Unitarian Sunday Reflections

(Hull and Lincoln Unitarians)

22 August 2021


“Image – Reimaging”



“When you feel overwhelmed,

remember this: people are sacred,

created in the image of God.


Systems are not.

They are only worth the people in them and the people they serve.


And people are to be treated, whether one or many,

the way Jesus treated people.”

~ Diane Langberg



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 moments, events, conversations, time alone

          that allowed me to connect to another, to life,

                               to that which may be called Divine.


In taking the time to explore, ask, reflect, and finally to name what was good, what wasn’t, and those important connections for you, there is a release for you to grow, to change what needs to be changed, and to reflect-fully live your life.


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





What is the point of worship? Especially in a faith that is heavily individualistic in mode and thought?



HFL 192 (CD1, HFL/TK16)

“A New Community”

words by Samuel Anthony Wright


We would be one as now we join in singing

Our hymn of love, to pledge ourselves anew

To that high cause of greater understanding

Of who we are, and what in us is true.


We would be one in building for tomorrow

A greater world than we have known today;

We would be one in searching for that meaning

Which binds our hearts and points us on our way.


We would be one in living for each other,

With love and justice strive to make all free;

As one, we pledge ourselves to greater service,

To show the world a new community.





“We Become Like the God We Adore”

by Dennis Linn, Sheila Fabricant Linn, and Matthew Linn

Good Goats: Healing Our Image of God Paulist Press, 1994.


I changed when my image of God changed.


Most of us recognise that we become like our parents whom from early on we adore, even with all their faults. We many not realise that we also become like the God we adore.


Unfortunately, the God I grew up adoring was German. My God was a self-righteous German who sat on his (at the time my God was all male) judgment throne. Being a self-righteous German, my God could see all the mistakes and errors in everyone else. If my self-righteous God did not like what he saw in others, he could even separate himself from them by sending them into hell. And if my God could be a self-righteous German, than no matter how many healing prayers I prayed, I would probably never change. I became like the God I adored.


In every aspect of our lives, we become like the God we adore. For example, in a time when we have the capacity to annihilate one another with nuclear weapons, many churches have issued pastoral letters on peace. Our church’s pastoral letter says that we can never use nuclear weapons against our enemies. However, if my God can send God’s enemies to a hell inferno, then I can send a nuclear inferno on my enemies. But if my God doesn’t treat people that way, I can’t either. We find that a key to personal and social healing is our image of God.


A conversation about G_D

by Alice Walker, The Colour Purple


“Dear Nettie,


I don’t write to God no more, I write to you.


What happen to God? ast Shug.


Who that? I say.


She look at me serious.


Big a devil as you is, I say, you not worried bout no God, surely.


She say, Wait a minute. Hold on just a minute here. Just because I don’t harass it like some peoples us know don’t mean I ain’t got religion.


What God do for me? I ast.


She say, Celie! Like she shock. He gave you life, good health, and a good woman that love you to death.


Yeah, I say, and he give me a lynched daddy, a crazy mama, a lowdown dog of a step pa and a sister I probably won’t ever see again. Anyhow, I say, the God I been praying and writing to is a man. And act just like all other mens I know. Trifling, forgitful and lowdown.


Shug say, Miss Celie, You better hush. God might hear you.


Let ‘im hear me, I say. If he ever listened to poor coloured women the world be a different place, I can tell you…..All my life I never care what people thought bout nothin I did, I say. But deep in my heart I care about God. What he going to think. And come to find out, he don’t think. Just sit up there glorying in being deef, I reckon. But it ain’t easy, trying to do without God. Even if you know he ain’t there, trying to do without him is a strain.


I is a sinner, say Shug. Cause I was born. I don’t deny it. But once you find out what’s out there waiting for us, what else can you be?


Sinners have more good times, I say.


You know why?


Cause you ain’t all the time worrying bout God…


Naw, that ain’t it. Us worry bout God a lot. But once us feel loved by God, us do the best us can to please him with what us like.


