Unitarian Sunday Reflections
(Hull and Lincoln Unitarians)
08 August 2021
Hiroshima & Nagasaki”
The importance of remembering
“So, let us be alert–alert in a twofold sense.
Since Auschwitz we know what man is capable of.
And since Hiroshima we know what is at stake.”
~ Victor E Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
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.
On the 6th of August, 1945 the city of Hiroshima had the first Atomic weapon dropped upon them, 3 days later on the 9th of August the city of Nagasaki (at that time the most Christian Japanese City) had the second weapon dropped.
Today we take time to remember….. to reflect…..
HFL 246 (CD WWSFT / TK 26)
“Morning, so fair to see”
words by Vincent Brown Silliman
Morning, so fair to see,
night, veiled in mystery —
Glorious the earth and resplendent skies!
Comrades, we march along,
Singing our pilgrim song,
As through an earthly paradise.
Fair are the verdant trees;
Fair are the flashing seas;
Fair is each wonder the seasons bring.
Fairer is faith’s surmise
Shining in pilgrim eyes:
Fairer the comradeship we sing.
Age after age arise,
‘Neath the eternal skies,
Into the light from the shadowed past:
Still shall our pilgrim song,
Buoyant and brave and strong,
Resound while life and mountains last.
poem by Lucille Clifton
“the beginning of the end of the world”
cockroach population possibly declining — news report
maybe the morning the roaches
walked into the kitchen
bold with they bad selves
marching up out of the drains
not like soldiers like priests
grim and patient in the sink
and when we ran the water
trying to drown them as if they were
soldiers they seemed to bow their
sad heads for us not at us
and march single file away
maybe then the morning we rose
from our beds as always
listening for the bang of the end
of the world maybe then
when we heard only the tiny tapping
and saw them dark and prayerful
in the kitchen maybe then
when we watched them turn from us
faithless at last
and walk in a long line away
“Child of Hiroshima”
words in the Hymnal are attributed to an Unknown Source
Research shows in was written by Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet
I come and stand at every door,
but none can hear my silent tread:
I knock, and yet remain unseen,
for I am dead, for I am dead.
I’m only seven, although I died
in Hiroshima long ago;
I’m seven now as I was then:
when children die, they do not grow.
My hair was scorched with swirling flame,
my eves grew dim, my eves grew blind;
it came and burned my bones to dust,
and that was scattered by the wind.
I need no fruit, I need no rice,
I need no sweets, nor even bread:
I ask for nothing for myself, f
or I am dead, for I am dead.
All that I ask is that for peace
you fight today, you fight today,
so that the children of this world
may live and grow and laugh and play.
“The Sound: Summer, 1945”
by William Stafford,
written on 8 August, 1945, Elgin, Illinois
Not a loud sound, the buzz of the rattlesnake.
But urgent. Making the heart pound a loud drum.
Somewhere in dead weeds by a dry lake
On cracked earth flat in the sun.
The living thing left raises the fanged head,
Tormented and nagged by the drouth,
And stares past a planet that’s dead,
With anger and death in its mouth.
“Hiroshima Day: Floating lights on St. Alban’s Lake, August 6th 1984”
by John Knopf
“Our little vessel was the finest of the fleet Designed with eastern Buddhist skill; Graceful lotus petals caught the candle’s light; we launched it reverently.
Many ships were launched this day,
Some in Japan by men and women
The Dragon’s Claws themselves had touched.
Our frail fleet sets forth
Gleaming, flickering on the dark ripple of the lake Headed towards a hill that’s
rich in history.
Upon that hill St. Alban died.
For worship of the True and Living God.
Upon that hill they hanged John Bull;
He who asked a question his time could not abide to hear.
“When Adam delved and Eve span who was then the gentleman?”
Upon that hill George Tankerfield was burned because he would not
accommodate his faith To those with power to burn.
Men killed them,
but do not call them losers.
Our small ships sail on.
The sparks of fire in them inspire a hope
That the “Solution” of the men of power,
The solution of the cross, the sword, the hangman’s noose, Faggots, bullets and the Bomb.
The “Solution” of the Holocaust,
Must not and shall not be the “Final” one.
HFL 226 ( CD 3 / TK 19)
“Song of Peace”
words of Lloyd Stone
This is my song, O God of all the nations,
A song of peace for lands afar and mine;
This is my home, the country where my heart is,
Here are my hopes, my dreams, my holy shrine;
But other hearts in other lands are beating
With hopes and dreams as true and high as mine.
My country’s skies are bluer than the ocean,
And sunlight beams on clover leaf and pine;
But other lands have sunlight, too, and clover,
And skies are everywhere as blue as mine.
