Unitarian Sunday Reflections

(Hull and Lincoln Unitarians)

02 May 2021

 

Order of Reflection

“Merry Month of May”

 

QUOTES FOR OPENING REFLECTION

“Beltane is for magic, mystery and growing things.

This is a celebration of zest for life when nature is rampant

in a rush of blossom and greenery.

 

May we blossom and grow fruitful!”

~ from the GreenSpirit Ritual Sourcebook

 

CHALICE LIGHTING/INVOCATION

We light our chalice, this candle, as a sign of our connectedness, of our journey on this spiritual quest….

 

May the Great Spirit of the Journey walk with us today.

Amen.

 

INTRODUCTION

Beltain is a celebration of the fertility and rampant potency of the life force. All of nature is growing and manifesting now in a wild whirl of creative energy. This is the time to celebrate unions of all kinds, fertility and manifestation on many different  levels, love, sexuality, and fruitfulness. It is a time to be in touch with the instinctive wild forces within and without, to be aware of the potency of the life force and it’s power on the physical, spiritual and mystical levels.

~ Glennie Kindred

 

OPENING HYMNAL REFLECTION

SYF 67

“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.

 

READINGS/QUOTATIONS

 

See and taste the Flowing

Godhead through your Being;

Feel the Holy Spirit

Moving and compelling

You within the Flowing

Fire and Light of God.

            ~ Mechtild of Magdeburg

 

I will try, like them

To be my own silence:

And this is difficult. The whole

World is secretly on fire. The stones

Burn, even the stones

They burn me. How can a man be still or

Listen to all things burning? How can he dare

To sit with them when

All their silence

Is on fire?

            ~ Thomas Merton

 

I, the fiery life of divine essence, am aflame beyond the beauty of the meadows, I gleam in the waters, and I burn in the sun, moon, and stars.

            ~ Hildegard of Bingen

 

If the landscape reveals one certainty, it is that the extravagant gesture is the very stuff of creation. After the one extravagant gesture of creation in the first place, the universe has continued to deal exclusively in extravagances, flinging intricacies and colossi down aeons of emptiness… The whole show has been on fire from the word go. I come down to the water to cool my eyes. But everywhere I look I see fire; that which isn’t flint is tinder, and the whole world sparks and flames.

            ~ Annie Dillard

 

The day will come when after we have mastered the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love. Then for the second time in the history of the world, humankind will have discovered fire.

            ~ Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

 

Abba Lot came to Abba Joseph and said:

 

Father, according as I am able, I keep my little rule, and my little fast, my prayer, meditation, and contemplative silence; and, according as I am able, I strive to cleanse my heart of thoughts; now what more should I do?

 

The elder rose up in reply and stretched out his hands to heaven, and his fingers became like ten lamps of fire.

 

And said:

 

Why not become fire?

            ~ from the Desert Fathers & Mothers

 

HYMNAL REFLECTION

SYF 42

“from the light of days remembered”

by Jason Shelton & Mary Katherine Morn

 

From the light of days remembered burns a beacon bright and clear,

guiding hands and hearts and spirits into faith set free from fear.

 

            When the fire of commitment sets our mind and soul ablaze;

            when our hunger and our passion meet to call us on our way;

            when we live with deep assurance of the flame that burns within,

            then our promise finds fulfilment and our future can begin. 

 

From the stories of our living rings a song both brave and free,

calling pilgrims still to witness to the life of liberty.

 

            When the fire of commitment sets our mind and soul ablaze;

            when our hunger and our passion meet to call us on our way;

            when we live with deep assurance of the flame that burns within,

            then our promise finds fulfilment and our future can begin. 

 

From the dreams of youthful vision comes a new, prophetic voice,

which demands a deeper justice built by our courageous choice.

 

            When the fire of commitment sets our mind and soul ablaze;

            when our hunger and our passion meet to call us on our way;

            when we live with deep assurance of the flame that burns within,

            then our promise finds fulfilment and our future can begin. 

 

READING

 

177 The Path of the Night

by Carl McColman, 366 CELT: A Year and a Day of Celtic Wisdom and Lore, Element/HarperCollins, 2005.

 

“There is a Welsh legend that tells of the disappearance of the goddess Rhiannon’s baby one night shortly after his birth. Rhiannon is falsely accused of killing the child and forced to endure public humiliation as her punishment. Several years pass by; meanwhile, a lord named Teyrnon has a mare that gives birth every year on Beltane night, but the foal promptly disappears. So Teryrnon keeps a vigil and discovers that a beast with a giant claw has been stealing the foals. He fends off the monster, only to find that the foal magically transforms into a child — who turns out to be Rhiannon’s missing son. 

 

This is a mysterious story with more puzzles than answered questions. Still it must be understood that this tale is, as curious as it is, a counterweight to the tale of Fionn and Aillen.

 

Instead of a tragedy happening every Samhain, the clawed beast attacks at the opposite side of the year, on the first of May. Somehow the attacks on Teyrnon’s foals are linked with the kidnappaing of Rhiannon’s son. We should remember that Rhiannon is a horse goddess, so this is not so far-fetched. In this story and in Fionn’s story we see the achievement of protection for their world against the chaos of the two most otherworldly nights of the year.

 

Chaos, please remember, can be creative. Fionn earns the respect of his comrades and Teyrnon emerges as a hero after each vanquishes their respective adversaries. So while both stories do not exactly celebrate the anarchy of the magical night, they do affirm that grace may emerge from these times of shadow and chaos when they are faced with courage and with valour.”

