Unitarian Sunday Reflections

(Hull and Lincoln Unitarians)

17 April 2022


Lincoln Service ~ 11 am


Hull Service ~ 4pm

Blended Service, in person or on zoom


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“Christ is Risen, In deed”

Easter Sunday


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”




“A flower blossoms for its own joy.”

~ Oscar Wilde



words by John Carter


We light our chalice, this candle,

          as a sign of our connectedness, our community, and 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.




SYF 177 (CD SYF 2/TRACK 16) Both

“To you who would as pilgrims go”

words by Janet H Bowering,


“To you who would as pilgrims go with eager steps and hearts aglow, when on the holy city bent be not deterred from high intent.


For people need triumphant days with ample reassuring praise, and palms extol while thorns do not and none would choose the martyr’s lot.


So easy now to join the throng with flowering branch and palm and song.

So hard to see on such a day the beggar’s hand beside the way.


How fine to do the pleasant deed, to serve the current favoured need, but hop needs those who think and choose uphold a cause they well may lose.


For those who would as pilgrims go both scorn and failure well may know, and high intent can lead to pain and gifts must never be for gain.”



Second Sunday of Easter an Introduction

by Olive Elaine Hinnant, from Allen, Ronald J.. Preaching God’s Transforming Justice (Lectionary Commentary). Presbyterian Publishing Corporation.


These texts underscore a bold witness to the resurrection in four particular ways: proclamation (Acts 5:27–32), praise or worship (Ps. 150), priestly responsibility (Rev. 1:4–8), and confession or affirmation of faith (John 20:19–31). Each activity is a task of the church,—those who are called to live out loud their encounter with the Holy.


By preaching these four passages together, we can paint a mural of the early church in action. We can tell their stories of bold acts of confession and proclamation on behalf of Jesus the Anointed One. In addition, we can include stories of other people, such as Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Oscar Romero, Dorothy Day, Nelson Mandela, Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, Harvey Milk, Martin Luther King Jr., and more recently Bishop Gene Robinson.


These people, and many others, moved from the security of locked doors into the world to witness for truth, justice, and peace. They have resisted death and stood for life in the midst of their particular circumstances, refusing to give in to threats and powerful authorities.




Praise Adonai!
Praise God in the sanctuary;
   praise in the mighty firmament!
Praise for the mighty deeds;
   praise God according to the holy’s surpassing greatness!

Praise God with trumpet sound;
   praise with lute and harp!
Praise with tambourine and dance;
   praise with strings and pipe!
Praise with clanging cymbals;
   praise with loud clashing cymbals!

Let everything that breathes praise Adonai!
Praise Praise the Holy One!



HFL 280 (CD-HFL3 / TK24) Lincoln Chapel

“Morning Has Broken”

words by Eleanor Farjeon


Morning has broken like the first morning,

blackbird has spoken like the first bird.

          Praise for the singing!

          Praise for the morning!

          Praise for them, springing fresh from the Word!


Sweet the rain’s new fall sunlit from heaven,

like the first dewfall on the first grass.

          Praise for the sweetness

          of the wet garden,

          sprung in completeness where his feet pass.


Mine is the sunlight! Mine is the morning

born of the one light Eden saw play!

          Praise with elation,

          praise every morning,

          God’s re-creation of the new day!




SYF 105 Hull Church

“Nature shouts from earth and sky”

words by Richard Boeke


Nature shouts from earth and sky, Alleluia!

In the spring our spirits fly, Alleluia!

Join the resurrection cry, Alleluia!

Love is God and fears must die, Alleluia!


Mary’s son, Christ Jesus, died, Alleluia!

Killed by humans full of pride, Alleluia!

Such a loss of such a friend, Alleluia!

Yet the cross was not the end, Alleluia!


Out of death his spirit sings, Alleluia!

Love to all the earth he brings, Alleluia!

Telling nations, war must cease, Alleluia!

Sisters, brothers, join in peace, Alleluia!


Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Jew, Alleluia!

All are ways for love in you, Alleluia!

Many rainbows share one sun, Alleluia!