You telling me God love you, and you ain’t never done nothing for him? I mean, not go to church, sing in the choir, feed the preacher and all like that?


But if God love me, Celie, I don’t have to do all that. Unless I want to. There’s a lot of other things I can do that I speck God likes.


Like what?


Oh…I can lay back and just admire stuff. Be happy. Have a good time. Celie, tell the truth, have you ever found God in church? I never did. I just found a bunch of folks hoping for him to show. Any God I felt in church I brought in with me. And I think all the other folks did too. They come to church to share God, not find God.


Some folks didn’t have him to share, They the ones didn’t speak to me while I was there struggling with my big belly or with Mr____’s children.


Right….. here’s the thing, The thing I believe. God is inside you and inside everybody else. You come into the world with God. But only them that search for it inside find it. And sometimes it just manifest itself even if you not looking, or don’t know what you looking for. Trouble do it for most folks, I think. Sorrow, lord. Feeling like…..




Yeah, it! God ain’t a he or a she, but a It.


But what do it look like?


Don’t look like nothing. It ain’t a picture show. It ain’t something you can look at apart from anything else, including yourself. I believe God is everything…everything that is or ever was or ever will be. When you can feel that and be happy to feel that, you’ve found it…..My first step from the old white man in the sky was trees. Then air. Then birds. Then other people. But one day when I was sitting quiet and feeling like a motherless child, which I was, it come to me: that feeling of being part of everything, not separate at all. I knew that if I cut a tree, my arm would bleed. And I laughed and I cried and I run all round the house. I knew just what it was. In fact, when it happen, you can’t miss it. It sort of like you know what…..




Oh, God love all them feelings. That’s some of the best stuff God did. When you know God loves ‘em you enjoys ‘em a lot more. You can just relax, go with everything that’s going, and praise God by liking what you like.


God don’t think it dirty?


Naw…God made it. Listen, God love everything you love – and a mess of stuff you don’t. But more than anything else, God love admiration.


You saying God vain?


Naw, not vain, just wanting to share a good thing. I think it pisses God off if you walk by the colour purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.


What it do when it pissed off?


Oh, it make something else. People think pleasing God is all God care about. But any fool living in the world can see it always trying to please us back.




Yeah, it always making little surprises and springing them on us when us least expect.


You mean it want to be loved, just like the bible say.


Yes Celie, everything want to be loved. Us sing and dance, make faces and give flower bouquets, trying to be loved. You ever notice that trees do everything to git attention we do, except walk?


Well, us talk and talk bout God, but I’m still adrift. Trying to chase that old white man out of my head. I been so busy thinking bout him I never truly notice nothing God make. Not a blade of corn (how it do that? Not the colour purple (where it come from?). Not the little wildflowers. Nothing.


Now that my eyes opening, I feels like a fool….still as Shug say,


You have to git man off you eyeball, before you can see anything a’tall. Man corrupt everything. He on your box of grits, in your head, and all over the radio. He try to make you think he everywhere. Soon as you think he everywhere you think he God. But he ain’t. Whenever you trying to pray, and man plop himself on the other end of it, tell him to git lost. Conjure up flowers, wind, water, a big rock.


But this hard work, let me tell you. He be there so long, he don’t want to budge. He threaten lightening, floods and earthquakes. Us fight. I hardly pray at all.


Every time I conjure up a rock….I throws it.





SYF 104 (SYF CD2/TK5)

“Name Unnamed”

words by Brian Wren


Name unnamed, hidden and shown, knowing and known. Gloria!


Beautifully moving, ceaselessly forming,

growing, emerging with awesome delight,

Maker of Rainbows, glowing with colour, arching in wonder,

energy flowing in darkness and light:

Name unnamed, hidden and shown, knowing and known. Gloria!


Spinner of Chaos, pulling and twisting,

freeing the fibres of pattern and form,

Weaver of Stories, famed or unspoken, tangled or broken,

shaping a tapestry vivid and warm:

Name unnamed, hidden and shown, knowing and known. Gloria!


