Unitarian Sunday Reflections

(Hull and Lincoln Unitarians)

27 March 2022


Lincoln Service ~ 11 am

Hull Service ~ 4pm

Chris Carr Leading the service


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Lincoln Service Theme


Mothering Sunday Readings and Reflections

Fourth Sunday in Lent

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”




“my mother sacrificed her dreams

so i could dream”

~ tupi kaur (poet)



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.




HFL 43 (HFL CD1-TK4)

“Mother Spirit, Father Spirit”

words by Norbert F. Capek


Mother Spirit,

Father Spirit,

          Where are you?

In the skysong,

In the forest,

          Sounds your cry.

What to give you,

What to call you,

          What am I?


Many drops are

In the ocean,

          Deep and wide.

Sunlight bounces

Off the ripples

          To the sky.

What to give you,

What to call you,

          Who am I?


I am empty,

Time flies from me;

          What is time?

Dreams eternal,

Fears infernal

          Haunt my heart.

What to give you,

What to call you,

          O, my God?


Mother Spirit,

Father Spirit,

          Take our hearts.

Take our breath and

Let our voices

          Sing our parts.

Take our hands and

Let us work to

          Shape our art.




Todays readings are from women poets, from different ages, different places, different lives. In each there is longing, remembering, and the search for belonging. In this the poets cover the promise or the ideal returning and nurture.




What Kind of Times Are These

by Adrienne Rich


There’s a place between two stands of trees where the grass grows uphill

and the old revolutionary road breaks off into shadows

near a meeting-house abandoned by the persecuted

who disappeared into those shadows.


I’ve walked there picking mushrooms at the edge of dread, but don’t be fooled

this isn’t a Russian poem, this is not somewhere else but here,

our country moving closer to its own truth and dread,

its own ways of making people disappear.


I won’t tell you where the place is, the dark mesh of the woods

meeting the unmarked strip of light—

ghost-ridden crossroads, leafmold paradise:

I know already who wants to buy it, sell it, make it disappear.


And I won’t tell you where it is, so why do I tell you

anything? Because you still listen, because in times like these

to have you listen at all, it’s necessary

to talk about trees.


On Being Brought from Africa to America

Phillis Wheatley – 1753-1784


‘Twas mercy brought me from my Pagan land,
Taught my benighted soul to understand
That there’s a God, that there’s a Saviour too:
Once I redemption neither sought nor knew.
Some view our sable race with scornful eye,
“Their colour is a diabolic die.”
Remember, Christians, Negros, black as Cain,
May be refin’d, and join th’ angelic train.



A Prayer Band

by Suheir Hammad


every thing

you ever paid for
you ever worked on
you ever received

every thing

you ever gave away
you ever held on to
you ever forgot about

every single thing is one
of every single thing and all
things are gone

every thing i can think to do
to say i feel
is buoyant

every thing is below water
every thing is eroding
every thing is hungry

there is no thing to eat
there is water every where
and there is no thing clean to drink

the children aren’t talking

the nurses have stopped believing
anyone is coming for us

the parish fire chief will never again tell anyone that help is coming

now is the time of rags
now is the indigo of loss
now is the need for cavalry

new orleans
i fell in love with your fine ass poor boys sweating frying
catfish blackened life thick women glossy seasoning
bourbon indians beads grit history of races
and losers who still won

new orleans
i dreamt of living lush within your shuttered eyes
a closet of yellow dresses a breeze on my neck
writing poems for do right men and a daughter of refugees

i have known of displacement
and the tides pulling every thing
that could not be carried within
and some of that too

a jamaican man sings
those who can afford to run will run
what about those who can’t
they will have to stay

end of the month tropical depression turned storm

someone whose beloved has drowned
knows what water can do
what water will do to once animated things

a new orleans man pleads
we have to steal from each other to eat
another gun in hand says we will protect what we have
what belongs to us

i have known of fleeing desperate
with children on hips in arms on backs
of house keys strung on necks
of water weighed shoes
disintegrated official papers
leases certificates births deaths taxes

i have known of high ways which lead nowhere
of aches in teeth in heads in hands tied

i have known of women raped by strangers by neighbors
of a hunger in human

i have known of promises to return
to where you come from
but first any bus going any where

tonight the tigris and the mississippi moan
for each other as sisters
full of unnatural things
flooded with predators and prayers

all language bankrupt

how long before hope begins to eat itself?
how many flags must be waved?
when does a man let go of his wife’s hand in order to hold his child?

who says this is not the america they know?

what america do they know?

were the poor people so poor they could not be seen?

