Unitarian Sunday Reflections

(Hull and Lincoln Unitarians)

06 March 2022


Service Theme

“A Lenten Call”


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”




If sin is selfishness,

salvation must be a change which turns a man from self to God and humanity”

~ Walter Rauschenbusch


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.





“A core of silence”

words by Jim Reilly


A core of silence breathes beyond all words, or else the words have little worth: to ‘heart’ or ‘soul’ or ‘spirit’ it comes forth (the words we name them matter not).


And half the music lies within the pause between the arches of the heart; the prince upon the page means less than ink unless the white and black both speak.


The ‘true religion’ gathers up its text: ‘In the beginning was the Word.’

But I seek quietness behind that start and name it nothing, much less ‘God.’



“A Note on Lent”

from Common Prayer: A Liturgy For Ordinary Radicals


This is something you may already know….


Lent is the forty-day season of reflection and preparation for the death and resurrection of Jesus. It is a time of repentance, of considering Jesus’ sufferings and rethinking how we are called to take up our own crosses. Some of us give up things like chocolate or television during this season as a sort of fasting, and others try to integrate something new into their lives, like visiting folks in prison, sewing clothes, exercising, or praying. It is a good season to rethink how we live and to let somethings go, or maybe even to develop some new holy habits.



Deuteronomy 26:1–11 (NRSV)


When you have come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance to possess, and you possess it, and settle in it, you shall take some of the first of all the fruit of the ground, which you harvest from the land that the Lord your God is giving you, and you shall put it in a basket and go to the place that the Lord your God will choose as a dwelling for his name.


You shall go to the priest who is in office at that time, and say to him,


‘Today I declare to the Lord your God that I have come into the land that the Lord swore to our ancestors to give us.’


When the priest takes the basket from your hand and sets it down before the altar of the Lord your God, you shall make this response before the Lord your God:


‘A wandering refugee (Aramean) was my ancestor; he went down into Egypt and lived there as an alien, few in number, and there he became a great nation, mighty and populous. When the Egyptians treated us harshly and afflicted us, by imposing hard labour on us, we cried to the Lord, the God of our ancestors; the Lord heard our voice and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression. The Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with a terrifying display of power, and with signs and wonders; and he brought us into this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey. So now I bring the first of the fruit of the ground that you, O Lord, have given me.’


You shall set it down before the Lord your God and bow down before the Lord your God.


Then you, together with the Levites and the aliens who reside among you, shall celebrate with all the bounty that the Lord your God has given to you and to your house.


Deuteronomy 26:1–11: a commentary

by Allen, Ronald J..

 Preaching God’s Transforming Justice (Lectionary Commentary)


This passage from Deuteronomy consists of a set of instructions for celebrating the blessings God has granted to the Israelite community. As the foundation for this celebration, the community is asked to remember its previous life of slavery and oppression, “when the Egyptians treated us harshly and afflicted us, by imposing hard labor on us” (v. 6). Such remembrance is precisely the tool for creating an attitude of perpetual thanksgiving. Gratitude prevents the complacency that would allow the community to take credit for its freedom and to say, “Look what we accomplished for ourselves!” The community’s very identity is wrapped up in remembering enslavement and liberation. Remembering where we have been and where we might continue to be without God’s mercy and justice is an important lesson for the contemporary faith community. We celebrate God’s loving and faithful provision with those who cry out for justice, widows, orphans, refugees and strangers. So they are not simply objects of charity; they are integral to the community itself. Therein we recognise that all is God’s, not ours, and thus we are called to give from what we have been given.


This passage raises many challenges and implications for social justice for the contemporary church. What is our role in caring for those who have little or nothing? How do we tithe, and how do our financial priorities demonstrate our deepest cares and concerns? How might we reassess our family budgets and church budgets in the service of God through service to those in need? How do we welcome and love the immigrant, the orphan, and the widow in our midst? How do we include others so that they are not simply objects of our charitable feelings and duties? How does remembrance of our own suffering and liberation lead us to have compassion for others and to work toward justice for all?



SYF 131 (CD3 / TK16)

“Out of the depths I call to you”

words by Norbert Capek


Out of the depths I call to you;

God give me power today.

In this dark time let me be true,

Till storms have blown away.


From everything and everyone,

From all life left alone;

Alone, despairing, faith undone,

My heart has turned to stone.


Beside me only you remain,

My comforter and friend;

Your faithfulness my heart sustains,

“I know this night will end!”


