Unitarian Sunday Reflections

(Hull and Lincoln Unitarians)

05 June 2022


Lincoln Service ~ 11 am

Hull Service ~ 4 pm

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“Dancing without Rules”

Hymns, Reflections, and Readings

On Pentecost


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”




Three Things to Remember

As long as youre dancing, you can
break the rules.
Sometimes breaking the rules is just
extending the rules.

Sometimes there are no rules.”


~ Mary Oliver




words by John Carter


We light our chalice, this candle,

          as a sign of connectedness….

                     of a beloved faith community,

                               reaching beyond our boundaries…

                                         learning with others what the human spirit can do and be…




We take a moment to reflect on our life and living of this week… as we reflect…. explore and ask of yourself….

          For what am I most grateful?

          For what am I least grateful?

          When did I have the greatest sense of belonging to myself, others, nature, the                     universe, God?


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.



1st Hymn

SYF 165 (CD4 / TK18) (BOTH)

“The Spirit lives to set us free”


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.


Introduction to the Theme

Today is Pentecost Sunday, for some traditions it is important, others not so much so.


The tradition I was a part of in the US, this Sunday and week would be when they had their annual meetings, the old order within that tradition still do. The congregation that I was a part of in Chicago would host a hymn sing on the day. When sister congregations and others would join us.


The themes often evoked for today, are about inspiration, joy, community, beauty, and the sense of personal connection to something that is greater than narrow self interest.



Pentecost: introduction


Take Our Moments and Our Days: An Anabaptist Prayer Book v.2

Herald Press, 2010


Pentecost is the Greek name given to the Jewish Feast of Weeks; it was celebrated fifty days after Passover and was initially the festival at which the first-fruits of the grain harvest were presented. Later, Pentecost also commemorated the giving of the Law at Sinai.


In Christian celebrations of Pentecost they mark the birth of the church fifty days after Jesus’ resurrection. According to Acts 2.1, Jesus’ followers were in Jerusalem when the day of Pentecost came. On that occasion, the Spirit descended on those gathered, empowering them to be Jesus’ witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.


As incarnation was wrought of God’s grace and Mary’s courage, so Pentecost is a unique partnership of divine and human energy, as the realm of God continues through the determined work of the disciples, then and now, going forth throughout the whole cosmos.


“Unity and Diversity in Harmony”

by Brian D. McLaren, Seeking Aliveness, Hodder & Stoughton, 2017



On the day of Pentecost, according to the author of Acts, the disciples experienced the Spirit as ‘a mighty rushing wind’ and fire. Suddenly, the Spirit-filled disciples began speaking in languages they had never learned. This strange sign is full of significance. The Spirit of God, it tells us, is multilingual. The Spirit isn’t restricted to one elite language or one superior culture, as almost everyone had assumed with their nationalistic notions of God and religion. Instead, the Spirit speaks to everyone everywhere in their own native tongue.


What happened at Pentecost reverses the ancient story of the Tower of Babel, when ambitious Babylonians grasped at god-like power by unifying everyone under one imperial language and culture. At Babel, God opposed that imperial uniformity and voted for diversity by multiplying languages. Now, in the Pentecost story, we discover a third option: not unity without diversity, and not diversity without unity, but unity and diversity in harmony.


The Great Unsaying

by Richard Rohr

from the book “The Naked Now”


“Do not utter the name of God in vain.”

                               – Exodus 20:7


I cannot emphasise enough the momentous importance of the Jewish revelation of the name of God.  It puts the entire nature of our spirituality in correct context and, if it had been followed, could have freed us from much idolatry and arrogance.  As we now spell and pronounce it, the word is Yahweh.  For those speaking Hebrew, it was the Sacred Tetra-gram-maton YHVH (yod, he, vav, he).  It was considered a literally unspeakable word for Jews, and any attempt to know what we were talking about was considered “in vain,” as the commandment taught.


Instead, they used Elohim and Adonai in speaking or writing.  In this way the divine identity was kept mysterious and unavailable to the mind; when Moses asked for the divinity’s name, he got only the phrase that translates something to this effect: “I am who am.’


This un-speak-ability has long been recognised, but we now know it goes even deeper: formally the word was not spoken at all, but breathed!  Many are convinced that its correct pronunciation is an attempt to replicate and imitate the very sound of inhalation and exhalation.  The one thing we do every moment of our lives is therefore to speak the name of God.  This makes it our first and our last word as we enter and leave the world.