In the many, God is one, Alleluia!




“Easter Morning in Unitarian Universalism”

by Rev. Dr. Cynthia L. Landrum, UU Congregation of East Liberty, 20 April 2011.


Arminianism, is one of the foundations of religious liberals, especially of Liberal Christianity. It is the belief that people are not inherently evil, that we can choose to do good or bad in this life.  I would argue that this Arminianism is perhaps our most controversial heresy as Unitarians.  This puts us in direct disagreement with conservative Christianity which sees people as inherently evil and needing a punishing God.  Conservative Christianity needs the central message of Christianity to be about Christ on the cross –that God needed a blood atonement for the sins of humankind, and therefore had to slaughter his son to redeem us.             


Liberal Christianity doesn’t see that as the message of the Bible at all.  It sees the important message of the Bible as a message of love, of equality, of giving and caring.  Recently my colleague Fred Hammond asked, “What if the crucifixion and resurrection is not the cornerstone of the Christian narrative?” and followed upon that by asking, “What if his torturous death on the cross was an attempt to kill an idea, akin to Gandhi’s assassination, or Martin Luther King’s?”[v]  His answer was, “The message that Jesus taught during his life was that God is love. Love one another. . .  Be generous in all things; if someone asks for your coat, give them your shirt as well.  If they ask you to walk a mile, walk two.


Love your enemies.”[vi]  Oh, have we come back to that again?  To love?  Is this really what it’s all about?  Love, love, love?  God is Love, the greatest of these is Love, all you need is Love?  Why, yes, we have; it is.  Love.


If we want to talk about the meaning of Jesus of Nazareth on this day, if we want top use this day to talk about what makes Christianity important and relevant to our world, the answer is Love. The answer is Justice. The answer is the message that Jesus taught over and over again about how to treat your neighbours, and how to turn the other cheek, and how the meek shall inherit the earth and how the greatest of these is love.


Liberal Christianity is about how this amazing man, Jesus, taught us how to live on earth, and how to talk to God, how to feel the spirit in our lives and to name it family.


“Its just one resurrection after another”

by Carol Rose

co-pastor of Shalom Mennonite Fellowship in Tucson, Ariz., and former director of Community Peacemaker Teams, from Anabaptist World


Mary stood weeping outside the tomb.


I’m with her. Reading the headlines, it rather looks like it’s just one death after another.


I imagine that for all of us, looking back over these past two years can feel a bit like looking into a tomb, like one death after another.


Deep personal losses. Hundreds of thousands of lost opportunities for connection. Celebrations and gatherings canceled or postponed. Neighbors we have lost track of. Illnesses.


One death after another.


Enormous public losses. Over 6 million dead of COVID-19, and we still can’t agree about protecting the most vulnerable. A coup attempt exposed divisions that cut deep and dangerous, cleaving communities and families. Deadly racism. Worshipers held hostage in a synagogue. Mass shootings. Laws targeting transgender kids’ very existence and health. The right to weapons deemed more precious than the right to life. Over 20 wars destroying lives, sending refugees fleeing, and only one in the news.


One death after another.


Mary had good reason to weep, and so do we.


We go to that tomb in the morning with Mary because we have lost — and are yet losing — precious life and ­precious people, and none of it is over.


We look into the tomb because there is wisdom that comes only through looking loss in the face, acknowledging it, gathering herbs to lay on the body — whether it is physically there or it is a loss of the heart.


When we weep at the tomb, we may find messengers with good questions.


“Why are you weeping?”


“What is it that has happened?”


“What are you looking for?”


“Where do we go from here?”


Questions that might change us. Questions that might turn us around.


We do not deny the tomb. And it is not our home.


Theologian Richard Rohr says, “The pattern is always death transformed, not death avoided. Death and resurrection: How we want one without the other! But no, Divine

Life is so big, so deep and so indestructible that it is able to include death.”

There Jesus is, alive, right in front of Mary. She asks her imagined grave-robbing gardener where they took the body, the empty shell.


Sometimes, Resurrection has to call us by name.


