Unitarian Sunday Reflections

(Hull and Lincoln Unitarians)

15 May 2022


Lincoln Service ~ 11 am

followed by AGM


Hull Service ~ 4 pm

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Meeting ID: 851 6409 5601

Passcode: 130597





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”




In the Anointed One

there is no Jew or Greek, slave or citizen, male or female.

All are one in Jesus the anointed.” 

~   Galatians 3:28



words by John Carter


We light our chalice, this candle,

          as a sign of our connectedness….

                     a symbol forged in the violence of Nazi Occupied Europe,

                               it was a beacon of hope, welcome, security

                                         a promise of assistance on the journey to safety.



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.




HFL 172 (CD HFL 4/TRACK 13)

“All are Welcome Here”

words by Peter Galbraith


Now open wide your hearts, my friends,

And I will open mine,

And let us share all that is fair,

All that is true and fine.


We gather in this meeting house —

People of many kinds:

Let us, below the surface, seek

A meeting of true minds.


For in our company shall be

Great witnesses of light

The Buddha, Krishna, Jesus — those

Gifted with clearest sight.


Like them, we seek to know ourselves,

To seek, in spite of fear;

To open wide, to all, our hearts —

For all are welcome here.



This Morning I Pray for My Enemies

Joy Harjo


And whom do I call my enemy?
An enemy must be worthy of engagement.
I turn in the direction of the sun and keep walking.
It’s the heart that asks the question, not my furious mind.
The heart is the smaller cousin of the sun.
It sees and knows everything.
It hears the gnashing even as it hears the blessing.
The door to the mind should only open from the heart.
An enemy who gets in, risks the danger of becoming a friend.


Te Deum

Charles Reznikoff


Not because of victories

I sing,

having none,

but for the common sunshine,

the breeze,

the largess of the spring.


Not for victory

but for the day’s work done

as well as I was able;

not for a seat upon the dais

but at the common table.


“A Time to Build Up”

by Joan Chittister, from For Everything A Season, Orbis Books, 2013


Revolutions are strange things. They give us a wild sense of triumph and, at the same time, they confront us with the fragility of victory. At the very moment a revolution succeeds, all the dreaming ends and all the theories turn to dust and all the talking ceases. Suddenly, the fireworks go black in the sky. The dawn becomes daylight. The real work of revolution begins at the very moment the old world collapses.


Then, whatever the promises that fired the upheaval, they cease to be poetry and begin to be the cold, hard facts of popular politics. The hopes fade into expectations. Heroes turn to humdrum, and all the drum majors of the world are left without a band. When the revolution has been won, the task in life is no longer critique. There is no need then to lead the meddling crowd to wish for brave new worlds. On the contrary,  the crowds depend on them. They demand them. No, the task in life after the dramatic work of a revolution is over is not to envision possibilities; it is to make good on promises. The task in life after the revolution ends is to build up what has been torn down. The task in life when the last note of the march fades is to begin again. “Our grand business.” Thomas Carlyle wrote, “is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand.’


It is dailiness now that demands the work, not of dreamers, but of doers.



HFL 233 (CD HFL 4/TRACK 20)

“Others Call it God”

words by William Herbert Carruth


A fire-mist and a planet,

A crystal and a cell,

A star-fish and a saurian,

And caves where cave-folk dwell:

The sense of law and beauty,

A face turned from the clod —

Some call it evolution,

And others call it God.


Haze on the far horizon,

The infinite tender sky,

The ripe, rich tints of cornfields,

And wild geese sailing high;

And over high and lowland,

The charm of golden rod —

Some people call it nature,

And others call it God.


Like tides on a crescent sea-beach,

When the moon is new and thin,

Into our hearts high yearnings

Come welling, surging in,

Come from the mystic ocean

Whose rim no foot has trod—

Some people call it longing,

And others call it God.


A picket frozen on duty,

A mother starved for her brood,

And Socrates drinking hemlock,

And Jesus on the rood;

And millions, who, though nameless,

The straight, hard pathway trod —

Some call it consecration,

And others call it God.


Acts 11 The Inclusive Bible


The apostles and the community in Judea heard that Gentiles, too, had accepted the word of God.  As a result, when Peter went up to Jerusalem, some of the Jewish believers took issue with him.  “So you have been visiting the Gentiles and eating with them, have you?” they said.


