Unitarian Sunday Reflections

(Hull and Lincoln Unitarians)

03 April 2022


Lincoln Service ~ 11 am

Hull Service ~ 4pm


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“In the making of something new”

Fifth 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”




‘The measure of intelligence is the ability to change’

-Albert Einstein


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 178 (CD SYF 3/TK 19)

“Together now we join as one”

words by Clifford Martin Reed


Together now we join as one

our common faith to sing;

to render to this pilgrim world

our heartfelt offering.


We strive to be a fellowship

with mind and conscience free,

to search for truth and saving light

in cosmic mystery.


We worship God – love’s source and power;

we celebrate the life

that all earth’s children freely share

beyond their sinful strife.


We would, in love, serve humankind

with caring, justice, peace;

and with the earth seek harmony

that pride and pillage cease.


We hold in reverence the man

who walked in Galilee,

who healed the sick and loved the poor –

revealed divinity.


We welcome truth, we welcome light,

all prophecy and song,

whoever they be channelled through

to all they shall belong.



Fifth Sunday in Lent: An Introduction

by Lee H. Butler Jr.

Allen, Ronald J.. Preaching God’s Transforming Justice (Lectionary Commentary) (p. 233). Presbyterian Publishing Corporation. Kindle Edition.


One thread running through each of the texts is God restoring life to the people. Living day-to-day is a series of gains and losses. There will always be an oppressed people, a victimised people, or a poor people, because systemic evil will always seek to dominate this or that group. We must not forget that God is our ever-present help, if we only open our eyes to discern what God is doing. Too often we focus dreadfully on what others have done against us instead of discerning the generative and regenerative power of God.


While the road to freedom can be filled with struggle, despair, feelings of aimlessness, and emptiness, God will give us what we need to sustain us through it all. Be open to know the present activities of the Lord. God declares that our circumstances will be totally transformed. We shall not be isolated nor desolated forever. In the end, God shall restore our losses as a gift from God.



ISAIAH 43:16–21

Thus says the Lord,
   who makes a way in the sea,
   a path in the mighty waters,
who brings out chariot and horse,
   army and warrior;
they lie down, they cannot rise,
   they are extinguished, quenched like a wick:
Do not remember the former things,
   or consider the things of old.
I am about to do a new thing;
   now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
   and rivers in the desert.
The wild animals will honour me,
   the jackals and the ostriches;
for I give water in the wilderness,
   rivers in the desert,
to give drink to my chosen people,
   the people whom I formed for myself
so that they might declare my praise.


HYMN (HULL only)

SYF 54

“God Weeps”

woods by Shirley Erena Murray


God weeps

at love withheld,

at strength misused,

at children’s innocence abused,

and, till we change the way we love,

God weeps.


God bleeds

at anger’s fist,

at trust betrayed,

at woman battered and afraid,

and, till we change the way we win,

God bleeds.


God cries

at hungry mouths,

at running sores,

at creatures dying without cause,

and, till we change the way we care,

God cries.


God waits

for stones to melt,

for peace to seed,

for hearts to hold each other’s need,

and till we understand the Christ,

God waits.



“I am About to Do a New Thing”

by John Nichols, A Wind Swept Over The Water, Skinner Hse, 2007


“Do not remember the former thing, or consider the things of old.”


There are actually many things “of old” that we are glad to remember. There is the love that has always been there for us no matter how difficult we became. There are gifts we have been given far beyond our deserving of them. Some people have stood by us in tough times and some have made the good things in our lives possible. We should remember them.


There are also painful memories we need to keep: the hurtful things we have said or done that we are determined not to repeat; those moments when courage or cantor failed us and we were not the people we wanted to be. We must continue to be taught by these painful learning experiences.


Other memories poison our lives. Hurts inflicted upon us long ago still linger. We remember old humiliations, rivalries, and betrayals. We fear they will come back to bite us again, and that fear gives them power over us. Other memories anchor us in places from which we cannot grow. We don’t want our lives, our friends, our children, our institutions, or our ideas to change, because we fear that change in ourselves.


“I am about to do a new thing,” says God through Isaiah. If God can do a new thing, so can we. Poisonous or anchoring memories need not direct our lives. Perhaps God will do a new thing through us, something so drastic it will find a new path through the wilderness or water our own desert places. We don’t know what that new thing would look like. It might be something as subtle and exciting as a new stage in our life and growth.


We have some choice about how our lives will unfold. On the one hand, we can think of ourselves as wind-up toys. Wound up in our “prime,” we then walk in circles with decreasing energy as our body runs down to a stop. On the other hand, we can follow our passions and trust our intuition, which express our life and values more accurately. Learning to do a new thing at any stage of life is more than just being “outrageous,” though that is how some will see it. We can recognise that God or life is never quite through bringing into being something new — even through us.