Nudging Discomforter, prodding and shaking,

waking our lives to creative unease,

Straight-Talking Lover, checking and humbling, jargon and grumbling,

speaking the truth that refreshes and frees:

Name unnamed, hidden and shown, knowing and known. Gloria!


Midwife of Changes, skilfully guiding,

drawing us out through the shock of the new,

Woman of Wisdom, deeply perceiving, never deceiving,

freeing and leading in all that we do:

Name unnamed, hidden and shown, knowing and known. Gloria!


Daredevil Gambler, risking and loving,

giving us freedom to shatter your dreams,

Life-giving Loser, wounded and weeping, dancing and leaping,

sharing the caring that heals and redeems.

Name unnamed, hidden and shown, knowing and known. Gloria!




by William Stafford


There have been times hungry for the sky,

when we wanted to find more than our lives,

nights to climb over the map

touching towns with dirt on their names,

kneeling on the mountains to feel for Mammoth

Cave in Kentucky, the underground rivers,

the blind fish flowing transparent,

the tall oaks above, the albino squirrels —

there have been times. But we’ve come back home

knowing that family and friends and the distant

sky itself can climb into our eyes together,

and we can pace into this dream side

by side, or can even stand still in the dark

and close our eyes and fall into the world.

The trick is like this — just being ourselves

and allowing what comes to have whatever we are.



I don’t know where it happened or even when.


I do know that I fought, struggled, questioned and explored this thing called religion, faith, spirituality, and yes even the calling to be a minister.


I let go of traditional images, and found that the inclusive ones being offered… offered me nothing,


I learned the ministry of the lay person…. And ever since despised that term…

Pejorative, arrogant, dismissive…. A way of keeping one in place and maintaining the Status Quo.


And yet when the time came….


Even in a new context….


I said yes.


Paradoxically getting out of your comfort zones, your place of sure knowledge,                      experience, culture…. Can move you to understanding, completion, even a                            better sense of who you are.


By being Unitarian I found peace with traditional theology.


By being minister I learned the importance of ministry.

          Not a job, but a vocation.

          Not as individual but as co operation and interdependence.


I found that my anger with the church, it’s dismissal of the Who I Am, allowed me to see beyond the status quo and images offered of life and faith.


My anger subsided and fresh images of faith emerged.


And I went and lived my life as best as I could.


And then that call and search and questing spirit stirred within….


I found myself on the doorsteps of a new faith family, unsure, hesitant, and determined….


I sat in the back, I always do, and in it’s familiar unfamiliarity, I knew




In letting go I was discovered and found Home.



When younger what was your image of God? Of the church? Of religion?

What is it now?


If different now, what changed? How did that change help your personal growth?



from A. Powell Davies


“O God of light and love,


forever beyond our thought and yet the very breath of our lives

and the power itself of all our thinking, help us to feel Thy life within our own.


For though there is no form or image wherewith we can conceive Thee,

yet we have known the soul uplifted and have watched the darkness pass away.


Yea, even in the wilderness, we have seen the promise blossom as the rose,

and in the desolation of the desert, have heard the echo of a song.”






SYF 165 (CD4 / TK18)

“The Spirit lives to set us free”

words anonymous


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.




words by John Carter






We know what humanity is capable of

We know what is at stake…


Have we listened?

Have we learned?


Each day this great task is set us


How do we learn from our history?

What do we need to do?

Are we committed to the good of all,

          or are we willing to let all flow as it has for ages?


On this day of reflection

The one great blessing we may need

Is the willingness to be open to the question…


Of life

Of good

Of compassion


Are we willing to commit to the good of all?

Are we willing to commit to a way of peaceful living?

Are we willing?


(Pause and reflect)


May Good guide us

May Love sustain us

May life empower us….


As we live out our answering of these questions in our quest to be faithful to the task set us.



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