Worship Script 1
"Invoking the Creative Spirit"
Worship Script (1 of 5)
By Kathleen McTigue
We come together this morning to remind one another
To rest for a moment on the forming edge of our lives,
To resist the headlong tumble into the next moment,
Until we claim for ourselves
Awareness and gratitude,
Taking the time to look into one another’s faces
And see there communion: the reflection of our own eyes.
This house of laughter and silence, memory and hope, is hallowed by our presence together.
HYMN #188 Come, Come, Whoever you Are
In Between by Kate Walker
In between, liminal, that space where we wait.
Between moments; events, results, action, no action.
To stand on the threshold, waiting for something to end,
And something new to arrive, a pause in the rumble of time.
Awareness claims us, alert, a shadow of something different.
In between invitation and acceptance.
In between symptom and diagnosis.
In between send and receipt of inquiry and question.
In between love given and love received.
Liminality, a letting go, entering into confusion,
ambiguity and disorientation.
A ritual begun, pause … look back at what once was,
Look forward into what becomes.
Identity sheds a layer, reaches into something uncomfortable to wear.
In between lighting of the match and the kindling of oil.
In between choosing of text and the reading of words.
In between voices and notes carried through the air into ears to hear.
In between creation thrusts ever forward.
Social hierarchies may disassemble and structures may fall.
Communities may revolt or tempt trust.
Tradition may falter or creativity crashes forward.
Leaders may step down or take charge.
The people may choose or refuse.
In between, storm predicted, the horizon beacons.
In between, theology of process reminds us to step back.
In between, where minutia and galaxies intermingle with microbes and mysteries.
In between, liminal, that space where we wait: Look, listen, feel, breathe.
1 Samuel 3:1-11Samuel’s Vision
Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord under Eli. The word of the Lord was rare in those days; visions were not widespread.
2 At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his room; 3 the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was. 4 Then the Lord called, “Samuel! Samuel!”[a] and he said, “Here I am!” 5 and ran to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call; lie down again.” So he went and lay down. 6 The Lord called again, “Samuel!” Samuel got up and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.” 7 Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. 8 The Lord called Samuel again, a third time. And he got up and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the boy. 9 Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down; and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
10 Now the Lord came and stood there, calling as before, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” 11 Then the Lord said to Samuel, “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make both ears of anyone who hears of it tingle.”
HYMN #352Find a Stillness
STORY FOR ALL AGES
By Barbara O’Brien, adapted by Emily DeTar Birt
This is the story of the Buddha seeking Enlightenment, and how he discovered the Middle Way.
Once he had discovered the truth about life and suffering, Siddhartha sought out one yoga teacher and then another one, mastering what they taught him and then moving on.
Then, with five companions, for five or six years he engaged in rigorous asceticism. He tortured himself, held his breath, and fasted until his ribs stuck out "like a row of spindles" and he could almost feel his spine through his stomach.
Yet enlightenment seemed no closer.
Then he remembered something. Once as a boy, while sitting under a rose apple tree on a beautiful day, he had spontaneously experienced great bliss and entered the first dhyana, meaning he was absorbed in a deep meditative state.
He realized then that this experienced showed him the way to realization. Instead of punishing his body to find release from the confines of the self, he would work with his own nature and practice purity of mental defilements to realize enlightenment.
He knew then that he would need physical strength and better health to continue. About this time a young girl came by and offered the emaciated Siddhartha a bowl of milk and rice. When his companions saw him eating solid food they believed he had given up the quest, and they abandoned him.
At this point, Siddhartha had realized the path to awakening was a "middle way" between extremes of the self-denial he had been practicing with his group of ascetics and the self-indulgence of the life he had been born into.
We too, do not need extremes to be able to be creative or to find enlightenment and truth. We need both the strength of our bodies, and the freedom of our minds.
By Mary Oliver
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through a desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain are moving across the landscapes, over the prairies and the deep trees, the mountains and the river.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lovely, the world offers itself to your imagination, call to you like wild geese, harsh and exciting - over and over again announcing your place in the family of things.
