Unitarian Sunday Reflections

(Hull and Lincoln Unitarians)

01 May 2022


Lincoln Service ~ 11 am

Hull Service ~ 6 pm

In conjunction with the UCA Sunday Eve Worship series


Zoom Meeting ID: 853 0987 4584

Passcode: 204828

Room opens at 545pm



“Love’s Labours Won”


We continue to Pray for the Ukraine, Yemen, and all places of war and destruction and all people, creatures and the environment effected by these wars.


May Peace come

“No more war, please”




Earth laughs in flowers.” 

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson


words by John Carter


We light our chalice, this candle,

          as a sign of our connectedness, our community, to our home called earth, and a sign of our journey on this spiritual quest called life….



We take a moment to reflect on our life and living of this week… as we reflect…. explore and ask of yourself….

          What was good? Healthy?

          What was not good? Unhealthy?

          What would you change if you could?

          What moments, events, conversations, time alone

          that allowed me to connect to another, to life,

                               to that which may be called Divine.


As we end these reflections, as we move to worship, may we continue to reflect on the things that make life whole and how we may grow ourselves into them.

May the Great Spirit of the Journey walk with us today.




“Blessed Spirit of my life”

words by Shelley Jackson Denham


Blessed Spirit of my life,

give me strength through stress and strife;

help me live with dignity;

let me know serenity.

Fill me with a vision,

clear my mind of fear and confusion.

When my thoughts flow restlessly,

let peace find a home in me.


Spirit of great mystery,

hear the still, small voice in me.

Help me live my wordless creed

as I comfort those in need.

Fill me with compassion,

be the source of my intuition.

Then when life is done for me,

let love be my legacy.



John 21

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.’ A second time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Tend my sheep.’ He said to him the third time, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ And he said to him, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep. Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.’ (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, ‘Follow me.’


“For Work”

by John O Donohue, from Benedictus


May the light of your soul bless your work

With love and warmth of heart.


May you see in what you do the beauty of your soul.


May the sacredness of your work bring light and renewal

To those who work with you

And to those who see and receive you work.


May your work never exhaust you.


May it release wellsprings of refreshment,

Inspiration and excitement.


May you never become lost in bland absences.


May the day never burden.


May the dawn find hope in your heart,

Approaching your new day with dreams,

Possibilities and promises.


May evening find you gracious and fulfilled.


May you go into the night blessed,

Sheltered and protected.


May your soul calm, console and renew you.


“What Does the Bible Say About Work?”

By Lauren Abraham

02 September, 2016, Spiritual Life: Grand Canyon University Blogs



Let your light shine in front of all. Then they will see the good things you do and will honour your God who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)


Whether you are a student, employee or both, it is important to look at our work from a faith perspective, and I will be using Christianity.


Stating the obvious, we spend a lot of time in the workplace.


Everyone has a different attitude when it comes to work. Some have the tendency to overwork themselves, while others avoid it at all costs. However, having either of these attitudes can lead to negative consequences.


So, what does the Bible have to say about work? As people of faith, it is important to align our perspective with God’s when it comes to this topic.


When we go all the way back to Genesis, we can see that God worked when creating the world. Therefore, when we work, we resemble God. Also we know that work is not God’s way of punishing us. In fact, it is a blessing, the ability to work allows us ways where we can honor God.


As daughters and sons of God, we have all been given different talents and abilities. When we use our gifts, we can experience fulfilment as we serve others, out of our love of God.


Finally, the Bible also reminds us of the importance of rest. When God created the world, it was work for six days and then on the seventh God rested. When we give ourselves time to rest and to be in with God, we can recharge for what is to come. By resting, we ensure that we will be prepared to serve whatever comes our way.


As we go into this week, may we take this time to rest. Reflecting on what the Bible says about work, and ask God to give us the discipline to apply these principles to our  lives and living. Ultimately, by doing this, we glorify God!



HYMN SYF 51 (CD SYF 4/ TK 8)

“God of grace and God of laughter”

words by Carl P Daw Jr.


God of grace and God of laughter, singing worlds from nought to be;

sun and stars and all thereafter joined in cosmic harmony,

giving songs of joy and wonder, music making hearts rejoice;

let our praises swell like thunder echoing our Maker’s voice.