The struggle of my life and pain

Fade in the cosmic scheme:

A glimmer in a drop of rain,

Lost in the battle’s dream.


Again, I come to pray in haste,

O God, thanks be to thee;

May all who suffer find your grace,

And may I faithful be.



“You Are Good Enough”

by Chris Kratzer, Stupid Sh*t Heard in Church


Here’s a message you probably won’t hear at church this morning—

You are good enough.


One of the most destructive crimes of modern Christianity is luring people into a never-ending quest to discover and live some kind of Divine “purpose for their life.


Countless, well-intentional people have spent gobs of time, energy, money, and anxiety, trying to wrestle down and conquer a supposed Divine purpose for their living.


Is this what God wants me to do?


What is the ‘big’ thing He has for my life?


What if I miss it all together?


Spiritual gifts assessments, conference, books, and hundreds of worship services later they still are’t sure.


Instead, pretending they are happy and fulfilled, they live with one eye open at the haunting thought that they may have missed the perfect will of God.


Now, wrapped in a new shiny package, people are told to pursue a quest to live ‘your best life’ and to be the ‘best version of you.’


What the hell is that but another selfish pursuit, disguised as spirituality?


Fuelled by the conclusion that you and your life aren’t good enough, your best isn’t good enough, and you’re only living your best life when you have attained some level of ‘best’ that is currently beyond you. You, as you, and as you are isn’t good enough. You need ‘better’ to be at your best and to live your best life.


Meanwhile, your best life is all around you but you’re missing it. For the best is always the enemy of the good. Good life, good people, good self-love, good moments, and all good thing. You’ve lost sight of the divine beauty of goodness in pursuit of a ‘best life’ that never come.


God created you to enjoy life while doing what you love to do, in ways that honour Grace. There is no perfect will, big thing, or best life.


You are God’s perfect will, big thing, and best life. As is, who you are, and whenever you are..

Trying to find and live some kind of divine purpose for your life will only rob you of life’s true meaning and joy.


Trying to live some kind of best life will only keep you from seeing and living the best of life.


You are good enough. Your life is good enough.


There is no Divine purpose. There is no best life.


You are Divine purpose.


You are your best life.




Grace is brave. Be brave.



SYF 147 (CD SYF 1/ TK 22)

“Spirit of earth, root, stone and tree”

words by Lyanne Mitchell


Spirit of earth, root, stone and tree,

water of life, flowing in me,

keeping me stable, nourishing me, 

O fill me with living energy!


                     Spirit of nature, healing and free,

                     Spirit of love, expanding in me,

                     Spirit of life, breathe deeply in me,

                     inspire me with living energy!


Spirit of love, softly draw near,

open my heart, lessen my fear,

sing of compassion, help me to hear,

O fill me with loving energy!


                     Spirit of nature, healing and free,

                     Spirit of love, expanding in me,

                     Spirit of life, breathe deeply in me,

                     inspire me with living energy!


Spirit of life, you are my song,

sing in my soul, all my life long,

gladden and guide me, keep me from wrong,

O fill me with sacred energy!


                     Spirit of nature, healing and free,

                     Spirit of love, expanding in me,

                     Spirit of life, breathe deeply in me,

                     inspire me with living energy!





How do you approach this season of Lent?

What activities do you do during Lent?

Or is it as simple a ah yes it’s time to plan my easter holiday?



“Life of Change”


Again I come to what seems to be my annual way of approaching the season of Lent. Fun fact is that Lent simply is an shorten form of the old English word for spring, spring season, in German similar form means to lengthen, as in the lengthen of daylight.


The forty days come from the latin and or greek word, which I will not try to pronounce, is basic forty. This of course refers to Jesus’ time of testing in the wilderness. He goes in untried and comes back victorious (ew… too militaristic) or proven, ready to answer his call to service.


I have joked about my non high liturgical background before with this story… when I was in year 10 I was helping our class as we were gathering materials for year competitions between years 10, 11 and 12. We had met to do posters and walking back to school to decorate, I and a classmate met another classmate in the parking lot of the big Methodist Church in our town.


And they began a conversation…. “What are you doing for Lent?” And of course went through the various and yet similar things they were doing….should mention one was Catholic and the other Methodist, and me….I was at a loss. “Lint, isn’t that the stuff you find under your bed?”


