Unitarian Sunday Reflections

(Hull and Lincoln Unitarians)

09 May 2021

Order of Reflection

“On the road, again”

QUOTES FOR OPENING REFLECTION

 

“The simple vision of pure love, which is marvellously penetrating, does not stop at the outer husk of creation: it penetrates to the divinity with is hidden within.”

~ Malaval,

translated by Evelyn Underhill,  Mysticism

 

“O God, we know we are a long way off; yet we can love no other journey.  So guide us then, that be it soon or late, we shall arrive.”                     

~ A Powell Davies

 

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.

 

GATHERING HYMNAL REFLECTION

SYF 28

Dear weaver of our lives’ design

words by Nancy C. Dorian

Dear weaver of our lives’ design

whose patterns all obey,

with skilful fingers gently guide

the sturdy threads that will survive

the tangle of our days.

Take up the fabric of our lives

with hands that gently hold;

bind in the ragged edge that care

would sunder and that pain would tear,

and mend our rav’ling souls

Let eyes that in the plainest cloth

a hidden beauty see;

discern in us our richest hues,

show us the patterns we may use

to set our spirits free.

 

READINGS

“The high, the low… all of creation. Is given for humankind to use.

If this privilege is misused, God’s Justice permits creation to punish humanity.”                                                                ~ Hildegard of Bingen

***

 

“Spring Thanksgiving”

Anonymous prayer from a Boreal Forest display, Canada

We have endured

The Order of Winter

The Hunger

The Winds

The Pain of Sickness

And lived on …

Once again we shall

See the Snow melt

Taste the Flowering Sap

Touch the Budding Seeds

Smell the Whitening Flowers

Know the Renewal of Life.

***

“Lean to hear my feeble voice”

words from Black Elk

Hey! Lean to hear my feeble voice.

          At the centre of the Sacred Hoop

          You have said that I should make the tree to bloom.

With tears running, O Great Spirit, my Grandfather,

          With running eyes I must say

          The tree has never bloomed

Here I stand, and the tree is withered.

          Again, I recall the great vision you gave me.

It may be that some little root of the sacred tree still lives.

          Nourish it then

          That is may leaf

          And bloom

          And fill with singing birds!

Hear me, that the people may once again

                                                              Find the good road

                                                                        And the shielding tree.

***

“Spirit of Place: Great Blue Heron”

by William Stafford

Out of their loneliness for each other

two reeds, or maybe two shadows, lurch

forward and become suddenly a life

lifted from dawn or the rain. It is

the wilderness come back again, a lagoon

with our city reflected in its eye.

We live by faith in such presences.

It is a test for us, that thin

but real, undulating figure that promises,

“If you keep faith I will exist

at the edge, where your vision joins

the sunlight and the rain: heads in the light,

feet that go down in the mud where the truth is.”

 

***

 

“I’ve known rivers”

by Langston Hughes

I’ve known rivers:

I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the

          flow of human blood in human veins.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young.

I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.

I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it.

I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln

          went down to New Orleans, and I’ve seen its muddy

          bosom turn all golden in the sunset.

I’ve know rivers:

Ancient, dusky rivers.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

***

 

“River of Dreams”

by Billy Joel

In the middle of the night
I go walking in my sleep
From the mountains of faith
To a river so deep
I must be looking for something
Something sacred I lost
But the river is wide
And it’s too hard to cross

And even though I know

The river is wide

I walk down every evening

And I stand on the shore

And try to cross to the opposite side

So I can finally find

What I’ve been looking for

In the middle of the night

I go walking in my sleep

Through the valley of fear

To a river so deep

And I’ve been searching for something

Taken out of my soul

Something I would never lose

Something somebody stole

I don’t know why I go walking at night

But now I’m tired and I don’t

Want to walk anymore

I hope it doesn’t take the rest of my life

Until I find what it is

That I’ve been looking for

In the middle of the night

I go walking in my sleep

Through the jungle of doubt

To a river so deep

I know I’m searching for something

Something so undefined

That it can only be seen

By the eyes of the blind

In the middle of the night

I’m not sure about a life after this

God knows I’ve never

Been a spiritual man

Baptized by the fire

I wade into the river

That runs to the promised land

In the middle of the night

I go walking in my sleep

Through the desert of truth

To the river so deep

We all end in the ocean

We all start in the streams

We’re all carried along

By the river of dreams

In the middle of the night

(Gloria, it’s not Marie…)

***

 

“I used to have a cat….”

by Annie Dillard, from Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

I used to have a cat, an old fighting tom, who would jump through the open window by my bed in the middle of the night and land on my chest. I’d half awaken. He’d stick his skull under my nose and purr, stinking of urine and blood. Some nights he kneaded my bare chest with his front paws, powerfully, arching his back , as if sharpening his claws, or pummelling a mother for mild. And some mornings I’d wake in daylight to find my body covered with pay prints in blood; I looked as though I’d been painted with roses.

