Unitarian Sunday Reflections

(Hull and Lincoln Unitarians)

Sunday 13 November 2022


Lincoln Service ~ 11 am

Led by John Pavey


Hull Service ~ 4 pm

Join Zoom Meeting



Meeting ID: 851 6409 5601

Passcode: 130597



“Remembering What?”


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”




Welcome to each and to all:

seekers, journeyers, questing, and content.

May our time of reflection and worship,

fill our desire for wholeness and belonging.

In this time together we are made worthy…..



“When we think of the past it’s the beautiful things we pick out. We want to believe it was all like that.”                                                                                                                    

~ Margaret Atwood



words by John Carter


We light our chalice, this candle,

          as a sign of connectedness….

                     as an avenue to remembrance….

                               a reminder of learning from the past…

                                         a call to look to today and another way of living…



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.




HFL 191

“To Worship Rightly”

words by John Greenleaf Whittier


Now let us sing in loving celebration:

The holier worship, which our God may bless,

Restores the lost, binds up the spirit broken,

And feeds the widowed and the parentless.

Fold to thy heart thy sister and thy brother;

Where pity dwells, the peace of God is there;

To worship rightly is to love each other;

Each smile a hymn, each kindly deed a prayer.


Follow with reverent steps the great example

Of those whose holy work was doing good:

So shall the wide earth seem our daily temple,

Each loving life a psalm of gratitude.

Then shall all shackles fall; the stormy clangour

Of wild war-music o’er the earth shall cease;

Love shall tread out the baleful fire the anger,

And in its ashes plant the tree of peace.




The Young Dead Soldiers

by Archibald MacLeish


The young dead soldiers do not speak.

          Nevertheless , they are heard in the still houses:

                               who has not heard them?


They have a silence that speaks for them at night and when the clock counts.

          They say: We were young. We have died. Remember us.

They say: We have done what we could but until it is finished it is not done.

          They say: We have given our lives but until it is finished

                                         no one can know what our lives gave.


They say: Our deaths are not our; they are yours; they will mean what you make them.


          They say: Whether our lives and our deaths were for peace and a new hope

                               or for nothing we cannot say; it is you who must say this.


They say: We leave you our deaths. Give them meaning.


          We were young, they say. We have died. Remember us.


Suicide In The Trenches

by Siegfried Sassoon


I knew a simple soldier boy

Who grinned at life in empty joy,

Slept soundly through the lonesome dark,

And whistled early with the lark.


In winter trenches, cowed and glum,

With crumps and lice and lack of rum,

He put a bullet through his brain.

No one spoke of him again.


You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye

Who cheer when soldier lads march by,

Sneak home and pray you’ll never know

The hell where youth and laughter go.



“Armistice Thoughts”

by Rabbi Lionel Blue, The Godseeker’s Guide, Continuum, 2010.


It was supposed to be the war to end all wars, but it wasn’t.


I studied this period of history at Oxford and still do not know why we went to war, how we won the war but lost the peace, and why another war, a worse war, had to be fought all over again.


Whose fault was that?


The politicians, the jingo press, the madness propaganda, the nationalism, or the tribalism that made us drunk?


Years later I asked a congregant, a refugee from Germany who had become British in the Nazi period, what he thought.


His face was iron.


“Rabbi Blue, if you had seen the children in Berlin with TB and rickets starving after the war, as I did, you would know how much love it would need to exorcise the bitterness. With all respect to your faith and calling, Rabbi, religion couldn’t provide it.


Every army in that terrible time was blessed by some religious establishment or other.


That is why I so rarely come to your services.”


After the First world war ended, the world became even madder.


Once again and to this day, every armer is blessed by some religious establishment or other — good, evil, and in-between.


Which is why I am cautious about religious structures around war and remembrance.


Three Poems

by William Stafford,

from his collection of poems Another World Instead


“A note on solemn war…” 17 August 1945

by William Stafford,

from his collection of poems Another World Instead


A note on solemn war:

          the charnel stench of all metals

          the tide of tears through every marching song

          the black scream blotted over the heads of orators

          behind the scenes, the sound of creaking, higher into hysteria

          the cold implacable murder in national anthems

          the strait-jacket badge of cruel insanity in uniforms

          the ferreting out and rewarding of childish aggression, bullying, vainglory,                                relentless hate


A note on solemn war:

          the charnel stench of all metals.


