Warmth in Winter
Now has come hard winter,
With whip of wind and slash of snow
and the diamond-bright stars in the black ice of the heavens.
Just as we resist the season with shovel and scraper, wool and windbreaker,
we embrace it with sled and snowboard, cocoa and comforter.
Winter is here: let us find warmth in this time of being together.
As REM said, “Everybody hurts”
But what do we do about it? What do we need? Comfort would be the answer.
Merriam Webster defines Comfort:
1: to give strength and hope to: cheer
2: to ease the grief or trouble of: console
We come to church to find comfort in the fellowship and spirit. We need to bathe in warmth and love. Comfort is necessary to help us keep moving towards all of our goals. We are making ourselves strong for another day when we allow ourselves to be comforted. We are making others strong when we comfort them.
What is power? Who has power? What does it mean to be in a place of power or position of power? These questions are coming up more often and for many, it has become part of a spiritual practice to answer them.
But there are many kinds of power.
Matthew Johnson wrote For Five Thousand Years or More about spiritual power.
There is natural power like the falls in the picture for this post.
So, how can we best use our power? How can we find our power?
What is prayer? According to Wikipedia, “Prayer is an invocation or act that seeks to activate a rapport with an object of worship through deliberate communication. Prayer can be a form of religious practice, may be either individual or communal and take place in public or in private.” Prayer is seen as definitively religious. Prayer can be healing. Prayer can be a destination for our thoughts. There are as many ways to prayers as there are people who pray.
Beliefnet collected The Essential Prayers of World Religions. They are the Refuge Prayer from Buddhism, the Lord’s Prayer from Christianity, the Faitha from Islam, the Gayatri Mantra from Hinduism, and the Shema from Judaism.
Some people sing. Some people use prayer beads. Some color mandalas. Some pray out loud. Some pray silently.
“The Atheist Prays” by Barbara J. Pescan wrestles with the questions about praying when you are unsure if anyone is listening.
I am going to leave you with a song from Kesha’s new album.
Peace and Prayers,
Mercy is defined in the dictionary as “compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.”
What does Mercy mean to you? Is mercy something we do? Is mercy just for the Divine?
Here is some beautiful music to listen to while thinking about mercy.
Seeking Mercy, Seeking a Home by Erika Hewitt
May we learn mercy. May we breathe it in ourselves and breathe it out for others.
What is Focus?
Here are some of the definitions from Merriam Webster Dictionary
1. a: a center of activity, attraction, or attention
b: a point of concentration
c: adjustment for distinct vision; also : the area that may be seen distinctly or resolved into a clear image
6: a localized area of disease or the chief site of a generalized disease or infection
What does Focus mean to you?
How can you improve Focus?
What is your focus in life or in faith?
For me, Focus is about the ability to concentrate, but also the need to know where I am going, both in life and in my faith. Meditation can be a great way to help with both of those.
Here is a video meditation designed for kids but good for anyone by Mairead Russell
Also here’s a picture to focus on. Trace the labyrinth, focus on the center, or use it as a way to start the breathing towards focusing.
To close today’s devotional I will leave this prayer
Dear great lathe of heaven,
O foundry of souls,
You churning, burning cosmos which has wrought me on the infinite loom of your celestial body.
Spinning stars and indifferent stones: hear my prayer.
Do not curse me to perish with all my dreams fulfilled.
Do not afflict me with a vision so narrow and a heart so small,
That all my greatest hopes could be accomplished within a single lifetime.
Rather, bless me with an unquiet spirit.
Anoint me with impertinent oils.
Grant me dreams so great and numerous,
That I might spend the fullness of my days to realize them,
And have ample remaining to leave to my inheritors.
Holy gyre that bore me and must one day take me home,
Allow me the mercy to depart this life with unfinished business.
Jefferson, though a sincere student of the teachings of Jesus and a Unitarian, was denounced as an atheist. We know the contumely, insult, and mob violence to which Priestley was subjected in England. Franklin, the Adamses, and Fillmore were all Unitarians, but they were looked at askance. Lincoln, one of the most deeply religious men, was clearly Unitarian in his faith. In spite of all these illustrious examples, religious prejudices have been played upon in politics to defeat Unitarians and upholders of liberal Christianity and in very recent years; but even in the time my life compasses, I can see a great change for the better.
On this President’s Day weekend we will look back at our Unitarian Presidents.
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 is a discussion time 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.
The schedule for the current adult religious education class is here.
Email email@example.com or use our contact form for more information or write to us at PO Box 523, Clarksburg WV 26302
Today is the first day of lent. It’s also Valentine’s Day. So it is appropriate that the word for today is love.
Here is a meditation about love …
I also wanted to include music so here is Bon Voyage singing “Though I May Speak” at UUCC.
To close I would like to leave you with this prayer.
The world aches for us to join together and bring about healing, toil for justice, and produce ever-increasing love. This is our calling. Go forth and act accordingly. Amen.