Carol, look here!


And I look. I see a hummingbird at rest. I hear a tune that gets my feet dancing.


Sometimes it’s just one resurrection after another.


Flirting birds turn into a nesting couple. Tiny eggs open. Empty shells are pushed out.

Tiny, wide-open mouths noisily look for food.


It’s just one resurrection after another.


How could a polliwog become a frog? How is it that potato peels com­post into rich soil ready to nourish life?


It’s just one resurrection after another.


Here in the Sonoran Desert, apparently dead sticks leaf out and bloom.


This is the secret of the world: Resurrection is written deep into creation, into our lives, into our very cells.  


Life-out-of-death is central to the way God does things. There is loss. And there is new life. God wove this pattern into every thread of creation. It is as close to us as each breath.


It’s just one resurrection after another.


The mystic Julian of Norwich, who lived through the plague in England in the 14th century, said, “If there is anywhere on earth a lover of God is always kept safe, I know nothing of it. In falling and rising again, we are always kept in that same precious love.”


Resurrection usually takes longer than three days.


Jesus calls us away from the tombs, into the light, into community, into some work to do.


It’s just one resurrection after another. Which one will you notice next?



SYF 44 (SYF CD3/TK 8)  Both

“Give thanks for life”

words by Shirley Erena Murray


Give thanks for life, the measure of our days,

mortal, we pass through beauty that decays,

yet sing to God our hope, our love, our praise:

Alleluia, Alleluia!


Give thanks for those whose lives shone with a light

caught from the Christ-flame, gleaming through the night,

who touched the truth, who burned for what is right:

Alleluia, Alleluia!


Give thanks for all, our living and our dead,

thanks for the love by which our life is fed,

a love not changed by time or death or dread:

Alleluia, Alleluia!


Give thanks for hope that like a seed of grain

lying in darkness, does it life retain

to rise in glory, growing green again:

Alleluia, Alleluia!



“You Are Risen, Now Get the Hell OUT!”

by Chris Kratzer, Stupid Sh*t Heard in Church


Here’s a message you probably won’t hear at church this morning — YOU ARE RISEN, now get the hell out!


That right, you are risen. Not just Jesus, but everyone. All of us.


Risen indeed.


That is the Gospel. Period.


So I say unto you, whatever your tomb is, you are risen. Now get the hell out!


Maybe for you it’s fear.


Maybe it’s insecurity.


Maybe it’s procrastination.


Whatever your tomb is, you are risen. For Christ’s sake, it’s time to leave.


Push away the stone. See beyond your window. Awaken to the Universe.


The fire of a thousand suns blazes within you. The bravery of an ever-expanding cosmos quakes within you. The beauty of God herself radiates from you. Just the smile on your face sends the demons trembling in Hell.


No more time for weak knees or timid reservation. No more time for rehearsed excuses or bowing to you naysayers.


Whatever your tomb is, you are risen. Now get the hell out!


Be your badass gay self. Be your unstoppable transgender truth.


Love the empath within you. Adore the misfit that is you. Embrace the brokenness that haunts you. No more shrinking back. No more conforming to a bigoted world.


No, you didn’t get the childhood you deserved.


No, you didn’t get the apology that was owned you.


No, you didn’t get the life that you wished you would have.


Yes, people have misunderstood you.


Yes, people haven’t accepted you.


Yes, people have hurt you.


Will those be the verses that embalm you?


I say unto you, whatever your tomb is, you are risen. Now get your ass out!


The world can’t change without you. The world will never be the same if you’d just be you. Tombs are made for dead people. Stop carrying yours around with you!


You are risen, now get the hell out!


Will the song inside of you never get sung?


Will the divinity that is you never be owned?


Will the salvation of another never come in your refusal to fully be you?


This is Jesus speaking…. Is this microphone on?


Whatever Easter is to you, this is what Easter is to me….


YOU ARE RISEN, now get the hell out!



Grace is brave. Be brave.