Of course they laughed and explained and that was my first learning of this liturgical season. I came from a tradition that really didn’t do Lent, or when we did it was low key and usually around consideration and training for Church membership. The year before was when I choose to become a member of my Mennonite home congregation in Garden City Kansas, and it was during the lenten season that we had our membership classes, you might use the word catechism. Which then brought us to Palm Sunday evening service when we were welcomed into the beloved community. Because I had been baptised before, I was welcomed by affirmation and transfer of letter, the rest who were a couple of years younger than I via believers baptism by immersion.


Later in seminary, when we discussed Lent, that was the basic understanding for us, was this was the time we used to consider what it meant to follow Jesus. Ending with a public declaration by new members on Palm Sunday and by the whole body on Maunday Thursday when we gathered to wash one another’s feet in the great celebration called Love Feast.The tradition understood the washing of feet as a ritual of renewal of our baptismal vow to follow Jesus, to be like Jesus, to serve God’s beloved creation.


Lenten Practices are ones that assist us in how we faithfully live our life, our sense of God, our sense of spirituality, our sense of what it means to be human in our most life affirming ways.


Any practice we use during this time is one to move us to that sense.


We may give us something for forty days. As a side note I grew up with a sense if it is good to give up for these forty days, maybe it is good to give this up for life. Maybe this comes from observation at the time that much that given up were excesses and not a limitation of necessities. Like stopping smoking for 40 days was popular, whereas no meat for 40 days was often suggested. So we gave up a luxury instead of a necessity.


Some anthropologists have suggested that the fasting component might have grown out of the actual need of the northern European regions due to food storage, and harvest periods. That is that most of the we harvested in the summer and autumn and put into storage would be running low by the end of January early February and the first harvest zones would be a couple months away. The fast allowed or focused the people during time to a discipline of rationing and a greater chance of survival. The shrove Tuesday feast was the clearing out of the stocks of things that are going stall or rancid and something one really should not eat…. Like fat.


I find this type of explanation to be helpful. Because we often forget that many religious rituals have utilitarian reasons.


The Deuteronomy text read today is one example. It not just about tithing but about reminding, calling us back to who we were before our liberation from slavery. And this reminder is to call us to act in ways of compassion toward those who have less than us, especially in terms of what we could call political power.


Healthy connections to life, has both pleasant, as well as things that dwell inside our shadows. Both impulses are played out in how we approach our living. Things that we give up and things that we add to our lives can influence and control the way these things play out. Our focus then moves to what we want or choose to emphasise and do…


The question that each of us needs to ask, to approach and decide.


Lent invites us to explore our lives and living.


Will you join me?






SYF 215 (SYF CD3/TRACK 24)

“Where there is faith there is love”

Traditional Transylvanian words translated by Elizabeth H. Norton


Part One:

Hol hit Ott szeretet; hol szeretet ott beke.

Hol beke ott aldas; hol alias ott Isten.

Hol Isten ott szukseg nincsen.


Part Two:

Where there is faith there is love; where there is love there is peace.

Where there is peace there is blessing; where there is blessing is God.

Where there is God, there, there is no need.



I am not alone. There is a Love holding me.

By Heather Rion Starr


May I move gently through this cloudy, murky, gray day.

May I remember that this is just one day,
and that showing up is at least half of what is asked of me.

May I set aside my underlying anxiety that I will not get to everything
and put my trust and faith onto the riverbank of human community — we are working together.

I am not alone.


There is a Love holding me that is unconcerned with my day’s to-do list and more concerned with my spirit’s survival, even its thriving, in this beautiful, challenging world.


May we all remember that ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day,’ that our efforts are part of an ongoing stream of efforts, of lives being lived beside one another, shoring up this world.

May what little I do today be for the greater good.

May I be gentle with others today as I long for others to be gentle with me.

May it be so.



SYF 219 (CD SYF 4/TRACK 25)

“You are the song of my heart”

words by Kendyl Gibbons


You are the song of my heart in the morning; you are the dawn of truth in my soul; you are the dew of the rose’s adorning; you are the woven whole.


Yours is the grace to be steadfast in danger; yours is the peace that none can destroy; yours is the face of the need-riven stranger; yours are the wings of joy.


You are the deep to the deep in me calling; you are a lamp where my feet shall tread; your way is steep, past the peril of falling; you are my daily bread.


Yours be the praise of my spirit uplifted; you are the sea to each flowing stream; yours are the days that are gathered and sifted; you are the deathless dream.



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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