by Tracie Craighead
Good morning and welcome to UUCC’s virtual service. I’m glad you are here today.
Today’s topic could be considered controversial but in no way do I consider it inflammatory. Since it is pre-recorded, I have gotten to hear it already and I found it deeply thought provoking. I don’t necessarily agree with everything Ric says and you may not either. That’s ok. His talk is well researched, honestly presented and very appropriate in today’s political and cultural climate. There is much value in what he will share with us today.
As we enter into our worship today, I am going to ask you to be vulnerable; to be honest; to be open. Last week’s topic focused on diversity and there was a lot of focus on race in that service. Deanna asked us to self analyze and honestly question ourselves. It was a challenging topic. Afterward, the discussion in reflections was varied but I sensed a lot of tightness and constriction–a lot of defensiveness.
I get it. Race is a HARD topic. There is so, so much to consider and we all have a lifetime of experiences and beliefs that have shaped our viewpoints. We become defensive because we are truly doing the best that we know to do. Meditation teacher Jeff Warren compares this defensiveness to a clenched fist—it is so tight and seized up that it becomes unable to hold anything anymore. If we become like that fist, our potential for growth withers away.
What I am asking of you today, is that you open up that clenched fist. Take off any armor that you have built up and be soft, be raw, be open. Friends, there is power and courage in vulnerability. Our society and our world looks at being vulnerable as a weakness and it is very hard to survive out there, day to day, if we are vulnerable. But here, in this community, it is ok to be soft. At least it is the safest place that I know to try it. It is not comfortable; it is not easy. But it is vital if we are going to experience spiritual growth and compassionate living.
We gather as an inclusive community to inspire spiritual growth, compassionate living and joyful service.
Out of the flames of fear- We rise with courage of our deepest convictions to stand for justice, inclusion and peace
Out of the flames of scrutiny- We rise to proclaim our faith With hope to heal a fractured and hurting world
Out of the flames of doubt- We rise to embrace the mystery, wonder and awe of all there is and all that is yet to be
Out of the flames of hate- We rise with the force of love, Love that celebrates our shared humanity
Out of the flames we rise
I Know This Rose Will Open
Joys and Sorrows
As we enter into this portion or our service where we are invited to drop a pebble into the water with words or in silence, I would like to share a reading…
“Separate Truths” by Penny Hackett-Evans
Each of us brings a separate truth here.
We bring the truth of our own life, our own story.
We don’t come as empty vessels.
But rather we come as full people . . .
people who have our own story and our own truth.
We seek to add to our truths and add to our stories.
This room is rich with truth, rich with experiences.
All manner of people are here:
Needy… joyful … frightened … anxious … bored.
We all bring truth with us.
May we all recognize the truth and the story in everyone’s life.
And may we hear and honor the truths that we all bring
as we gather together.
Together we have truth.
Together we have a story.
Together we have community.
I invite you to drop a pebble for your truth, your story if you choose to do so. You may speak to your truth or you may just request it be dropped in silence.
Our congregation is entirely self-governed and financially supported by the voluntary generosity of our members and friends. To this end, let there be an offering to sustain the work of this beloved community.
Extinguishing the Chalice (# 456)
We extinguish this flame but not the light of truth, the warmth of community or the fire of commitment. These we carry in our hearts until we are together again
Where Do We Come From (start at 1:23) Glen Thomas Rideout video