If A Tree Could Wander

by Jalal Ad-Din Muhammad Rumi


Oh, if a tree could wander


     and move with foot and wings!


It would not suffer the axe blows


     and not the pain of saws!


For would the sun not wander


     away in every night ?


How could at ev’ry morning


     the world be lighted up?


And if the ocean’s water


     would not rise to the sky,


How would the plants be quickened


     by streams and gentle rain?


The drop that left its homeland,


     the sea, and then returned ?


It found an oyster waiting


     and grew into a pearl.


Did Yusaf not leave his father,


     in grief and tears and despair?


Did he not, by such a journey,


     gain kingdom and fortune wide?


Did not the Prophet travel


     to far Medina, friend?


And there he found a new kingdom


     and ruled a hundred lands.


You lack a foot to travel?


     Then journey into yourself!


And like a mine of rubies


     receive the sunbeams? print!


Out of yourself ? such a journey


     will lead you to your self,


It leads to transformation


     of dust into pure gold!



SFY 75 (CD SYF 4/TRACK 11)

“In quickening streams”


In quickening streams and warming earth,

in buds and rootlets groping blind,

the world awakens and brings to birth

eternal hopes to humankind.


The aeons pass in cadence slow,

ideas through the centuries roam,

but all life forces blend and flow

we harvest thoughts by others sown.


Each generation tries anew

and people venture to explore

old wisdom clad in raiment new,

fresh insight found in ancient lore.


A beacon from a far-off star

may touch a light-year distant soul.

A deed unmarked can travel far

and work to make a stranger whole.


Great good was wrought in ages past

when love and faith at wrongs were hurled:

so dare to change while life shall last,

take hold and shake a dormant world.



Yesterday I was able to participate in the Ordination/Induction of Rev Robin Hanford at Hinckley Great Meeting. It was a wonderful service, to see the gathered Unitarian community, celebrating their gifts of ministry as they celebrated Robin and what he brings to the mix.


I was struck that in the charges, comments, words of welcome, how we who were speaking all carried a thematic line, our words supported each other and built the service to its completion. We each spoke of ministry, being a communal procedure, that part of Robin’s work with the congregation was to help them develop their ministry.


Today’s texts in the lectionary, are moving us toward Jerusalem with Jesus, they offer hope by reminding us of the past of the blessings of God, or we also say life, with a sense that we have been here before, and we are now facing an uncertain, even scary future, but one that needs to be faced.


One of the passages suggested for today, if it were the one from one of the synoptic gospels I would have used it, as I have always found it more engaging, but suggested passage for today was from the gospel of John. That was the story of Mary, the sister of Lazarus, who uses expensive oil to wash Jesus’ feet. An action of gratitude, for his service to the brother, raising from the dead, and a premonition of his, that Jesus’, quickly upcoming death.


It is reminding us of this time of the liturgical year, as we reflect on the issues and ideals of justice, peace, and service. Looking at Jesus’ story, we are called to reflect upon how we fit into the narrative. How we take his example, reflect upon it, as well as others of faithful service, and then we make our own. This is singular for each of us as individuals, and it is corporate as we also do this as a community.


We are doing new things.


We are still connected to our past, and we are looking forward, guided by the virtues of Peace, Justice, Compassion and Welcome / Hospitality. And yes this is risky, but a faith community that doesn’t take risks is a dead one. We are constantly being asked to move beyond our comfort zones. We see this throughout all religion, just as we see the harms that permeate religion, we also see the healthy calls to embrace all humanity in these as well. Karen Armstrong in her development of The Charter of Compassion saw this universal trend of Religion, in the ideals expressed as “do unto others, that which you would have done to you.”


We are not bound by our reptilian brain, to the fight or flight mentality, or even the protectionist attitudes, but we can also be emphatic, compassionate, and open to the stranger.


This week began with an act of violence on a Hollywood stage, and subsequently more and varied forms of violence followed. Most of it reactionary.


What could have been a moment of emphatic compassion for a hurting woman, became a crusade for vengeance.


I am not commenting on the rightness or wrongness of the Will Smith’s violence, I am commenting on the fact that we had a moment to stand up for justice for a woman who is different, living with a chronic disease, and we laugh at her. The world last a chance to move away of the years of mockery that governed political discourse and embraced it because a comedian told “a joke.”


Good, faithful religion calls on us to see beyond the jokes, to see beyond the violence, to see with eyes of compassion, with empathy, and with discernment. To see that there is more here than just the slap in the face of our narrowly held beliefs and convictions.


It calls upon us to make all things new.


To do justice, to love mercy, and to walk this good earth with humility.





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



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.




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