When our lives are torn by sadness heal our lives with tuneful balm;

when all seems discordant madness help us find a measured calm.

Steady us with music’s anchor when the storms of life increase;

in the midst of hurt and rancour, make us instruments of peace.


Turn our sighing into singing, music born of hope restored;

set our souls and voices ringing, tune our hearts in true accord

till we form a mighty chorus joining angel choirs above

with all those who went before us in eternal hymns of love.





Third Sunday of Easter, An Introduction

by Maria Teresa Ddvila, from Allen, Ronald J.. Preaching God’s Transforming Justice (Lectionary Commentary). Presbyterian Publishing Corporation.


An immigration raid at a local meat processing plant goes unnoticed, even though a number of families are separated, parents from children, spouses from each other. The oil spill on the Gulf Coast seems too far away and too political to include in a sermon or in the prayers of the faithful. A local Islamic cultural center is the target of graffiti, but a neighboring congregation—having a number of sons and daughters fighting the war on terror—prefers to look the other way.


The triple denial of Peter immediately after Jesus’ arrest comes to light in today’s Gospel reading from John. Jesus’ interrogatory, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” makes us cringe. We place ourselves in Peter’s sandals and wonder if his own denial is going through his mind. With each iteration, we should also be distressed at our own periodic denial and persecution. And yet, like Peter and Paul, God still chooses us to lead a prophetic church.


One thing is clear, throughout today’s readings we are left, with an understanding that leadership for the reign of God will inevitably confront the powers with the transitory, superficial, and violent nature of their hold on the life of this world.


Acts 9:1–9 (NRSV)

Meanwhile Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he was going along and approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’ He asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ The reply came, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But get up and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.’ The men who were travelling with him stood speechless because they heard the voice but saw no one. Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. For three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.


HYMN SYF 150 (SYF CD 1/TK24)

“Stillness, creeping through this place”

words by Andrew McKean Hill


Stillness, creeping through this place, softly come and gently hold us; here, apart from urban race your quiet calmness be among us.

May we rest within your calmness; rest beside you, quiet stillness.


Silence, spreading all around, quietly seeping in between us; here, away from city sound with your peacefulness enfold us.

May we feel  and trust your presence, know your peace, deep healing silence.


Spirit, moving through this space, weaving in and out among us; here, your pattern brings new grace, with your breathing, life endow us.

May we your first breath inherit, feel your breathing, primal spirit.



“Love Labours Won”


When I approached lent and easter this year, I did with the mind to how do we understand the story of Jesus, the meaning of his title of Christ, and actually understand what the romanisation of the Jesus sect of Judaism did to the life and teachings of Jesus.


How this synthesis also changed our understandings of the other material found within the bible, the characters, the writings, and the overall understanding of various texts.


Today in one of our readings we have an example. That is Saul, a zealous follower of the Pharisaic way of Judaism. He loved God, as he best understood God, and was a devout in his behaviour, and practice. In short in his understanding he was a devout Jew.


That devotion then spurred his challenge of the followers of the way…. Essentially an alternative group within Judaism, who followed the teachings of a wandering rabbi named Jesus, son of Joseph. It was not mainstream Pharisee, but did have components with all Pharisees. That dissent, or non-conformity was what bothered Saul, they may have been in unity but were not uniform with the mainstream of Judaism.


The reason I make this point is that when scholarship, it is easy to do on your own, when analysing Jesus’ teachings, when analysing Paul’s teachings, and comparing them with the talmud and teachings of leading rabbinical thinkers, Pharisees, there is more similarity than not, and that core of it, is basically the same. Jesus’ summation of the law into Love God, Love neighbour, was not unique to Jesus. It was standard teaching of the Pharisees. Notice in the gospels they do not argue it with Jesus, they agree. The difference came with the application of the teachings.


And thus enters Saul, annoyed with the Way’s lack of respect of the Pharisee application of how you showed your love of God, that he went out of his way to correct them. So when Saul became Paul, the essentials of his thought, of his devout practice, remained, he is consistent with Pharisee teaching. It was in the application of that teaching is where Paul was truly no longer Saul.


This is where the whole of Romanised Christianity has done one of it’s many perversions of Jesus’ way.