It was hot, so hot the mirror felt warm. I washed before the mirror in a daze; my twisted summer sleep still hung about me like sea kelp. What blood was this , and what roses? It could have been the rose of union, the blood of murder, or the rose of beauty bare and the blood of some unspeakable sacrifice or birth. The sign on my body could have been an emblem or a stain, the keys to the kingdom or the mark of Cain. I never knew. I never knew as I washed, and the blood streaked, faded, and finally disappeared, whether I’d purified myself or ruined the blood sign of the passover. We wake, if we ever wan at all, to mystery, rumours of death, beauty, violence… “Seem like we’re just set down here,” a woman said to me recently, “and don’t nobody know why.”

 

HYMNAL REFLECTION

SYF 87

Leave behind your bags and baggage

words by Peter Sampson

Leave behind your bags and baggage.

Throw all caution to the air.

Let the wind blow through the cobwebs.

Cast aside all anxious care.

Let the God of all our mercies

breathe around you everywhere.

Journey onwards never doubting

God will speak a Kindly word,

looking forward, always trusting

what your heart feels will be heard.

Love your sister and your brother;

kindness will not be deterred.

In the face of war and hatred

peace and justice we extol.

Share the warmth of fellow-feeling

urging us onto our goal.

With your confidence enthuse us,

God, the life in every soul.

 

SOME THOUGHTS

For Hildegard

          the movement of the spirit was the greening

                     for the ancient Celts, this was embodied in the Green Man

                                                                                  and in Beltain….

In the film Jurassic Park,

          the chaos theory man child says….

                     “Life….uh…finds a way”

This is the message of spring, resurrection… life, even spirit…

Evoking vision of growing, greening, grasping, life.

Each spring we celebrate this, as we move through various harvests of late spring and summer and finally autumn.

Circles of life….

Yet we should always remember we cannot have spring without winter…

          the greening spirit needs the balance of the desert spirit…

We all have our times when we are up, and when we need to sleep, and our rhythms move in these flows of up and down, joy and depression…..

hopefully all in balance

We celebrate life,

           we learn from each variance

                     we walk a journey

                               our personal pilgrimage of life.

May each step be a blessed one, no matter where or when or how it is placed..,

REFLECTION & PRAYER

Reflection: “It was the wind” A Navajo Chant

Prayer: “We breathe thy life” Rev. A. Powell Davies

It was the wind that gave them life.

It is the wind that comes out of our mouths now

          that gives us life.

When this ceases to blow we die.

In the skin at the tips of our fingers

          we see the trail of the wind,

          it shows us the wind blew

          when our ancestors were created.

(SILENCE: take time to reflect upon the words just read…)

And thus we open our hearts to say this simple prayer…

“We breathe thy life, O God, as we breathe the air about us,

help us to breathe it more deeply.”

Amen.

HYMNAL REFLECTION

SYF 195 We sing a love

words by June Boyce-Tillman

We sing a love that sets all people free,

that blows like wind, that burns like scorching flame,

enfolds the earth, springs up like water clear.

Come, living love, live in our hearts today.

We sing a love that seeks another’s good,

that longs to serve and not to count the cost,

a love that yielding finds itself made new.

come, caring love, live in our hearts today.

We sing a love, unflinching, unafraid

to be itself despite another’s wrath,

a love that stands alone and undismayed.

come, strengthening love, live in our hearts today.

We sing a love, that wandering will not rest

until it finds its way, its home, its source,

through joy and sadness pressing on refreshed.

Come, pilgrim love, live in our hearts today.

We sing the Holy Spirit, full of love,

who seeks our scars of ancient bitterness,

brings to our wounds the healing grace of Christ.

Come, radiant love, live in our hearts today.

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.

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