Peter then explained the whole affair to them step by step from the beginning: “One day when I was in the town of Joppa, I fell into a trance while at prayer and had a vision of something like a big sheet being let down from heaven by its four corners. This sheet came quite close to me. I watched it intently and saw in it all sorts of animals and wild beasts—everything possible that could walk, crawl or fly. Then I heard a voice that said to me, ‘Now, Peter, make your sacrifice and eat.’ I replied, ‘I can’t, my God. Nothing profane or unclean has ever entered my mouth!’ And a second time the voice spoke from heaven, ‘Don’t call profane what God has made clean.’


This happened three times, then the sheet and what was in it was drawn up to heaven again. “Just at that moment, three couriers stopped outside the house where we were staying; they had been sent from Caesarea to fetch me, and the Spirit told me to have no hesitation about returning with them. These six believers came with me as well, and we entered Cornelius’ house.


He told us he had seen an angel standing in the house who had said, ‘Send messengers to Joppa and bring back Simon, known as Peter; he has a message for you that will save you and your entire household.’“I had hardly begun to speak when the Holy Spirit came down on them in the same way she came on us in the beginning, and I remembered what Christ had said: ‘John baptised with water, but you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit.’ I realised then that God was giving them the same gift that had been given to us when we came to believe in our Saviour Jesus Christ. And who am I to stand in God’s way?”


This account satisfied them, and they gave glory to God, saying, “God has granted the repentance that leads to life—even to Gentiles!”


“Spirit of Love: Loving Neighbour”

by Brian D. McLaren, from We Make The Road By Walking, Hodder & Stoughton Ltd, 2014


Where the Spirit is moving, love for God always, always, always overflows in love for neighbour. According to Jesus, our neighbour isn’t just the person who is like us, the person who likes us, or the person we like. Our neighbour is anyone and everyone — like us or different form us, friend or stranger — even enemy.


Peter learned this in his encounter with Cornelius, the Spirit wants to break down the walls of prejudice and hostility so that we stop judging us as clean and them as unclean, opening the way for strangers and enemies to become neighbours, friends, family.


That comes as a great shock to many of us who were taught that sameness is safe, and that difference is dangerous. Survival is dependant upon our maintaining trust in “our” tribe while we fear other tribes. We used paint, feathers, clothing, language, and yes even religion as our marker, so that everyone would know who was safe and us, and who was different and dangerous and them.


Our challenge today is that we must find a way to live together on this our home, this crowded planet with limited resources called earth.


We need to graduate from the thinking of our kind versus their kind, into thinking of all of us as humankind. We must pioneer a new way of living as neighbours in one human community, as sisters and brothers of one family of creation.


Vision of the Beloved Community

a reflection by Chris Glaser, from The Word Is Out, Harper Collins, 1994


The Spirit gave Peter a vision and then an experience that made him question the early church’s exclusion of Gentiles. To be baptised as Christian, Gentiles converted to Judaism first. Now, as Peter witnessed the Spirit baptise them before this conversion, he cried, “can anyone withhold the water for baptising these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?”


I believe that spiritual growth makes one’s faith more expansive. Mahatma Gandhi, though Hindu, saw himself as Muslim and Christian, too. The Catholic mystic Thomas Merton prayed with Tibetan Monks. The Christian author Simone Weil resisted joining the church, fearing it would confine her spirituality. Etty Hillesum, whose diaries during the Holocaust reveal a deepening spirituality, is claimed in her native home, the Netherlands, by both Christian and Jew.


If spirituality is about what unites us, why do we let it divide us?


If God shows no partiality with regard to our condition,  perhaps God shows no partiality to the spiritual path that is chosen, as long as God is reverenced and justice is done.



by Alice Walker



Gives me a day

too beautiful

I had thought

to stay indoors

& yet

washing my dishes


my shelves


throwing out

the wilted


shrunken garlic


I discover

I am happy

to be inside

looking out.

This, I think,

is wealth.

Just this choosing

of how

a beautiful day

is spent.



HFL 290 (CD 4/TK 24)

“When I was a child”

words by Marion Sheahan Whitcomb


When I was a child I spoke as a child,

I sang my childlike themes;

I understood as children do

And dreamed my children’s dreams.

But when in all good time I grew

And called myself mature,

I put away my childish ways,

For they could not endure.