“On Attending a Militaristic Church Service” 8 September 1945

by William Stafford,

from his collection of poems Another World Instead


And there I sat on my swami

holding my nose in the pews,

under the nozzle of preaching

to be washed in the blood of the news.


“Nine Years Old” 24 September 1945

by William Stafford,

from his collection of poems Another World Instead


Violence lowered its lids of silence;

with priority, hate was sedate —

          it brought worth,


          and in all the rooms first place:

And Right was in the powerful arms of the

          grownup human race.


Mr. Before the name meant something might happen.

And Miss meant something never had.

And Mrs. meant something always did.


And all of our land was permanently occupied

          by an army of grownup Pattons;

and the defeated were the seen and not heard —

          the well-behaved little kids.



“The Vision of a World set Free”

words by Ernest Dodgshun


One faith and hope undying

Henceforth we make our own,

The vision of a world set free

When war shall be o’erthrown;

When love and law shall vanquish

The sovereignty of strife,

And found, by human fellowship,

A commonwealth of life.


The curse of war has darkened

The way that we have trod,

Has mocked the hopes of human weal

And scorned the love of God;

Yet to the restless nations

That love is speaking still,

And bids us build in all the earth

An empire of goodwill.


Now to the listening peoples

Come tidings of release,

As on the wings of hope are borne

The prophecies of peace;

Love’s day at last is dawning,

When covenant and law

Shall bring to peace her victories

More proud than those of war.


O thou whose love embraces

All folk beneath the sun,

May peace disarm our hearts of fear

And bind us all in one:

The peace allied with courage,

A flame against all wrong,

By truth and honour glorified,

By righteousness made strong.



“Call to Serve, midst a Moment of Crisis”

by Joseph Evans, from Preaching God’s Transforming Justice


For those of us who came to maturity during the 1960s civil rights and post civil rights eras, it may come as a surprise to hear an account told by Taylor Branch about the authentic American global prophet, Martin Luther King, Jr.


I refer to this story as King’s “kitchen table religion.”


After receiving a series of threatening phone calls, King was deeply disturbed and unsettled about his role in the Civil Rights Movement, in particular, his involvement in the Montgomery boycott. According to Branch, “King buried his face in his hands at the kitchen table. He admitted to himself that he was afraid, that he had nothing left, that the people would falter if they looked to him for strength.”


During this time, King experience something that he could only describe as the first transcendent religious experience in his life.  According to Branch, for King, “The moment lacked the splendour of a vision or of a voice speaking out loud,” but “the moment awakened and it confirmed his belief that the essence of religion was not a grand metaphysical idea but something personal, grounded in experience – something that opened up mysteriously beyond the predicaments of human beings in their frailest and noblest moment.”


Inherent in these crisis moments are calls to serve. The call to serve is a prominent theme in many of the texts about Jesus. These suggest that religion is an outward response to God’s spiritual call to discipleship. I define discipleship as receiving a call from God (which is often abstract and mysterious) and then serving in some form of vocation wherever and however this leads us.


They Are With Us Still

by Kathleen McTigue


In the struggles we choose for ourselves,

In the ways we move forward in our lives and our world forward with us,

          It is right to remember the names of those

          who gave us strength in this choice of living.

          It is right to name the power of hard lives well-lived.

We share a history with those lives.

We belong to the same motion.

          They too were strengthened by what had gone before.

          They too were drawn on by the vision of what might come to be.

Those who lived before us, who struggled for justice and suffered injustice before us,

have not melted into the dust, and have not disappeared.

          They are with us still.

          The lives they lived hold us steady.

Their words remind us and call us back to ourselves.

Their courage and love evoke our own.


We, the living, carry them with us: we are their voices, their hands and their hearts.

          We take them with us, and with them choose the deeper path of living.


Meditations Before Kaddish

From the Mishkan T’filah


When I die give what’s left of me away

to children and old men that wait to die.

And if you need to cry,

cry for your brother walking the street beside you.

And when you need me, put your arms around anyone

and give them what you need to give me.


I want to leave you something,

something better than words or sounds.

Look for me in the people I’ve known or loved,

and if you cannot give me away,

at least let me live in your eyes and not your mind.


You can love me best by letting hands touch hands,

and by letting go of children that need to be free.

Love doesn’t die, people do.

So, when all that’s left of me is love,

give me away.



SYF 82

“Joyful is the dark” 

words of Brian Wren


Joyful is the dark, holy hidden God, rolling cloud of night beyond all naming: majesty in darkness, energy of love, Word in flesh, the mystery proclaiming.