There is no Islamic, Christian, or Jewish way of breathing.  There is no American, African or Asian way of breathing.  There is no rich or poor way of breathing.  The playing field is utterly levelled.  The air of the earth is one and the same air, and this divine wind ‘blows where it will’ which appears to be everywhere.  No one and no religion can control this spirit.


When considered in this way, God is suddenly as available and accessible as the very thing we all do constantly – breathe.


2nd Hymn


“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.




SYF 136 (HULL)

“Praise the source”

words by Thomas Troeger



Praise the source of faith and learning that has sparked and stoked the mind with a passion for discerning how the world has been designed.

Let the sense of wonder flowing from the wonders we survey keep our faith forever growing and renew our need to pray.


Source of wisdom, we acknowledge that our science and our art and the breadth of human knowledge only partial truth impart.

Far beyond our calculation lies a depth we cannot sound where the purpose for the creation and the pulse of life are found.


May our faith redeem the blunder of believing that our thought has displaced the grounds for wonder which the ancient prophets taught.

May our learning curb the error which unkinking faith can breed lest we justify some terror with an antiquated creed.


Praise for minds to probe the heavens, praise for strength to breathe the air, praise for all that beauty leavens, praise for silence, music, and prayer,

praise for justice and compassion and for strangers, neighbours, friends, praise for hearts and lips to fashion praise for love that never ends.




by Malcolm Guite


Today we feel the wind beneath our wings,

Today the hidden fountain flows and plays,

Today the church draws breath at last and sings,

As every flame of Fire, Air, and Water,

Poured out and breathed and kindled into Earth,

The Earth herself awakens to her maker,

Translated out of death and into birth.

The right words come today in their right order

And every word spells freedom and release.

Today the gospel crosses every border,

All tongues are loosened by the Prince of Peace.

Today the lost are found in his translation,

Whose mother-tongue is love, in every nation.


“Echoes of Eckhart”

(a theopoetic exploration of the teachings, sermons, prayers by Meister Eckhart)

by Richard Skinner


How does the Pilgrim


With God?


By meditation




By ecstasies




Or by the fireside


In the stable?




Pilgrim gazes

At the grate


Where fire gives birth to fire

In the logs


Until the logs themselves

Are one with the fire


Pilgrim picks up

The poker


And pokes

The fire




Putting a log on the fire

Pilgrim marvels

As a flurry of sparks

Flies up

Each spark

Is of the fire

And the fire

Is in each spark.


Special music (HULL)




by Rosemary Wahtola Trommer


Hope has holes

in its pockets.

It leaves little

crumb trails

so that we,

when anxious,

can follow it.

Hope’s secret:

it doesn’t know

the destination—

it knows only

that all roads

begin with one

foot in front

of the other.


the spirit walks in

by lucille clifton


the spirit walks in

through the door

of the flesh’s house


the rooms leading off

from the hall

burn with colour


the spirit feels

the door behind her close


and the sinister hall

is thick with the one word



the poet walks

in through the door

of the scholar’s house


the rooms leading off

from the hall

buzz with language


the poet

feels the door

behind her close


and the sinister hall

is dark with the one word



“A Gift”

by Denise Levertov


Just when

you seem to yourself

nothing but a flimsy web of questions,


you are given

the questions of others to hold

in the emptiness of your hands,


songbird eggs that can still hatch

if you keep them warm,


butterflies opening and closing themselves

in your cupped palms,

trusting you not to injure

their scintillant fur, their dust.


You are given

the questions of others

as if they were answers to all you ask.


perhaps this gift is your answer.


3rd Hymn


“Find a stillness”

words by Carl G. Seaburg, based on a Transylvanian Unitarian Text


Find a stillness, hold a stillness, let the stillness carry me.

Find the silence, hold the silence, let the silence carry me.

In the spirit, by the spirit, with the spirit giving power,

I will find true harmony.


Seek the essence, hold the essence, let the essence carry me.

Let me flower, help me flower, watch me flower, carry me.

In the spirit, by the spirit, with the spirit giving power,

I will find true harmony.