 

 

READING

“Lusty Month of May”

by Alan Jay Lerner & Frederick Loewe

 

Tra la, it’s May, the lusty Month of May

That lovely month when everyone goes blissfully astray

Tra la, it’s here, that shocking time of year

When tons of wicked little thoughts merrily appear

 

It’s May, It’s May, that gorgeous holiday

When every maiden prays that her lad will be a cad

It’s mad, it’s gay, alive, a lust display

Those dreary vows that everyone takes, everyone breaks

Everyone makes divine mistakes

The Lusty Month of May

 

Whence this fragrance wafting through the air?

What sweet feelings does it’s scent transmute?

Whence this perfume floating everywhere?

Don’t you know, it’s that dear forbidden fruit

 

It’s May, the lusty month of May

That darling month when everyone throws self-control away

It’s time to do a wretched thing or two

And try to make each precious day one you’ll always rue

 

It’s May, it’s May, the month of “Yes, you may”

The time for every frivolous whim, proper or im-

It’s wild, it’s gay, depraved in every way

The birds and bees with all of their vast amorous past

Gaze at the human race aghast

The Lusty Month of May

 

Tra la, it’s May, the lusty Month of May

That lovely month when everyone goes blissfully astray

Tra la, it’s here, that shocking time of year

When tons of wicked little thoughts merrily appear

 

It’s May, it’s may, the month of great dismay

when all the world is brimming with fun, wholesome or un-

It’s mad, it’s gay, alive a lust display

Those dreary vows that everyone takes, everyone breaks

Everyone makes divine mistakes

The Lusty Month of May

 

HYMNAL REFLECTION

SYF 88

“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

 

SOME THOUGHTS

 

What is your passion?

What stirs your soul?

What excites you?

 

When all is said and done, this is the time when life is stirring. Lustfully, joyously, massively…. All life is in the thawing of earth and seeing the world anew.

 

PRAYERS

“Beltane 2016”

by Brendan Caulfield-James

We gather this Beltane,

A group of friends,

To usher in Summer — SUMMER indeed —

 

Light the bonfires

And propitiate the divine spirits to prosper our fields.

Just as we gather on other festive occasions.

Tuning in to the changing rhythms of each season.

 

We talk, we reflect, we feast.

We dance, we sing, we do ritual.

We laugh and we pray.

To what end?

 

Unless to connect with our deeper selves,

That mysterious realm of awe and wonder

Where we discover we are bonded to one another,

Rooted in Earth and all its creatures,

Even, dare I say primarily,

Our source, the Divine.

 

We are a communion,

Yes, of odds and sorts,

The weird and the wondrous,

Yet one,

In intimate embrace,

The realisation of which

Awakens love in us.

It is the most rewarding journey we’ll ever make,

 

The journey within.

 

This glimpse of reality

Is still the best kept secret of all time.

 

To believe otherwise is illusion,

To act otherwise is insane.

 

Silence

 

“Quickening Spirit”

by Hildegard of Bingen

 

Divine Spirit,

you, quickening life,

prime mover of the universe

and root of all creation,

cleanse your creation from impurity,

heal the guilt and anoint the wounds.

 

O radiant life, worthy of praise,

awaken and reawaken the universe!

 

amen

 

 

HYMNAL REFLECTION

SFY 68

“I dream of a church”

by Kate Compston

 

I dream of a church that joins in with God’s laughing

as she rocks in her rapture, enjoying her art:

she’s glad of her world, in its risking and growing:

’tis the child she has borne and holds close to her heart.

 

I dream of a church that joins in with God’s weeping

as she crouches, weighed down by the sorrow she sees:

she cries for the hostile, the cold and no-hoping,

for she bears in herself our despair and dis-ease.

 

I dream of a church that joins in with God’s dancing

as she move like the wind and the wave and the fire:

a church that can pick up its skirts, pirouetting,

with the steps that can signal God’s deepest desire.

 

I dream of a church that joins in with God’s loving

as she bends to embrace the unlovely and lost,

a church that can free, by its sharing and daring,

the imprisoned and poor, and then shoulder the cost.

 

God, make us a church that joins in with your living,

as you cherish and challenge, rein in and release,

a church that is winsome, impassioned, inspiring;

lioness of your justice and lamb of your peace.

 

BLESSING

“The Beltane Blessing”

from the Carmina Gadelica

 

Bless o threefold true and bountiful…

Everything in my dwelling…

From hallow eve to Beltane eve…

Bless everything and everyone…

What time the sheep shall forsake the fold

 

What time the goats shall ascend the mount of mist

May the tending of the Triune follow them…

 

Listen and attend me

Morning and evening as is becoming in me,

In thine own presence,

O spirit of life.

The Digest - YUU Blog

12 Sept 2021 – Rev John Carter’s Sunday Reflections

Rev John Carter Unitarian Minister at Hull & Lincoln chapels gives his reflections on the theme of Story – “Books were only one type of receptacle where we stored a lot of things we were afraid we might forget. There is nothing magical in them at all. The magic is only in what books say, how they stitched the patches of the Universe together into one garment for us.”

Read More

19 Sept 2021 – Rev John Carter’s Sunday Reflections

Rev John Carter Unitarian Minister at Hull & Lincoln chapels gives his reflections on the theme of Peace – ““Everything is changing, nothing is our own.
Not seeing clearly, we perpetuate the disease of the world.
May we, living rightly, come to know Truth;
That, abiding in peace, we may bring peace to all beings.”

Read More