HYL 109 (HYL CD4/TK7) Lincoln Chapel

Life’s Rebirth

words by Frank R Clabburn


A day like many other days

Has seen us gather here to sing

And offer words which reach for thoughts

That lie beyond their capturing;

          Yet may those prayers our lives renew:

          From rocks of thought a vision hew.


We tell from land to land our tales

Where powers of hope shape life from death,

In differing words that share a dream —

With glorying about, or whispered breath;

          To caves of cold, dark unconcern

          We bring our lights of love to burn.


Such warmth can melt a winter’s cold

In human hearts, as flower and field,

And push aside the blocking stone

With which so many a heart is sealed;

          May I be never shut inside

          The tomb of selfishness and pride.


This day, like many other days,

May see us roll the stone to find

A kindred soul who thirsts for light

Yet to the darkness was resigned;

          So may we stretch our hands to lead

          To life’s rebirth all those we’ve freed.




SYF 109 Hull Church

“Now the green blade riseth”

words by John MacLeod Campbell Crum


Now the green blade risers from the buried grain, wheat that in dark earth days has lain; Love lives again, that with the dead has been:

          Love is come again,

          like wheat that springeth green.


In the grave they laid him, Love by hatred slain, thinking that never he would wake again, laid in the earth like grain that sleeps unseen:

          Love is come again,

          like wheat that springeth green.


Forth he came at Easter, like the risen grain, he that for three days in the grave had lain, quick from the dead my risen Lord is seen:

          Love is come again,

          like wheat that springeth green.


When our hearts are wintry, grieving, or in pain, Love’s touch can call us back to life again, fields of our hearts that dead and bare have been:

          Love is come again,

          like wheat that springeth green.



“Being Risen, In Deed”


Many years ago I was asked to take the Easter Sunday Service at the congregation I was attending, I struggled with how I was going to approach the service, I couldn’t do the standard Jesus is risen from the dead, proof of resurrection sermons I grew up with, but yet I did feel the pull of the metaphor of new life arising from dead ashes.


So how did this group of rag tag labourers, that is the early followers of Jesus, turn the heads at that time, what was it in them that would allow me to connect to a belief system, that I wasn’t comfortable with, nor really wanted to be anymore.


The whole theology of Jesus’ death, the why’s, the how’s, the necessities….well it reads like a slasher novel, or at worse a primer in parental abuse. It is the central lynchpin for much of Nicene christianity, or the Romano Christian Empire.


What makes this worse, is that it glosses over the horror, the extreme violence of crucifixion. It was not an light, o he suffered but died quickly, it is one of the longest forms of execution known, a slow painful form of suffocation used by the state to silence dissent.


Nicene christianity, simply whitewashes this, he died, was buried……


Jesus’ life, his teachings, his way of treating others really does not exist in the creeds, because the empire needed a unifying God-King to keep the masses content. The old gods have failed, and unity was more important than humanity, than the truth of who Jesus was…..


I could no longer define that as a healthy spirituality or faith.


So I struggled, I could not not do the service, but I needed someplace where I could minister to a people who did believe what I did not, and still have some integrity for my words.


I researched, prayed, pondered, stumbled, mumbled for a few days….until


I found my hook, it was in the easter acclamation, Christ is Risen with the respond Christ is risen indeed.  My focus became on how we live, less on what we believe.


And yes I got challenged by some more fundamentalist thinkers.


It really goes back or returns to what we use as our foundational material, how read the words, and how well we strip away the millennia of theology and ruthless enforcement of that theology.


When reading the greek texts in the biblical material, stripping away all the horrid theologies we were taught or heard through out the years, we find one basic distinction, and that is action, behaviour, works or deeds. After all the text that follows the gospels is called Acts, as in the actions of the apostles. Action based on their experience of being friends of Jesus.


It goes to how Jesus functioned….


In Jesus’ teachings we see the same emphasis, he doesn’t teach believe this or that, but do this, make your motivation Love, compassion, justice…. Act from love…..


Fear, political control, time and again leads to horrid behaviour. We see this in our current political battles, honestly on all side of the spectrum. We see it historically in the eras of witch hunts, protestant or catholic martyrdom, crusades.


