Past Services can be found at the UUCSS YouTube page, https://www.youtube.com/c/UUCSS
This pandemic showed us many things: that we are all vulnerable, that we depend on each other for safety, and that we can change and adapt. And being restricted in where we could go, where was safe to go, reminded us of something important, that we need places, physical and virtual, to gather together, to…
When I was 9 months old I was adopted by parents who had experienced great heartache and waited many years to have a child. I have always known I was adopted, and my parents always spoke of my biological parents with respect, with gratitude. And while they didn’t attach any particular religious or spiritual significance to my adoption, the rest of the world certainly did.
So, I’ve been thinking a lot this week, like I do, about the opening line from Shakespeare’s Richard III- Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by this Son of York. I’ve always loved how Shakespeare captures the sense that there are seasons and chapters to our lives, both as individuals and…
Once upon a time there was a visiting minister preaching a real barn burner about how the church was being called to go to great lengths, do great things. Near the end of his sermon he said “this church has really got to walk” and someone in the back yelled out, “Let her walk preacher!”
This really got the minister going. “Yes” he said, “this church has got to get up and run.” And someone else in the back shouted “Let her run, preacher!”
During the pandemic lockdown, one of the ways I cared for my spirit was by listening to podcasts. Of all of the new-to-me-sources of insight, comfort, and wisdom I discovered, the most powerful was “The Confessional” by Nadia Bolz Weber. A Lutheran pastor whose ministry has always been about serving those whom the Church traditionally excluded, Weber called her podcast “a no BS space for people to talk about the moments in our lives we are least proud of.”
Our kids recently started a new curriculum- because as much fun as it is to talk about superheroes, we realize that what we really need when we think about how we are centering love and listening to the call of love is something else. What we need is troublemakers.
Seminary for me was an amazing time. It was a time of deep thinking about deep things, a time of marinating myself in new ideas and theologies, rituals and practices. I started walking labyrinths, doing contemplative prayer, and meditating regularly among other things. And I took those spiritual practices from that amazingly rich few years and sank even more deeply into them as I moved through my internship, my wedding, my move to New England, and the start of my first ministry.
Then, I had a baby.
Our reading today is a winter Blessing by the Reverend Dr Rebecca Parker.
In the shadowed quiet of Winter’s light Earth speaks softly of her longing because the wild places are in tears. Come she cries to us kneel down here on the frosty grass and feel the prayer buried in the ground. Bend your ear to my heart and listen hard. Love this world she whispers distill peace from the snow and water the cities with mercy. We’ve wonder from the forest and clothe grief with beauty. Rest in the rhythm of the turning year, trace the bending arc rounding the curve to justice and vow a new to do no harm. The winter trees stand watch haloed in the last gleams of the slanting sun glory sings here. Heaven echoes the call repeat the sounding joy. Make your life an answer. Bow. Praise. Rise.
Reading by rev. m jade kaiser of enfleshed, prayer by Rev. Jude Geiger – Oh Holy Night- translated into English by the American Unitarian minister and music critic John Sullivan Dwight in 1855, is one of my favorite Christmas songs, thank you so much, sanctuary singers, for that beautiful rendition of it.
That song will always make me think of a play I did a few times as a child in the community theater of my hometown called “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever”.
A friend of mine, years ago, used to go regularly and see experimental dance in Chicago. Her absolute favorite was when two dancers came on stage facing away from each other. A third dancer came out in the middle and gave them both the same instructions. Then the dancers would do what they believed they’d been told to do. But their performances always unfolded differently. Even though they’d been given the same instructions, they interpreted them in unique ways. It’s amazing how two people can experience the same thing in completely different ways.