William James’ words in 1906 could still accurately describe our contemporary condition: “Compared to what we ought to be, we are only half-awake.” We know a lot more now about our human capacities for attention than we ever did. The question is not, “Are you paying attention?” but “How are you paying attention?” In this service we’ll explore the personal and religious significance of our ways of attention and practices that enhance our everyday experiences.
Speaker: Rev. Larry Peers
For the writer, Jane Box, “silence…is the place in which the work grows.” In our own lives, silence can often seem so “golden” that it is a rare and treasured gift. At times, we avoid silence by filling our spaces with blaring media within our … read more.
One of my favorite hymns in our grey hymnal is “Find A Stillness,” with lyrics by Carl Seaburg, set to a Transylvanian folk tune. It is a meditative even prayerful hymn that includes these verses:
Find a stillness, hold a stillness, let the stillness carry me … read more.
A Flower Communion is celebrated as an annual ritual in many Unitarian Universalist congregations around the world. It celebrates beauty and wonder, and also the gifts of human uniqueness and diversity in community. This ritual originated in 1923 with Rev. Norbert Čapek, a Unitarian Minister in Prague who, because of his advocacy for human freedom, died a prisoner in Dachau concentration camp. Norbert Čapek celebrated the “hidden cry for harmony with the Infinite” in every soul.” In October 2017, Rev. Peers visited with and taught Unitarians in the Czech Republic who celebrate a Flower Communion. Their communities have blossomed in recent years.
There is a question that we most often avoid, even though it is probably the most important question we can ever ask. It is the kind of question that often has no immediate answer, or if our answer was immediate, we should probably pause—and ask the question again. In fact, it is helpful to ask the question frequently. Well it may be most helpful to ask the question several times a day.
You might ask, “What is the question?” Well, that’s not the question. See you at the service!
When we think of Mother’s Day today, we typically think of honoring our mothers through flowers, cards and special dinners at restaurants. This is, of course, a great occasion to remember our mothers and/or those who have “mothered” us in our lives! This is a … read more.
We tend to think of resurrection as something that happens, if at all, after death. Yet, if we look around we can begin to see all the ways that “resurrections” occur in our own lives and in other examples of the resilient spirit. Some of us identify with the “Doubting Thomas” more in the Easter narratives. Yes, even Thomas has a role in helping to reveal to us something about the “ways of resurrection” in our lives, in nature and in communities that continue to arise with hope and resilience, joy and perseverance. Since this Easter is also on the cusp of Earth Day, join us as we sing songs celebrating Easter and the Earth, starting with this verse from Samuel Longfellow’s hymn, ““Lo, the earth awakes again from the winter’s bond and pain.”
Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel in returning from the voting rights march in Selma Alabama said, “I felt as if my legs were praying.” In our own lives and world, sometimes we have to move in a different direction, prayerfully and intentionally through uncertainty and toward an uncertain freedom. What are the steps that are beckoning to you right now? On this Sunday, Christians commemorate “Palm Sunday” as Jesus’ deliberate entry into Jerusalem on a donkey on the first day of Passover. Contemporary scholars understand this as a spiritual act and also a political parody that had dire consequences for Jesus. Later this week (April 19th), Jews and others from around the world will begin gathering in Passover Seders to commemorate a march to freedom, “an Exodus.” Both Palm Sunday and the Exodus commemorate a journey that began with one step, just one step.
In our individual lives and in the lives of congregations, we are guided by our stories. We organize events into coherent ways of making sense of our experience. Sometimes the stories we compose open horizons of possibilities before us. Other times, our stories can serve to limit our possibilities. Being human religiously means to become conscious of our creative role in shaping and reshaping not only the circumstances of our lives, but how we interpret our circumstances. The Unitarian Universalist social ethicist, James Luther Adams puts it this way: “Humanity lives both in and above history. We are fatefully caught in history, both as individuals and as members of a group, and we are also able to be creative in history.”
Yasmina Reza’s play, The God of Carnage is being performed at Ursinus College from February 27-March 2. The play is described as a scathingly funny satire and “an examination of our current polarized society.” This service will draw on some of the themes of the … read more.