We see it when we narrowly define what it means to be…..and you can fill in the blank here, with whatever concerns you, and then check your responses to it.


I suspect you will find, that where you have better knowledge or experience of the issue, you will have a more nuanced approach, where you do not, there is probably a more fear filled approach. It’s human, our fight or flight brain response.


Now I am not trying to induce guilt or shame, but recognition that a nuanced response takes work and a willingness to recognise our limited knowledge on things that may concern us.


The way of Jesus is not about a simplistic attitude to be all touchy feely as most see the word love representing. It is about going deeper, living with your own concerns but not allowing those concerns, or fears, or hatreds to define how you will respond, as individuals or as a community.

It ain’t easy…..


In colonial Pennsylvania, there was a man, well known for his way of living, but disliked for his way of believing. He was charged falsely, and choose to flee the area. When it was discovered that he had in fact fled, he was pursued.


Now the thing is, there are variations of this story told amongst the Mennonites and Brethren groups, and I suspect it is based on a martyrs story, but then again the way the history of the Peace churches play out, each variation could be a true story.


In the pursuit the man came upon a frozen river, and crossed safely, his pursuer did not.


And upon hearing the cries for help, the pursued man returned and rescued his pursuer and was arrested.


In one of the older tales, it lead to his death, in others he was imprisoned.


In all he chooses to do good, even at risk of his own life.


That is an action centred spiritual system, belief is there, but it’s outcome is about good work, care of the other, love that puts another’s well being foremost in ethical consideration.


In looking at Jesus’ story, his teachings, his being we are offered a choice.


Continue with the adoration of a God-King who demands subservience or follow a Rabbi who puts love and compassion at the centre of one’s spiritual life.


The choice is yours this easter, and every day…..


How do you choose to live?





“Look Well to the Growing Edge”

by Howard Thurman


Look Well to the Growing Edge.

All around us worlds are dying and new worlds are being born; all around us life is dying and life is being born. The fruit ripens on the tree, the roots are silently at work in the darkness of the earth against a time when there shall be new lives, fresh blossoms, green fruit. Such is the growing edge! It is the extra breath from the exhausted lung, the one more thing to try when all else has failed, the upward reach of life when weariness closes in upon all endeavour. This is the basis of hope in moments of despair, the incentive to carry on when times are out of joint and men have lost their reason, the source of confidence when worlds crash and dreams whiten into ash. The birth of a child — life’s most dramatic answer to death — this is the growing edge incarnate.

Look well to the growing edge!



And so we pray, may Howard Thurmans speak for us….


I will sing a new song.


The old song of my spirit has wearied itself out.

It has long ago been learned by heart;

It repeats itself over and over,

Bringing no added joy to my day or lift to my spirit.


I will sing a new song.


I must learn the new song for the new needs.

I must fashion new words born of all the new growth

                     of my life

                     of my mind

                     of my spirit.

I must prepare for new melodies that have never been mine before,

That all that is within me may lift my voice unto God.


Therefore, I shall rejoice with each new day

And delight my spirit in each fresh unfolding.

I will sing, this day, a new song unto our God.




SYF 2 (CD SYF 3/TRACK 1) Both

“A promise through the ages rings”

words by Alicia S. Carpenter


A promise through the ages rings,

that always, always, something sings.

Not just in May, in finch-filled bower,

but in December’s coldest hour,

a note of hope sustains us all.


A life is made of many things:

bright stars, bleak years, and broken rings.

Can it be true that through all things,

there always, always something sings?

The universal song of life.


Entombed within our deep despair,

our pain seems more than we can bear;

but days shall pass and nature knows

that deep beneath the winter snow

a rose lies curled and hums its song.


For something always, always sings.

This is the message Easter brings:

from deep despair and perished things

a green shoot always, always springs,

and something always, always sings.



By Rev John Carter


Embracing all that life offers us,

Looking to each other

Seeing all our giftedness and beauty

Opening our arms to greet all that we meet…


We depart in peace, to live, to serve, to be that which our world needs.


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