Unitarian Sunday Reflections

(Hull and Lincoln Unitarians)

05 December 2021



“Beginnings Week two”

2nd Sunday Advent / last Evening Hanukkah






A very gracious and Happy 2nd Sunday of Advent morning to you all.

Welcome to this time of reflection, worship and new beginnings.



“This is the point:

we wait during this season so that more inner events can enfold in the midst of all the outer hoopla.

Our interiors can be fed in the pregnant stillness of waiting.

For the true gifts of the holidays don’t exist out there but in here,

if we but wait patiently and allow them to be born.”

~  Rev Tom Owen-Towle



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 moments, events, conversations, time alone

          that allowed me to connect to another, to life,

                               to that which may be called Divine.


“Living our lives between the briefness of the daylight and the dark. Kindred in this, each lighted by the same precarious, flickering flame of life, how does it happen that we are not kindred in all things else?”          ~A Powell Davies


How do these words resonate with you?

What is important about the time of light? Shadow? Darkness?

How, who, and/or what has lit the flame of life in you?


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 176 (CD We will sing for them /TK17)

“Come Together in Love”

words by Dorothy Grover


O come together in truth;

O come together in peace;

O come together in joy and sharing,

come together in knowing and caring;

come together,

O come together,

O come together in love.


We come together in search

of new beginnings for all,

where understanding and trust surround us —

gone the hate and fear that bound us;

come together,

O come together,

O come together in love.




Let There Be Peace on Earth

words by Sy Miller & Jill Jackson-Miller

(Jill in1986 approved a more inclusive language version- printed here.)


Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me;

Let there be peace on earth, the peace that was meant to be.

With God, our creator, children all are we.

Let us walk with each other in perfect harmony.

Let peace begin with me, let this be the moment now.

With every step I take, let this be my solemn vow;

To take each moment and live each moment in peace eternally.

Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.


Peace: A Haiku

by John Carter


I know myself, I

choose to act contrary to

my violent nature.




There are many ways we can explore the season of Advent, one is though the recounting of the various stories within the bible, such as the patriarchs, the prophets and such, the way we will be following is through the virtues and values expressed during this season, Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love….


Today we light a candle of peace…


“If there is to be peace in the world,

There must be peace in the nations.

If there is to be peace in the nations,

There must be peace in the cities.

If there is to be peace in the cities,

There must be peace between neighbours.

If there is to be peace between neighbours,

There must be peace in the home.

If there is to be peace in the home,

There must be peace in the heart.”


― Lao-tse


Light the candle…



HFL 280 (CD-HFL3 / TK24)

“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!




This evening is the last evening of Hanukkah which commemorates the miracle of the temple light, one days worth of oil burning for eight, in lighting this candle we remember and we join our voices in the eternal hopeful cry for equity and for just relationships.


Light the candle.



O Oriens

words by Malcolm Guite


First light and then first lines along the east

To touch and brush a sheen of light on water,

As though behind the sky itself they traced

The shift and shimmer of another river

Flowing unbidden from its hidden source;

The Day-Spring, the eternal Prima Vera.

Blake saw it too. Dante and Beatrice

Are bathing in it now, away upstream…..

So every trace of light begins a grace

In me, a beckoning. The smallest gleam

Is somehow a beginning and a calling:

‘Sleeper awake, the darkness was a dream

          For you will see the Dayspring at your waking,

          Beyond your long last line the dawn is breaking.’


The Power of Light

A Hanukkah Story

by Isaac Bashevis Singer


          During World War II, after the Nazis had bombed and burned the Warsaw ghetto, a boy; David, who was 14 years old and a girl; Rebecca, age 13, were hiding in one of the ruins.


          It was winter and bitter cold outside. For weeks Rebecca had not left the dark, partially collapse cellar that was their hiding place, but every few days David would go out to search for food. All the stores had been destroyed in the bombing, and sometimes He would find stale bread, cans of food or whatever else had been buried. To do this he would make his way through the ruins. This was dangerous as sometimes the bricks and mortar would fall down, or he could lose his way. But if he and Rebecca did not want to die of hunger, he knew that he must take this risk


          On this day, which was one of the coldest. Rebecca sat on the ground wrapped in all the garments she possessed: still, she could not get warm. David had left many hours before, and Rebeccas listened in the darkness for the sound of his return, knowing that if he did not come back nothing remained to her butch death.


          Suddenly she heard heavy breathing and the sound of a bundle being dropped.


          “David!?” She cried out. To hear a familiar voice reply… “Rebecca! Rebecca come and look I have found a treasure!”


          She rushed to David and in the darkness they embraced each other…


          “What kind of treasure?” She asked..


          “Cheese, potatoes, dried mushrooms, and a package of candy….” he replied before slyly adding…”and I have another surprise for you.”


          “What surprise?”




          As they were too hungry for a long talk, they ravenously ate the frozen potatoes, mushrooms and a part of the cheese. As a treat they both had a piece of candy.


          Then Rebecca asked, “What is it now, day or night?”


          “I think night has fallen,” David replied. He had a wristwatch and kept track of day and night, days of the week and the months.


          After sitting quietly together, Rebecca asked again, “What is the surprise?”


          “Rebecca, today is the first day of Hanukkah, and I have found a candle and some matches.”


          “Oh, my….Hanukkah tonight…”


          David took out a match and struck it and there was light. They then stared at their hiding place…. the bricks, pipes and the uneven ground.. he then lit the candle. Rebecca blinked her eyes….


          For the first time in weeks she really saw David. His hair was matted and his face was streaked with dirt, but his eyes shone with joy. In spite of the starvation and persecution David had grown taller, and he seemed older than his age and now more of a man than boy.