CANDLES OF JOY AND CONCERN
Those who are so moved are now invited to come forward to light a candle, expressing a joy or concern in their lives. As you do, you may briefly share what it is. We ask that people coming forward speak for no more than a sentence or two, and speak from the heart about issues in their lives, rather than political issues, which we can take up at coffee hour or in the parking lot.
"The Creative Spirit"
by Peggy Clarke, Minister, First Unitarian Society of Westchester, Hastings on Hudson, New York
My son is in kindergarten. Every morning before we leave for school, I check his backpack for the essentials—a sweater, a snack packed neatly in his Star Wars lunch box, an empty water bottle to be filled up at school, some toy cars in case he gets bored on the bus ride home, and one blue, plastic folder, standard issue for every kindergardener. It gets put into the back pack empty each morning and in the afternoon, it returns filled with papers. Sometimes there are flash cards with new sight words or a note from the school about an upcoming assembly.
But every day, without exception, there’s paper colored with crayons or glitter or something else to give it flare. Which means that in class every day, without exception, each six-year-old has a reason to draw something, to paint something, to cut shapes from colored paper and paste it onto something. And every day that blue folder is filled with treasures of the day’s lessons and adventures—pictures of butterflies emerging from a cocoon, of the Earth rotating around the sun, or maybe of horses flying in a jungle made of lollipops.
If you ask my son what he can draw, he’ll say, “Anything. What do you want? Want to see me riding my bicycle over an ocean? Or Grandma learning ninja moves from her cats? Or how about daddy playing soccer against a team of tigers in space?” He can do it all. And, at six years old, he’s encouraged to do it. It’s part of the day’s curriculum. They learn math and reading and science and they play outdoors and they color and paint and glue things. Hanging in every cubby is a smock ready on a moment’s notice.
In Kindergarten, everything you need is one room. There’s paint and music and room to dance, there are science experiments and lab equipment and materials to read and write and sing and build. Those things are also available in middle school and high school and college, but they are in different rooms, maybe different buildings, and as we get older, we limit who has access to them. The older we get, the more specialized and focused. This room is for painting and that room is for singing, and science experiments are done over there.
And, with each passing year, we discern—generally for ourselves but sometimes for each other—who belongs in which room. Are you a singer? Can you dance? Can you act? Can you draw? That’s your room over there. Or, maybe you need to find another building. Our birthright as artists and dreamers is drained away from us.
Daydreaming is part of the creative process. I spend a lot of time daydreaming. I imagine beautiful old houses and I decorate them in my mind. Ceilings, walls, windows, floors, furniture. I imagine textures and colors and scents in each room. The other direction my daydreams take is imagining the perfect community. It’s always attached to a farm where animals are safe, a place people can work and be cared for, a place everyone is getting what they need. I create this beloved community in my mind over and over again.
Daydreaming is a critical part of the creative process and a key to how we survive a world that can be cold and lonely and frightening. It’s how we know where we want to go and how we’re going to get there. It’s the door into whatever is next.
The other day I called a man I know. This man is at the top of his game, well known and respected in his field. He’s met with the pope and the Dalai Lama and recently turned down an invitation to the White House because he had something more important to do. When I called his cell phone, he answered but sounded a little dazed. He then confessed he’d been daydreaming. I laughed and apologized for interrupting the most important thing he’d do all day. He didn’t get it and responded by saying, “I hope not,” but I actually meant it.
I think that for this man to do all he does, to imagine the world a better place, to build the world we all dream about, he’s going to need to do a whole lot of daydreaming. He got thousands of people to St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican for a massive demonstration of support for the Pope’s recent encyclical “Laudato Si’—On Care For Our Common Home”. You might have seen it on TV or read about it. The only way for that to happen is to be willing to dream big, to let your imagination run free.
Daydreaming isn’t a waste of time; it’s the mandatory preliminary action without which nothing else can be done. First, we dream. First, we imagine Beloved Community. First, we let ourselves believe that what we wish can be.
Trusting our creativity and indulging our imagination is our only option if we want transformation, if we want to build the new world that exists in our dreams.
HYMN #194 Faith is a Forest
By Emily DeTar Birt, and Romans 12:2
As it says in Romans, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds”
Let us continue to encourage our day-dreaming, our creative meditative seeds of the spirit, so we may all be transformed and so we can all help transform our world.
Blessed be and Amen.