O hear my song, thou God of all the nations,
A song of peace for their land and for mine.
“Nonviolence and Nuclear Weapons”
by Mohandas Gandhi
So far as I can see, the atomic bomb has deadened the finest feeling that has sustained humanity for ages. There used to be the so-called laws of war, which made it tolerable. Now we know the naked truth. War knows no law except that of might.
The atom bomb brought an empty victory to the Allied arms, but it resulted for the time being in destroying Japan. What has happened to the soul of the destroying nation is yet too early to see.
Forces of nature act in a mysterious manner. We can but solve the mystery by deducing the unknown result from the known results of similar events. Slaveholders cannot hold slaves without putting themselves or their deputy in the cage holding the slave. Let no one run away with the idea that I wish to put in a defence of Japan’s misdeeds in pursuance of Japan’s unworthy ambition. The difference was only one of degree. I assume that Japan’s greed was more unworthy. But the greater unworthiness conferred no right on the less unworthy of destroying without mercy men, women, and children of Japan in a particular area.
The moral to be legitimately drawn from the supreme tragedy of the bomb is that it will not be destroyed by counter-bombs, even as violence cannot be by counter-violence. Humanity has to get out of violence only through nonviolence. Hatred can be overcome only by love. Counter-hatred only increases the surface as well as the depth of hatred.
There are moments in our lives that we remember, the day we got married, won first place in an art show, there are also the moments when something happens in the nation, or in the world.
Personally the night the tornado destroyed our house, I still remember, the terror, the pain, the years when heavy winds blew and I reacted with anxiety. I also remember that the day in the school yard when during lunch break when one of my classmates ran up to our teacher and said “President Kennedy has been shot” and then later that after as we stood outside our school to watch the flay move to half mast.
There are also those moments that happened before our lives or before we were aware that happen that we take time to remember. Remembrance Day is one, for me growing up Memorial Day, end of May, was one, and during our visits to family cemeteries where I heard the stories of my family. I truly miss that time and the tales of the characters in my family tree.
This time of year I take time to remember both Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Not for guilt, nor for blame, but to remember in times like this the devastation that happens to innocents durning times of violence. And to commit myself to remembering that this shall not happen again.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION
What events in your life have had a major effect upon you? Were this national or personal?
What is the importance of remember events, especially the ones that you were not a part of, or of historical note?
REFLECTION AND PRAYER
“Kaddish for Our Souls”
by Abraham Joshua Heschel
(translated from Yiddish by Sylvia Fuks Fried)
We still feel the blow to our head. Huge chunks are falling from the heavens, but we have yet to grasp the rupture and the misfortune that have befallen us. We are still waiting for the funeral, not yet ready to sit shiva. distraught, broken, confused, and petrified, we are living in a state of chaos. We celebrate our joyous occasions, but it’s akin to holding a wedding ceremony at a cemetery.
Our enjoyments are awkward and even grotesque, mere this worldly pleasures. Our people was consumed by fire. And the world is unchanged. The ash of human skeletons emits no door. The atmosphere of the world is not contaminated. Our bread is fresh; our sugar is sweet. The screams of millions of victims of the crematory were never transmitted over the radio waves. Hush, quiet; nothing ever happened. If we still had a heart, then it has turned to stone. I often sit and wonder: perhaps our souls went up in flames along with their bodies in Majdanek and Auschwitz.
Ours is Godless world. We Jews dance around the Golden Calf. We have forgotten that we live in a world that is treyf (impure). The times are dark, yet we do not even light the Sabbath candles. Six million Jews went up in smoke. Blood will remain silent. But our conscience is mute as a wall. We are inebriated and distracted by the follies of this world. The martyrs do not need our recitations of kaddish — but we need someone to recite kaddish over us, for us, because we have lost our souls.
I do not seek merely to unburden my heart. We will not fulfil our obligation by reciting lamentations. Our task is not to bang our heads against the wall.
Our task is to find an answer to a crucial question: What is our generation’s obligation? What is the task? Not to forget, never to be indifferent to other people’s suffering.
“Prayer: from the week of Prayer for World Peace, 1978”
We pray for the power to be gentle;
the strength to be forgiving;
the patience to be understanding;
and the endurance to accept the consequences to holding to what we believe to be right.
May we put our trust in the power of good to overcome evil and the power of love to overcome hatred.
We pray for the vision to see and the faith to believe in a world emancipated from violence, a new world where fear shall no longer lead men to commit injustice, nor selfishness make them bring suffering to others.
Help us to devote our whole life and thought and energy to the task of making peace, praying always for the inspiration and the power to fulfil the destiny for which we were created.
HYMN HFL 191 (CD 1 / TK 15)
“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.
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…
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.