          David then pronounced the blessing over the Hanukkah candle, and she said Amen.


Both had lost their families, and they had good reason to be angry with G_D for these afflictions, but in the light of the candle they found peace in their souls. That glimmer of light, surrounded by so many shadow, seemed to say without words: Evil has not yet taken complete dominion. A spark of hope is still left.


          That night, as the Hanukkah burned away, they decided to leave and either meet death at the hands of the nazis or find freedom. For a week they made their way to the resistance, where they were welcomed and then they found help to get out Nazi occupied territory and to make their way to Palestine where they found relatives who accepted them with open arms.


          When Rebecca turned 18, she and David were married, settling down in Tel Aviv, he and Engineer, She a teacher of language and literature.


          Our narrator ends this story with these words….


          I know all this because around 8 years after they married David and Rebecca told be their story on a Hanukkah evening in their home. As Rebecca was frying the latkes, the potato pancakes, she said to me.. “If it had not been for that little candle David brought to our hiding place, we wouldn’t be sitting here today. That glimmer of light awakened in us a hope and strength we didn’t know we possessed.”



1866? Letter to Jeanne Carr  

by John Muir


“The rarest and most beautiful of the flowering plants I discovered on this first grand excursion was Calypso borealis (the hider of  the North).


I had been fording streams more and more difficult to cross and wading bogs and swamps that seemed more and more extensive and more difficult to force one’s way through.


Entering one of these great tamarac and arbor-vitae swamps one morning, holding a general though very crooked course by compass, struggling through tangled drooping branches and over and under broad heaps of fallen trees, I began to fear that l would not be able to reach dry ground before dark. . . . 


But when the sun was getting low and everything seemed most bewildering and discouraging, I found beautiful Calypso on the mossy bank of a stream, growing not in the ground but on a bed of yellow mosses in which its small white bulb had found a soft nest and from which its one leaf and one flower sprung. The flower was white and made the impression of the utmost simple purity like a snowflower. No other bloom was near it, for the bog a short distance below the surface was still frozen, and the water was ice cold.


It seemed the most Spiritual of all the flower people I had ever met.


I sat down beside it and fairly cried for joy,  It seems wonderful that so frail and lowly a plant has such power over human hearts… How long I sat beside Calypso I don t know. Hunger and weariness vanished, and only after the sun was low in the west I plashed on through the swamp, strong and exhilarated as if never more to feel any mortal care.”


“Like Whitman”

poem by William Stafford, from Another World Instead


If any time was used preparing


No preparing is wasted.

No preparing at all is wasted.


I am meeting you wherever you are.

I am on my way.


Do not let the distance and the time

          of that way influence you.


I am coming toward you.


Do you know anything of the breakers?

          (Whatever the wind, the rocks, the wilderness)


Do you know those cold barriers of the world and of people?

          (Whatever holds back, outside and inside)


Do you realise no preparation is ever wasted?

          (I am coming toward you).



“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.




This time of year has always had its problematic sides for me. I would go into a bit of a blue period, being more introspective, some might say grumpy. In some places it may be argued this is due to the darkening of the days, and a need for sunlight. I have often view it as a natural rhythm of my life.


Part of the gift having a birthday during this time of year, followed by the Christmas and New Year and all the things these days represent. I have naturally (for myself) reflected on these things. New Year was not just a calendar date, it was my personal beginning another trip around the sun.


The themes of the various celebrations of this time then move my reflections to how I have lived my life, and how I hope to live this next year. To focus on what is important  to my life and living, as well as to what can I do to make these happen.



“Living our lives between the briefness of the daylight and the dark. Kindred in this, each are lighted by the same precarious, flickering flame of life, how does it happen that we are not kindred in all things else?”          ~A Powell Davies


Have today’s readings resonated with you? Or have some repelled you?

In what ways?

What is important about the time of light? Shadow? Darkness?

How, who, and/or what has lit the flame of life in you?



This prayer is from another non-creedal Christian tradition, The Church of the Brethren, also known as Dunkard Brethren, German Baptist Brethren, or Schwarzenau Brethren.


An Advent Prayer, words by Don Shank, adapted by John Carter


Gracious God,

We are surrounded by the signs of Christmas:

Christmas trees, Christmas lights, Christmas gifts, Christmas music.


These things can add to our time of wonder and preparation,

or they can detract us from the One whose birth we remember this season.


Enable us, O God, to see not only the outward signs of Christmas, but also the inward signs you would send to each of us durning these days of wonder, of preparation, of Advent.


We pray this in the name of the one whose birth we celebrate.




SYF 79 (CD3 / TK13)

“In this time on earth we’re given”

words by A. Bronwen Taylor


In this time on earth we’re given each to have a life to live.

May we make it nearer heaven by our deeds and what we give.

May we see that acts of kindness, gifts of love that never cease

help the world cast off its blindness, bring to all the hope of peace.


By God’s hand we were created of the greater plan a part.

Long overdue the world has waited for the human hand and heart.

Suffering we’ll try to vanquish. From our hearts all malice take.

Gladness, joy instead of anguish, harmony, not discord, make.




An Advent Blessing

words by Richard Becher, adapted by John Carter


Follow, my friends, follow…

          where the Spirit of Hope leads you!


Listen, my friends, listen…

          as the Voice of Peace cries out for you!


Rejoice, my friends, simply rejoice….

          for the Love of God embraces you!


Go now….

Go with the blessings of Hope, Peace, and Love in your heart..

Go in the blessings of Life, in the blessings of God.



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