were the black people so many they could not be counted?

this is not a charge
this is a conviction

if death levels us all
then life plays favorites

and life it seems is constructed
of budgets contracts deployments
of wards and automobiles of superstition and tourism
and gasoline but mostly insurance

and insurance it seems is only bought
and only with what cannot be carried within
and some of that too

a city of slave bricked streets
a city of chapel rooms
a city of haints

a crescent city

where will the jazz funeral be held?

when will the children talk?

tonight it is the dead
and dying who are left
and those who would rather not
promise themselves they will return

they will be there
after everything is gone
and when the saints come
marching like spring
to save us all



I Have Been a Stranger in a Strange Land

by Rita Dove


“Life’s spell is so exquisite, everything conspires to break it.”

Emily Dickinson quote


It wasn’t bliss. What was bliss

but the ordinary life? She’d spend hours

in patter, moving through whole days

touching, sniffing, tasting . . . exquisite

housekeeping in a charmed world.

And yet there was always


more of the same, all that happiness,

the aimless Being There.

So she wandered for a while, bush to arbor,

lingered to look through a pond’s restive mirror.

He was off cataloging the universe, probably,

pretending he could organize

what was clearly someone else’s chaos.


That’s when she found the tree,

the dark, crabbed branches

bearing up such speechless bounty,

she knew without being told

this was forbidden. It wasn’t

a question of ownership—

who could lay claim to

such maddening perfection?


And there was no voice in her head,

no whispered intelligence lurking

in the leaves—just an ache that grew

until she knew she’d already lost everything

except desire, the red heft of it

warming her outstretched palm.



HFL 132 (CD WWSfT/TK 12)

“Children of the Universe”

words by John Andrew Storey


Children of the human race,

Offspring of our Mother Earth,

Not alone in endless space

Has our planet given birth.

Far across the cosmic skies

Countless suns in glory blaze,

And from untold planets rise

Endless canticles of praise.


Should some sign of others reach

This, our lonely planet Earth,

Differences of form and speech

Must not hide our common worth.

When at length our minds are free,

And the clouds of fear disperse,

Then at last we’ll learn to be

Children of the Universe.



The birthday of the world

by Marge Piercy


On the birthday of the world

I begin to contemplate

what I have done and left

undone, but this year

not so much rebuilding


of my perennially damaged

psyche, shoring up eroding

friendships, digging out

stumps of old resentments

that refuse to rot on their own.


No, this year I want to call

myself to task for what

I have done and not done

for peace. How much have

I dared in opposition?


How much have I put

on the line for freedom?

For mine and others?

As these freedoms are pared,

sliced and diced, where


have I spoken out? Who

have I tried to move? In

this holy season, I stand

self-convicted of sloth

in a time when lies choke


the mind and rhetoric

bends reason to slithering

choking pythons. Here

I stand before the gates

opening, the fire dazzling


my eyes, and as I approach

what judges me, I judge

myself. Give me weapons

of minute destruction. Let

my words turn into sparks.


The Journey

By Mary Oliver


One day you finally knew

what you had to do, and began,

though the voices around you

kept shouting

their bad advice—

though the whole house

began to tremble

and you felt the old tug

at your ankles.

“Mend my life!”

each voice cried.

But you didn’t stop.

You knew what you had to do,

though the wind pried

with its stiff fingers

at the very foundations,

though their melancholy

was terrible.

It was already late

enough, and a wild night,

and the road full of fallen

branches and stones.

But little by little,

as you left their voices behind,

the stars began to burn

through the sheets of clouds,

and there was a new voice

which you slowly

recognized as your own,

that kept you company

as you strode deeper and deeper

into the world,

determined to do

the only thing you could do—

determined to save

the only life you could save.


On the Pulse of Morning

Maya Angelou – 1928-2014


A Rock, A River, A Tree
Hosts to species long since departed,
Marked the mastodon,
The dinosaur, who left dried tokens
Of their sojourn here
On our planet floor,
Any broad alarm of their hastening doom
Is lost in the gloom of dust and ages.


But today, the Rock cries out to us, clearly, forcefully,
Come, you may stand upon my
Back and face your distant destiny,
But seek no haven in my shadow.
I will give you no hiding place down here.


You, created only a little lower than
The angels, have crouched too long in
The bruising darkness
Have lain too long
Face down in ignorance.
Your mouths spilling words


Armed for slaughter.
The Rock cries out to us today, you may stand upon me,
But do not hide your face.


Across the wall of the world,
A River sings a beautiful song. It says,
Come, rest here by my side.


