visions of sugar plums

sugarplum

“While visions of sugar-plums danced in [our] heads. And [ma] in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap, Had just settled [down] for a long winter’s nap. When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter. Away to the window I flew like a flash, Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash…”

And what I saw there was the Spirit of ~read more~

from The Living Dead service 131027

Candles

the veil between worlds gets very thin around this time of year. Many people, who believe there might be *something* beyond this lifetime, have rituals and routines to communicate with, or protect themselves from, anything that might exist beyond our usual perception. This morning, may we be fully aware of those who have passed from this earth, and of the many ways that we still feel their influence; may we grow beyond any negative effects they’ve had, and grow further into the positive ways they’ve influenced us; and may we note the ways that *we* affect others… So may we be. ~read more~

coffee and dignity

coffee_latte_heart

There’s an old joke, that if the building were burning, the priest would run in to save the sacraments, and the rabbi would run in to save the Torah, and the Unitarian Universalist minister would run in to save the coffee pot. As today *is* National Coffee Day, I do lift up that wondrous beverage…and I lift up the idea that we UUs are much more interested in seeking justice than the perfect blend of magic ~read more~

Memorial Day prayer

memorial day

We call to Iphigenia, and her patron, Artemis; we call to Utnapishtim, and to Confucius; we beckon to all the goddesses and gods who ever received an offering;

we cry to the God of the Israelites, who taught our ancestors which animals made the right sacrifice; we cry to Jehovah, who gave his only begotten son;

we remember all of our human cousins who risked their lives, or their status, or their health and wellbeing, ~read more~

Opening Words, post-Boston

Boston_bombing

After a week that included violence, terrorism, depressing political battles, and some frightening weather, it is good to gather together. It is good to confirm that we are okay; it is good to seek support if we are *not* okay; and it is very good to arrive and give stubborn witness to the power of our liberal religious values: freedom, reason, tolerance, compassion and courage. ~read more~

strictly humanist prayer entrance

ancestors_family_tree

we cry out to our ancestors, from Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, to Jeshua ben Joseph, the Christ… we call to Mary Magdalene, Moses, and Mohammad; we call to Katherine Vogel and Faustus Socinus, we call to Charles Darwin and Marie Curie; we cry to Olympia Brown, Frederick Douglass, Harvey Milk and Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz;

we hold in our minds every human being who ever believed that a better world was possible; we ~read more~

holiday lamentation 2012

Digital StillCamera

The “lament” is one of the oldest of human art forms. These poems of sorrow, usually including a request for divine intervention, go back several thousands of years. From Beowulf to the Illiad, from the Hebrew Bible to the Hindu Vedas, we find our human ancestors crying out in suffering, asking for relief, and promising to live better lives if only their dire circumstances might be changed.

If you are wondering about the difference between ~read more~

Coleridge at 240 (121021)

SamuelTaylorColeridge

Today is the 240th anniversary of the birth of Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Coleridge almost became a Unitarian minister—- he did preach in two different Unitarian churches, but a wealthy patron paid him to keep writing.

Coleridge wrote, “Thou rising Sun! thou blue rejoicing Sky! Yea! every thing that is and will be free! Bear witness for me, whereso’er ye be, With what deep worship I have still adored The spirit of divinest Liberty.”

Let us ~read more~

Sikh Opening Words

Sikh Khanda

In honor of our Sikh cousins, and in sympathy for the tragic mass murder at their temple in Oak Creek, WI, last Sunday:

Guru Tegh Bahadur was the ninth of the ten gurus that created and shaped the Sikh faith. He is quoted in our hymnal as saying, “Why do you go to the forest in search of the Divine? God lives in all, and abides with you too. As fragrance dwells in a flower, ~read more~

Mother’s Day Prayer

Venus of Willendorf

Let us open ourselves widely to Life, and share a few moments of quiet attention…   {silence}

We call upon the Hopi Earth-Mother, Tuuwaqatsi, and Cybele, the Magna Mater; we think of Parvati, primal Hindu goddess, mother even of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva; today, we honor the Green Man, and the Maiden and the Crone, and especially we celebrate the Mother; we call to mind the Venus of Willendorf, carved 25,000 years ago, and we celebrate the ~read more~