As life unfolds from stage hostage,

I play in many roles,

The object is to find myself

Amid these tight controls.

O, have you ever been a son,

A parent, daughter wife?

O, have you ever wondered when

You might live you own life?


I’ll try to make some time each day

For liberating me.

I’ll build a bridge or write a song,

And that will set me free.

For when I’ve made some goal my own,

I’ll take the rest in stride,

Adjusting and adapting to

The changes that abide.



“Power of Story: a personal thought”


It was during my first year of volunteer service. I was in a small university city of Normal Illinois, tasked with working with University students, Presbyterians, and others. Peace work, justice work, cooking a Sunday evening meal…each week.


Once a month I was the worship leader for the 2nd Presbyterian congregation, near our offices. And in the dead of winter, while a major snow storm raged, I walked across campus to minister by leading worship for the community that gathered that day, one of the few churches that decided to be open.


Now why I am telling you this is that one of the readings for the day, was the Acts 11 text. In reading through the texts on Saturday, in preparation, I realised that Acts didn’t read the same as the psalm or even the gospel. It demanded more recitation than being a simple reading.


So that Saturday I memorised it, practiced it, and gave it as if I were on stage.


On Sunday, two services btw, I lead…. And when it came to this reading I began like every reading, I picked up the bible, and read the opening words of the text, and continued as if I were Peter making my report to the Assembly in Jerusalem. Even though they be Presbyterians in Illinois.


I finished by picking the bible up again, and reading the closing bit. Said this the liturgical response and moved on to the next part of worship.


Now I don’t remember the sermon, nor the hymns, but …..


It was after the main service, when we were greeting people over coffee. The wife of the minister approached me, congratulated me on the readings, She was clearly moved. And then the shoe fell……


“You read,” she asked, “as if it had personal meaning to you. Why is that?”


I knew why it did, her asking awakened that deep unspoken understanding, but for me I was not ready to claim it, name it, or really even live with it.


It remained closeted.

And I hedged with a good ole liberal progressive generally universal reading of the text, that welcome is for all, with examples of peace work, racial justice, justice for people who used assistive devices in their daily living.


She accepted that, but I think she suspected there was something more, the part of the story I was not prepared nor willing to tell. That would come over a year latter.


This text is powerful, it challenges the religious status quo, the ideas of theological separatism, and the dividing walls of hostility that religion so often erects. Obviously the story is there, in an immediately repeated format, (one of the few in the Greek testament) that signifies its importance for the early followers of Jesus.  That is, it is the theological justification for a ministry to the gentiles. Without Peter’s vision, and willingness to be lead by that vision, we would not have Paul’s ministry.


Now we could have a great and even enjoyed conversation, debate about whether that was a good thing or not, it is important to note that gentile followers of Jesus, had an easier road after this vision, than they had before.


Yet I think theologically the church has ignored this text, or only saw it as this historic justification for gentile inclusion, and missed the warning or siren call to being a more open community.


This is where I find Chris Glazer’s reflection to be spot on…..


Healthy Spirituality, regardless of the path we follow, calls us, beckons us, pushes us toward openness. The spirit moves toward tearing down of division, not naively but deeply where we share things in common. Our humanity, our connection to all life, our need to respect and be respected.


Our need to love….


That encounter on that Sunday, changed me, up to that time I was content to live a half life, it would have been fulfilling, yet I would not have been fully filled with all that life has to offer.


The divine sense and calling of deep unto deep, calls us to more than simple ritual, compliance, and easy living. It calls us to go deep and to allow what we learn and experience to become a blessing, a life affirming blessing for all.






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.





HFL 146 (CD HFL 4/TRACK 11)

“True Simplicity”

Traditional Shaker Song


’Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free;

’Tis the gift to know just where we want to be;

And when we find ourselves in the place just right,

’Twill be in the valley of love and delight.


When true simplicity is gained,

To greet all as friend we shan’t be ashamed;

To turn, turn, will be our delight,

Till by turning, turning, we come round right.


’Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free;

’Tis the gift to share our common destiny;

And when we find ourselves in the place just right,

’Twill be in the valley of love and delight.


When true simplicity is gained,

To greet all as friend we shan’t be ashamed;

To turn, turn, will be our delight,

Till by turning, turning, we come round right.



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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