“I am that great and fiery force”

based on words by Hildegard of Bingen


I am that great and fiery force sparkling in everything that lives,

in shining of the river’s course, in greening grass that glory gives.


I shine in glitter on the seas, in burning sun, in moon and stars.

In unseen wind, in verdant trees I breathe within, both near and far.


And where I breathe there is no death, and meadows glow with beauties rife.

I am in all the spirit’s breath, the thundered word, for I am Life.



“Time for Serenity, Anyone?”

by William Stafford


I like to live in the sound of water,

in the feel of mountain air. A sharp

reminder hits me: this world still is alive;

it stretches out there shivering toward its own

creation, and I’m part of it. Even my breathing

enters into the elaborate give-and-take,

this bowing to sun and moon, day or night,

winter, summer, storm, still—this tranquil

chaos that seems to be going somewhere.

This wilderness with a great peacefulness in it.

This motionless turmoil, this everything dance.


“The Healing Time”

by Persha Gertler


Finally on my way to yes

I bump into

all the places

where I said no

to my life

all the untended wounds

the red and purple scars

those hieroglyphs of pain

carved into my skin, my bones,

those coded messages

that send me down

the wrong street

again and again

where I find them

the old wounds

the old misdirections

and I lift them

one by one

close to my heart

and I say holy



“Hallelujah, Amen”

by by Dave Barnes, Lucie Silvas and Jeremy Spillman.

Preformed by Reba McEntire, Sing It Now: Songs of Faith and Hope: album released 2016.


It’s a Sunday mornin’, choir just a little off key

First kiss wasn’t what you’d thought it be

The call you got that you thought could only be a bad dream

Your only child leavin’ home when they turn eighteen

Breakin’ up ends up bein’ the best thing

When you realise what you wanted, what you need


Hallelujah for the heartache

Hallelujah for the good days

Hallelujah for every breath we get

Hallelujah, Amen


It’s a Saturday night you never want to end

It’s a broken heart you never got to mend

It’s the words that you heard that you can’t un-hear again

It’s the way you didn’t know was the last goodbye

When you learn everything has a last time

The same mistakes that you made you see in your little girl’s eyes


Hallelujah for the heartache

Hallelujah for the good days

Hallelujah for every breath we get

Hallelujah, Amen


For the times we get

For the chance we don’t

From the very first breath

Till it’s carved in stone


Hallelujah for the heartache

Hallelujah for the good days

Hallelujah for every breath we get

Hallelujah, Amen

(Hallelujah… hallelujah… hallelujah)

Hallelujah for every breath we get

Hallelujah, Amen

(Hallelujah… hallelujah… hallelujah)


(Hallelujah… hallelujah…)



4th Hymn


“Stillness, creeping through this place”

words by Andrew McKean Hill


Stillness, creeping through this place, softly come and gently hold us; here, apart from urban race your quiet calmness be among us.

May we rest within your calmness; rest beside you, quiet stillness.


Silence, spreading all around, quietly seeping in between us; here, away from city sound with your peacefulness enfold us.

May we feel  and trust your presence, know your peace, deep healing silence.


Spirit, moving through this space, weaving in and out among us; here, your pattern brings new grace, with your breathing, life endow us.

May we your first breath inherit, feel your breathing, primal spirit.




SYF 214 (HULL)

“Where shall I find that power”

by Peter Galbraith



Where shall I find that pow’r which makes the planets move, and can I, in this hour, discover perfect love?

Though I am in perplexity, may I discern infinity, and, thought the glass be dark, of light see just one spark.


Where shall I find that peace which intellect exceeds, and can I, in this place, find what my spirit needs?

Though filled with fears I cannot quell, may I escape my private hell, and, though I cannot move, be rescued by a dove?


Where shall I find that home which calls me every day, and can I, ‘twixt the womb and death, find out the way?

And though I, frantic, look around, ‘midst clamour and despairing sound, beneath that awful noise I hear a still small voice.


What says this voice, now clear, which I have long ignored? Can I begin to hear the wordless speech of God?

Vain chatter will I lay aside, no longer filled with boundless pride: the voice of God shall be power, peace and home to me.



A Short Reflection on Pentecost

“Breaking Down of our walls of Division”


For a lad who grew up with Pentecostal family…..


This is a funny church day, in fact I don’t recall hearing it spoken of on this liturgical date, and actually don’t recall that many sermons about the ACTS text. Save the times it was trotted out as proof text for their belief.