Joyful is the dark, Spirit of the deep, winging wildly o’er the world’s creation, silken sheen at midnight, plumage black and bright, swooping with the beauty of a raven.


Joyful is the dark, shadowed stable floor; angels flicker, God on earth confessing, as with exultation, Mary, giving birth, hails the infant cry of need and blessing.


Joyful is the dark, coolness in the tomb, waiting for the wonder of the morning; never was that midnight touched by dread and gloom: darkness was the cradle of the dawning.


Joyful is the dark, depth of love divine, roaring, looming thundercloud of glory, holy, haunting beauty, living, loving God, Hallelujah! Sing and tell the story!



“What is it that we are remembering?”


Today we remember those that serve, not just military but all areas of service. Including those that choose to serve by building communities, healing trauma, working for reconciliation. Volunteering in the local charity shop, who even give a lift to those in need to get home without waiting for the bus or a taxi.


We remember and celebrate those that serve without a eye on how to turn it to their profit, or bank roll their pockets, who look to the need and not as a way of greed.


We celebrate all forms of service, from military to a grandmothers bake sale.


That is what we remember, service.


And we also remember more….


We remember those uncomfortable things of life, which naturally come up in this time of year. We remember the harm done to civilians, non-combatants, as well as the environment during the time of war, preparation for war, even in the development of weaponry. We also remember the acts of injustice to minority people, those without political cache. We hear and are move by the harm inflicted upon them, we scream out that Black lives do matter, that Trans lives do matter, and we also hear and see and scream out for those in lower economic struggles.


We remember the injustices that harmed others and have benefited us.


WE remember those who died from the violence of racist hatred, who died because of the transphobic bullying, who died for the lack of support, of malpractice, of neglect….. they all are our siblings and we remember them.


We come together and we remember.


This is a holy task….


Today and again next sunday on the day to remember our Transgendered siblings lost this past year.


We take time to do what our faith asks of us….


To remember is not just a one day a year event,

It is a calling to




And to learn…..


And to act for justice and peace.


That is how we truly show remembrance.




We take a moment to reflect…


Has my understanding of remembrance changed?

What is important to me at this time of year?

Can I honour the dedication without buying into the nationalism?

How and who do I remember on this day?




In Remembrance: A Prayer

by Martha Pearman Sharp


As I walk

through the mauve delight of sunrise

you’re there:

together we see

the profound ness of nature —

in soaring herons

and songful birds.


It’s as if you never left

at these moments.


But streaming tears

and the desolate return home

belie that time of love —

lost forever in a mystic dream.


Please, God, help me

through these aimless years.

Let there be another sunrise.









SYF 193

“We laugh, we cry”

words by Shelley Jackson Denham


We laugh, we cry, we live, we die, we dance, we sing our song.

We need to feel there’s something here to which we can belong.

We need to feel the freedom just to have some time alone.

But most of all we need close friends we can call our very own.

          And we believe in life, and in the strength of love,

          and we have found a need to be together.

          We have our hearts to give, we have our thoughts to receive,

          and we believe that sharing is an answer.


A child is born amongst us and we feel a special glow.

We see time’s endless journey as we watch the baby grow.

We thrill to hear imagination freely running wild.

We dedicate our minds and hearts to the spirit of the child.

          And we believe in life, and in the strength of love,

          and we have found a time to be together.

          And with the grace of age, we share the wonder of youth,

          and we believe that growing is an answer.


Our lives are full of wonder and our time is very brief.

The death of one amongst us fills us all with pain and grief.

But as we live, so shall we die, and when our lives are done

the memories we shared with friends, they will linger on and on.

          And we believe in life, and in the strength of love,

          and we have found a place to be together.

          We have the right to grow, we have the gift to believe

          that peace within our living is an answer.


We seek elusive answers to the questions of this life.

We seek to put an end to all the waste of human strife.

We search for truth, equality, and blessed peace of mind.

And then we come together here, to make sense of what we find.

          And we believe in life, and in the strength of love,

          and we have found a joy to be together.

          And in our search for peace, maybe we’ll finally see:

          even to question truly is an answer.





May our days be filled with saintly and not so saintly purpose,

may we embrace that which makes us different and that which connects us all.


In our desperate world


Being guided by the Good

Sustained by love

Empowered to live


May we live our life


As instruments for compassion, joy, peace, justice, spiritual wholeness for the whole of creation…..