven and on earth, and He cannot be deaf to our prayers for our loved ones in that part of His Kingdom, whom he also loves while He chastises them. For our own consolation as well as for theirs we want to believe in this living intercourse of charity with our dead. We would believe it without explicit warrant of Revelation, on the strength of what is otherwise revealed and in obedience to the promptings of reason and natural affection. Indeed, it is largely for this reason that Protestants in growing numbers are giving up today the joy-killing doctrine of the Reformers, and reviving Catholic teaching and practice. As we shall presently see, there is no clear and explicit warrant for prayers for the dead in the Scriptures recognized by Protestants as canonical, while they do not admit the Divine authority of extra-Scriptural traditions. Catholics are in a better position.

Catholic Encyclopedia

Childhood Is the Kingdom Where Nobody Dies

Childhood is not from birth to a certain age and at a certain age
The child is grown, and puts away childish things.
Childhood is the kingdom where nobody dies.

Nobody that matters, that is. Distant relatives of course
Die, whom one never has seen or has seen for an hour,
And they gave one candy in a pink-and-green stripèd bag, or a jack-knife,
And went away, and cannot really be said to have lived at all.

And cats die. They lie on the floor and lash their tails,
And their reticent fur is suddenly all in motion
With fleas that one never knew were there,
Polished and brown, knowing all there is to know,
Trekking off into the living world.
You fetch a shoe-box, but it’s much too small, because she won’t curl up now:
So you find a bigger box, and bury her in the yard, and weep.
But you do not wake up a month from then, two months,
A year from then, two years, in the middle of the night
And weep, with your knuckles in your mouth, and say Oh, God! Oh, God!

Childhood is the kingdom where nobody dies that matters, – mothers and fathers don’t die.
And if you have said, “For heaven’s sake, must you always be kissing a person?”
Or, “I do wish to gracious you’d stop tapping on the window with your thimble!”
Tomorrow, or even the day after tomorrow if you’re busy having_fun,
Is plenty of time to say, “I’m sorry, mother.”

To be grown up is to sit at the table with people who have died, who neither listen nor speak;
Who do not drink their tea, though they always said
Tea was such a comfort.

Run down into the cellar and bring up the last jar of raspberries; they are not tempted.
Flatter them, ask them what was it they said exactly
That time, to the bishop, or to the overseer, or to Mrs. Mason;
They are not taken in.
Shout at them, get red in the face, rise,
Drag them up out of their chairs by their stiff shoulders and shake them and yell at them;
They are not startled, they are not even embarrassed; they slide back into their chairs.

Your tea is cold now.
You drink it standing up,
And leave the house.

by Edna St. Vincent Millay

(A wonderful recitation by Tyne Daly is at
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5870667513587531096)

Sharing

Closing read by Kathy Sprowls
My Creed

To live as gently as I can;
To be, no matter where, a man;
To take what comes of good or ill
And cling to faith and honor still;
To do my best, and let that stand
The record of my brain and hand;
And then, should failure come to me,
Still work and hope for victory.

To have no secret place wherein
I stoop unseen to shame or sin;
To be the same when I’m alone
As when my every deed is known;
To live undaunted, unafraid
Of any step that I have made;
To be without pretense or sham
Exactly what men think I am.

To leave some simple mark behind
To keep my having lived in mind;
If enmity to aught I show,
To be an honest, generous foe,
To play my little part, nor whine
That greater honors are not mine.
This, I believe, is all I need
For my philosophy and creed.

by Edgar Guest

Service leader
Lisa deGruyter