Welcome:To learn more about being human – Erika A. Hewitt
Welcome to this morning, this day, and this opportunity to be together in community — which is a time of joy, comfort, and sometimes challenges. This Unitarian Universalist congregation is a place where we come to learn more about being human. We’re not here because we’ve figured out life’s questions, or because we think we’ve got it right, or even because we think we know what the questions are.
We come here to learn more about being in relationship together: how to listen, how to forgive, how to be vulnerable, and how to create trust and compassion in one another.
Let us move into worship, willing to be authentic with each other, honest within ourselves, and open to connection in all its forms.
Come, let us worship together.
Chalice lighting:Blessed is the fire that burns deep in the soul – Eric A Heller-Wagner
Blessed is the fire that burns deep in the soul. It is the flame of the human spirit touched into being by the mystery of life. It is the fire of reason; the fire of compassion; the fire of community; the fire of justice; the fire of faith. It is the fire of love burning deep in the human heart; the divine glow in every life.
Over centuries, people have developed many practices intended to help them develop and maintain connections to the spiritual, to God or the gods, however that might be defined. Most of these practices imply a certain regularity, a discipline, maybe training. Some of these practices are, perhaps, too easy; many other practices are difficult. And some practices might seem unnecessarily extreme. This Sunday we’ll talk about some of these. Robert Helfer will lead the service.
Our services are Sundays at 11 a.m. at the Progressive Women’s Association Uptown Event Center, 305 Washington Ave. in downtown Clarksburg, behind the Courthouse. There are classes for children and adults 10 to 10:45 am, and a coffee gathering before the service. More about us.
We would love to have you come worship with us.
Children are welcome. There is childcare and an activity for young children during the service.
The building is wheelchair accessible, with an accessible restroom. You may park on the south side of the building, which is marked reserved for the PWA.
There are many isms we are fighting on the way to equality for all people. Whether is be racism, sexism, ageism, heterosexism, ableism, classism, or any other system of oppression, if we are not from the marginalized group, we are not going to have all the answers or do everything right. As Unitarian Universalists we want to “answer the call of love” and help change the world, but sometimes we have to start with ourselves. This article by Sam Dylan Finch has better ways to deal with being called out by marginalized people, because being defensive does not get us anywhere.
I invite you now into a time of gratitude, reflection, renewal and hope.
What an unearned blessing to delight in the calming peace of this space;
to hear the robin’s song again at daybreak;
to feel the warmth in this room,
and to enjoy the promise of summer almost upon us.
Each moment of wakefulness has so many gifts that offer energy and delight.
Yet, too often they seem unavailable
as the weight of our troubles press down on us.
The threats to our well being, real or exaggerated,
feel like mosquitoes in the night looking for a place to land.
Minds become captive to rising flood waters: forceful, murky, threatening and ominous.
Even in moments of great danger, the direction of attention is a choice.
Fear can dominate the mind, binding it like a straitjacket.
Or love can unbind it and open it to resource and opportunity.
The soil of the mind can be watered with kindness.
The thorns can be removed one by one to appreciate the buds ready to flower.
Great possibilities await us even if all we can see is the cliff before us.
The grandeur of life, of which we are a part,
scatters rainbows in every direction, even as the deluge approaches.
Holding reality and possibility together is the holy, hope-filled work of humanity
In his avant-garde theatrical “The Last Supper At Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” New York choreographer/dancer Bill T. Jones includes a backwards broadcast of Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech: Last At Free Are We. Almighty God Thank! The jumbled juxtaposition of the great orator’s words is jarring, but as a black, gay artist, Jones means no disrespect. The entire work is intended to take the audience out of their normal comfort zone, to help them confront the realities of racism and homophobia that still haunt our land 60 years after Dr. King’s famous speech.
I had an unusual chance to appear on stage with Jones back in 1991, when the show first debuted. In each city where “The Last Supper” performed, a local minister was invited to be part of the act, to join in an impromptu, unscripted dialogue about the persistence of evil and the power of faith. “Are you a person of faith?” Bill asked me. It was a simple question, but unexpected. The two of us were seated in straight-backed chairs on the proscenium, with spotlights shining down and three thousand people filling the theater, listening for my answer. It was a tense moment.
I finally responded that all of us are people of faith. Everyone believes in something. Everyone trusts in a power greater than themselves. The question is where you put your faith. Dr. King, for example, put his faith in the power of non-violent action and redemptive love. Others put their trust in the big stick, armaments and retaliation. But the philosophy of an eye-for-an-eye, King said, left everyone blind.
That particular night happened to be the civil rights leader’s birthday, and January 15 also marked the start of the first Gulf War. American warplanes were bombing Baghdad even as we spoke.
Many wars later (Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan), Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday might be a good time for all of to ask where we put our faith. In F-35 bombers and drone technology? Or do we need a change of heart? “Hatred cannot vanquish hatred,” King proclaimed, “only love can do that.” But do any of us really believe that, even a little?
Dream A Have You? In Believe You Do What? Are “realpolitick” and bigger budgets for defense actually the path to peace? The best way to celebrate King’s legacy is to risk getting out of your comfort zone. Let yourself be confronted by the tough questions that he asked.
The fourth principle is A free and responsible search for truth and meaning or We search for what is true.
Here are some activities to help you celebrate:
As a family
Have a discussion about religion. What do your children believe? Parents, be aware that children,up until the age of 12, tend to take on the beliefs of their parents. For a lively discussion about religion you may want to let your children speak first, and play devil’s advocate.
Unitarian Universalism is a very long name, and not many people know much about it. Create an elevator, or play ground, speech so you can tell people what it means to be a UU in one minute or less.
Learn some history or do a science experiment together.
As an Individual
Talk with a friend about their beliefs. How are they different than yours? Keep an open mind; who knows, you may find something that rings true for you!
Enjoy coloring some religious symbols like this one found here.
Listen to a podcast from The Pamphlet so you can learn more about UU history.
Different religions have different traditions when it comes to food and the celebration of holidays.Choose one religion and explore their winter holiday through their food. For example, you may make latkes in honor of Chanukah. Just don’t forget to learn about Chanukah along the way!