Much of my positive feelings for the tradition is what I learned watching my Mother and my Grandmother. Their daily faith, and life.


Especially where they too didn’t live up to the doctrine of their church.


From them I learned that the ideal of the Spirit was not wild chaotic enthusiasm but could be subtle, purposeful, passionate direction in life.


For them, the spirit was that which called them to greater purpose in life, to being open to hear new truth, to recognise that one pattern of faith didn’t fit all.


My mother would, when I was older, speak about how worshiping with the Mennonites taught her that you could commune with the spirit in quiet, still, simple worship.


My gran was a matriarch of her congregation, not because she demanded it, but because of her faithful attendance. As a teen when we lived at the same address, I was often pointed to the example my gran’s great faith by members of her congregation. Even though I knew that they would reject her because she didn’t live up to some of their cherished beliefs.


Gran would often say to me of how she prayed constantly for some manifestation of the spirit’s presence and how a woman, who was from the wrong side of town, would exhibit this daily, and how she found peace when she learned that God was no respecter of persons,  the spirit gave regardless of rank, status, or wealth.


This insight she had, while not always as altruistic as one would like, did show a glimpse into what this church day can and needs to remind us of….


Pentecost is not some nice birthday celebration. Nor is it a way to liturgically sum up Jesus’ life, but a breaking through our narrow pre conceptions of what faith and life can be….


It is not the ideal of some kind of uniform unity, nor is it the ideal of imperialistic power, one person, or group, or culture above all others. Pentecost is about the divine ideal being seen in the way diverse people converse and live together in Shalom, that is wholistic peace and justice, in compassion, in care of the other and of creation.


Or to put it into one of the metaphors running through today’s readings and hymns… Pentecost, or the life of the spirit, isn’t just a wild exuberant dance, it is also the tightly controlled passion of an Argentine tango. Subtle, graceful, and a little scary…




Special meditative music



“In this quiet place, O God, help us to find quiet for our souls.

For we need quietness.

Shouting and tumult are always about us, and the noise of the world never dies down.

Even in the night time when we seek rest, the voices of the day go on.

Still in Thy presence, there is quietness.

O God,

May we find Thy presence now!




Help us, O God, to make room for thought that ennobles,

and to turn our self-love into a love that goes out to others, and to feel the flow of sympathy.


If we build about ourselves walls of defence to keep the world out,

show us how our fortress has become a prison,

and how, in trying to save our lives, we have largely lost them.


Make us in these moments a true part of all humankind,

sharing its hope,

suffering its miseries,

striving for the better way.

Set free within us the warmth of friendliness,

the love of the gentle and the good.


And the prayers that we do not want to pray,

because they would commit us to hard tasks or require that we forsake our selfishness,

help us to pray them.

Yea, O God, more than all others,

let these be the prayers that we pray.”






Final Hymn


“Let it be a dance we do”

by Ric Masten


          Let it be a dance we do, May I have this dance with you?

          Through the good times and the bad times, too,

          Let it be a dance.


Let a dancing song be heard. Play the music, say the words,

and fill the sky with sailing birds. Let it be a dance.

Let it be a dance. Let it be a dance. —

Learn to follow, learn to lead, feel the rhythm, fill the need

to reap the harvest, plant the seed, Let it be a dance.


          Let it be a dance we do, May I have this dance with you?

          Through the good times and the bad times, too,

          Let it be a dance.


Everybody turn and spin, let your body learn to bend,

and like a willow in the wind, Let it be a dance.

Let it be a dance. Let it be a dance. —

A child is born, the old must die, a time for you,

a time to cry, take it as it passes by. Let it be a dance.


          Let it be a dance we do, May I have this dance with you?

          Through the good times and the bad times, too,

          Let it be a dance.


Morning star comes out at night, without the dark there is no light,

if nothing’s wrong then nothing’s right, Let it be a dance.

Let it be a dance. Let it be a dance. —

Let the sunshine, let is rain, share the laughter, bear the pain,

and round and round we go again. Let it be a dance




Love Is Our Spirit

By Eric Williams


Love is the Spirit of this congregation.
May the songs we sing celebrate this Love.
May the lives we lead embody this Spirit.
May we walk in peace.

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