Paul, as presented in ACTS, had a mystical experience on his way to Damascus…. So much so that he was blinded, and needed a guide, and this he found in a follower of Jesus. During this time he made a decision to study the way, to renew himself in the waters of baptism as a sign of his spiritual cleansing, and then he was away to meditate, contemplate, study, and have formation as a part of the Way. And in Acts this going away to his home in Tarsus is where he Saul exits the story.


The next bit, is the oft overlook teaching of Acts, it is the story of Peter’s vision on a rooftop in Joppa, and his preaching to a Roman military leader, who is filled with the holy spirit before Peter even completes his preaching. And then Peter being called to answer the leadership in Jerusalem for his baptising a non-jew, thus allowing a non-jew to be a devotee of Jesus and practicer of the Way. In his defence Peter repeat verbatim the vision and all that follows.


In biblical material, we find that repetition, is a way that the text is telling us something that is important. Like Amos’ “let Justice flow like a mighty stream, let Righteousness flow like mighty waters” Why is this repetition because in hebrew the root word for both is the same word. In Acts, Peters story of his vision and his baptising a roman, is necessary for the theological justification of Paul’s ministry to gentiles.


And we know from analysis, that however long Paul was in seclusion, when he came back and began his ministry, teaching the followers of the Way, who are now know as little Christs (literally Christian means little christ) . We know that what he taught the early christians, and wrote are filled with essential Jewish rabbinical thought.


It is the application of the teaching, the expectation of what one does, and the understanding of how one’s shows their love of God.


And this is where we return to the story of the resurrected Jesus on the shoreline of Galilee. In asking Peter, do you love me, followed by command to care for the needs of the followers of Jesus, we see application.


If we love God, then how do we show that love.


For a good Jew, we show by our faithful attendance to ways of living as spelled out in the hebrew bible.


For a good Christian it is in the law of love.


Some Unitarian thinkers have defined the Unitarian way is in gratitude.


I actually appreciate all of these nuances,  and see in the way of Jesus, that love is universal, we are called not just to love other followers of Jesus, but all humanity, and all of Creation.


Today we hear that call….


Do you love me?


Then feed my sheep…..


Care for the good gifts given us by God.





For Our Home

A reworking of the the prayer: A Morning Prayer

From the British League of Unitarian and Other Liberal Christian Women, 1928

by Rev John Philip Carter


Divine Spirit of Life,

G_D of many names and of none


May we know this day that you are a part of our lives and our living.

May all that we do, our actions, our duties, our hard, arguious and distasteful tasks show forth a joy and contentment that we have come to know in our walk upon this good green earth.


May we always see the beauty of our home, the world around us, no matter where we walk, nor what circumstances we find ourselves.

May our hands reach out to all things in love, compassion and understanding…

          seeking a way to bring healing and wholeness to our suffering and broken world.

May our hearts be open to all life surrounding us.


May our spirits learn from our earth’s many spiritual masters and mistresses so that we too may lead lives befitting ones called to divine purposes.


Ones called to be a light,

Ones called to be a blessing,

Ones called to serve all life.


May we be such a people for such a time as we live

          serving the whole of this beautiful world and all that live upon her.




HYMN SYF 165 (CD4 / TK18)

“The Spirit lives to set us free”

words anonymous


The Spirit lives to set us free,

walk, walk in the light.

It binds us all in unity,

walk, walk in the light.

          Walk, walk in the light, (3 times) walk in the light of love.


The light that shines is in us all,

walk, walk in the light.

We each must follow our own call,

walk, walk in the light.

          Walk, walk in the light, (3 times) walk in the light of love.


Peace begins inside your heart,

walk, walk in the light.

We’ve got to live it from the start,

walk, walk in the light.

          Walk, walk in the light, (3 times) walk in the light of love.


Seek the truth in what you see,

walk, walk in the light.

Then hold it firmly as can be,

walk, walk in the light.

          Walk, walk in the light, (3 times) walk in the light of love.


The Spirit lives in you and me,

walk, walk in the light.

Its light will shine for all to see,

walk, walk in the light.

          Walk, walk in the light, (3 times) walk in the light of love.



For Earth Day and every day….

by Rev John Carter


May we so live our lives,

Today, and every day,


So that all life on earth may simply live.



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