Each of you, a bordered country,
Delicate and strangely made proud,
Yet thrusting perpetually under siege.
Your armed struggles for profit
Have left collars of waste upon
My shore, currents of debris upon my breast.
Yet today I call you to my riverside,
If you will study war no more. Come,
Clad in peace, and I will sing the songs
The Creator gave to me when I and the
Tree and the rock were one.
Before cynicism was a bloody sear across your
Brow and when you yet knew you still
Knew nothing.
The River sang and sings on.


There is a true yearning to respond to
The singing River and the wise Rock.
So say the Asian, the Hispanic, the Jew
The African, the Native American, the Sioux,
The Catholic, the Muslim, the French, the Greek
The Irish, the Rabbi, the Priest, the Sheik,
The Gay, the Straight, the Preacher,
The privileged, the homeless, the Teacher.
They hear. They all hear
The speaking of the Tree.


They hear the first and last of every Tree
Speak to humankind today. Come to me, here beside the River.
Plant yourself beside the River.


Each of you, descendant of some passed
On traveller, has been paid for.
You, who gave me my first name, you,
Pawnee, Apache, Seneca, you
Cherokee Nation, who rested with me, then
Forced on bloody feet,
Left me to the employment of
Other seekers—desperate for gain,
Starving for gold.
You, the Turk, the Arab, the Swede, the German, the Eskimo, the Scot,
You the Ashanti, the Yoruba, the Kru, bought,
Sold, stolen, arriving on the nightmare
Praying for a dream.
Here, root yourselves beside me.
I am that Tree planted by the River,
Which will not be moved.
I, the Rock, I the River, I the Tree
I am yours—your passages have been paid.
Lift up your faces, you have a piercing need
For this bright morning dawning for you.
History, despite its wrenching pain
Cannot be unlived, but if faced
With courage, need not be lived again.


Lift up your eyes upon
This day breaking for you.
Give birth again
To the dream.


Women, children, men,
Take it into the palms of your hands,
Mold it into the shape of your most
Private need. Sculpt it into
The image of your most public self.
Lift up your hearts
Each new hour holds new chances
For a new beginning.
Do not be wedded forever
To fear, yoked eternally
To brutishness.


The horizon leans forward,
Offering you space to place new steps of change.
Here, on the pulse of this fine day
You may have the courage
To look up and out and upon me, the
Rock, the River, the Tree, your country.
No less to Midas than the mendicant.
No less to you now than the mastodon then.


Here, on the pulse of this new day
You may have the grace to look up and out
And into your sister’s eyes, and into
Your brother’s face, your country
And say simply
Very simply
With hope—
Good morning.



HFL 192 (CD1, HFL/TK16)

“A New Community”

words by Samuel Anthony Wright


We would be one as now we join in singing

Our hymn of love, to pledge ourselves anew

To that high cause of greater understanding

Of who we are, and what in us is true.


We would be one in building for tomorrow

A greater world than we have known today;

We would be one in searching for that meaning

Which binds our hearts and points us on our way.


We would be one in living for each other,

With love and justice strive to make all free;

As one, we pledge ourselves to greater service,

To show the world a new community.




I invite you to reflect upon the idea of returning. To the home and the ones that nurtured you. To a time and place that you knew you were heard, loved, and cared for. To the wider community that was a place of safety for you, assisting you in your development and mental, physical, and spiritual growth.

May we also remember that this is not true for many.




O God of all good life, who art not far from any one of us, deepen within us our awareness of Thy presence. In the confusion of the world we have become lost; we are strangers even to ourselves. Come to us gently, O God, like the fading of darkness at daybreak: be unto us as when a journey, long and hard, is ended, and now at last we are at home.”                                                              A Powell Davies



HFL 226 ( CD 3 / TK 19)

“Song of Peace”

words of Lloyd Stone


This is my song, O God of all the nations,

A song of peace for lands afar and mine;

This is my home, the country where my heart is,

Here are my hopes, my dreams, my holy shrine;

But other hearts in other lands are beating

With hopes and dreams as true and high as mine.


My country’s skies are bluer than the ocean,

And sunlight beams on clover leaf and pine;

But other lands have sunlight, too, and clover,

And skies are everywhere as blue as mine.

O hear my song, thou God of all the nations,

A song of peace for their land and for mine.



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.


The Digest - YUU Blog

27 Mar 2022 – Rev John Carter’s Sunday Reflections

Hull & Lincoln Service Theme
Mothering Sunday Readings and Reflections
Fourth Sunday in Lent
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”

Read More