Tag Archive | water communion

Water and Stones UUP 9/11/16

 

water-stones_2896410

Come in today, come in.

Come in peace, come in hope.

Come in sadness and in despair

Bring all that you carry

And all that you are.

Know you are welcome here.

 

Come in this morning,

And let your tears flow

In memory and pain.

Let the gentle waters of the spirit,

Soothe you and heal you

As you drink your fill

Of community and of hope.

 

The river of life flows on

With the force of all our yearnings.

The strong stones of our journeys

Build the pathways to our healing.

 

Come in peace, come in hope

Come in sadness and in despair

May our thirst be quenched

May we all find the strength

To meet hate with love

And carry the blessing into the world.

 

Amen and blessed be.

  

Children’s Reflection

Some of you were here a couple of weeks ago when I talked to you about John Murray and how he did not believe in hell.  Do any of you remember that?  I heard afterward that some of the younger people were a little confused about the idea of hell, and weren’t really sure what “hell” means.  I think that this congregation takes Murray’s “Give them hope not hell” pretty seriously.   That is a very good thing, but just so you know, some people, some religions, believe that people who do bad things are punished by God after they die in a place they call hell. Unitarian Universalists rarely believe in that kind of god.  I am not at all sure what, if anything, happens to us after we die, but I think it is just the same for all of us. We might become part of a larger spirit, or maybe we simply return to the earth to be reborn in another form.  Maybe a flower or a tree, maybe a squirrel or even a bug.  Who knows for sure? There is no punishment after death though, that doesn’t make any sense to me.

I think people created the idea of hell because sometimes people do really bad things that hurt other people. When someone does something bad it is easy to get angry at them and want to hurt them back.  If we can’t punish them ourselves, we want God to do it.

Today is our water and stones service, a time when we gather together as a community in preparation for the fall and the coming year.  This year it is also the 15th anniversary of a day when some people did some really bad, really terrible things.  On September 11, 2001, they flew airplanes into buildings in New York and in Washington DC and killed a lot of people.

Those of us who were alive on that day will never forget it.  Those of you who don’t remember it at all may want to talk to your parents or the people who care for you about it more later.  It was a terrible and a very sad day.  It is important, I think, to cry when bad things happen and when people are hurt.  Tears can help us heal and go on and find hope again.

The choir is going to sing a song for us now about finding hope, about opening the windows of our hearts and letting peace and love inside.

I may ask you to come up again and help me later in the service, if you’d like to do that, but for now, you can go back and sit with your families.

 

Reflection 2 prayer

Open the window, let the dove fly in.

A dove is, of course, a symbol of peace. We need more peace in the world and in our own lives.  It is so easy to feel despair when so many terrible things happen.  Relationships fall apart, jobs are lost, we are bullied at school, the rent goes up, and people we love can die. Then there are mostly random events like earthquakes, floods, fires, hurricanes and tornados. Humans also create suffering for ourselves and others by things we both do and do not do. Global climate change is already killing people, and it will get much worse if we don’t act more decisively to protect our planet.  What really breaks our hearts, however, is the pain and suffering that is intentional.

Today is the 15th anniversary of a planned mass murder.  It wasn’t the first, and as we know too well, it wasn’t and won’t be the last.  From slavery and the genocide of indigenous peoples, to Sandy Hook, Oklahoma City, Boston, and Orlando.  I can’t list them all, there are too many, even limiting it to the United States.  That alone is heartbreaking, and I haven’t even mentioned war, but I should.  We have to name the Holocaust as well.

The horror of what people can do to other human beings gives us so much to weep about, so much to fear.  When I feel overwhelmed by all that is going on in the world, I hear echoes of the Hebrew Prophet Jeremiah, crying out,

Is there no balm in Gilead, Is there no physician there?

So why is there no healing for my people?

His cry is our cry, aren’t we all looking for a balm to ease our suffering?  For a physician to heal our wounds and the wounds of our world?

One of my favorite theologians, Mr. Rodgers, said that when something bad is happening, to look for the helpers, because they are always there.  As Unitarian Universalists, we pride ourselves on being helpers.  In a couple of weeks, I will talk about what some of us did during the Holocaust to try and help.

When we are in trouble, if we can, we also reach out and take the hand of another person.  We just hold on, as tight as we can, feeling that human connection.

 

One memory of September 11th that stays with me is the images I saw of people either jumping or falling from one of the towers before it collapsed.  The images were tiny, but you could tell they were people.  Two of them were holding hands as they fell.  We don’t know who they were, how could we?  Were they coworkers, friends, strangers, or lovers?  We don’t know their religion, race, sexual orientation, immigration status, or gender identity.  We don’t know what jobs they had or how much money they were making.  None of that really matters.  They were two people who held onto each other.  It did not save their lives, but I believe it gave them strength.

I also believe that religious communities such as this one can give us each the strength we need to face whatever comes, to work as helpers to try and heal some of the hurt in the world.  Our tears are healing too as they wash over our wounds with a gentle salt caress.

Will you pray with me?

Divine Spirit,

Hold us as we weep and give us the strength and courage to do what we can to help heal this broken world. We are grateful for communities such as this one that offer comfort and meaning in confusing and even terrifying times.

We are grateful for the water that quenches our thirst and grows the plants that become our food. But mostly, we are grateful for the beloved companions who travel with us on this journey we call life.

We pray that those who hunger might someday have their fill. We pray that all will someday understand that we are all connected, that no one should be left out, that every drop of water and every single soul matters.

We also offer prayers this for members and friends of this community:

We pray for all who are suffering in body or in spirit.  We pray that they might soon find both comfort and healing.

If there are other people who should be mentioned, in prayer or in gratitude, please say their names now, just their names.

Blessings on all who have been named and upon all who have named them.  May peace be with you.

We will now have a time of silence for your personal prayer or meditation.  Silence, BELL

 

Blessings on this Church and upon our wider communities! Blessings on the world and all its creatures! Blessing on all of us. Namaste.  Hymn #95 there is more love

Ritual

This ritual is for young and old, for rich and poor, for gay and straight, for the able and less able, for people of all backgrounds, races, and situations.  It is for founding members and first time visitors.

One of my favorite poems is I’ve Know Rivers by Langston Hughes, an African American poet from the Harlem renaissance of the 1920’s and also a gay man. It is in our hymnal #528.  Let’s read it together.

I’ve known rivers:

I’ve know rivers ancient as the

World and older than the flow of

Human blood in human veins.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

I bathed in the Euphrates when

dawns were young.

I built my hut near the Congo and

It lulled me to sleep.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

I looked upon the Nile and raised

The pyramids above it.

I heard the singing of the

Mississippi when Abe Lincoln

Went down to New Orleans and

I’ve seen its muddy bosom turn

All golden in the sunset.

I’ve know rivers:

Ancient dusky rivers.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

Our souls grow deep, I believe, when we become more aware of our connections. Souls, like rivers, cannot stand still, movement, change is in their very nature.  Just as rivers seek the sea, we humans seek connection with something greater than ourselves.

One of our tasks, as human beings, and collectively as a religious community, is to deepen our souls, to increase our understanding, and to move forward toward that transformative moment when we know that we are not alone.  That no one is alone.  We are somebody, each of us, and just like in our opening hymn. And in our final hymn this morning we will sing about the peace, the sorrow, the joy, the pain, the love, the tears, and the strength each of us has within us.  When we share our tears and our strengths, they fill us and bind us together as we move toward that deep sea of mutual care and understanding.  All of it, all of the individual drops of our complicated lives come together and create the spirit of life that can both heal and transform. It is then we really feel the power of the river, the power of love.  It is a wellspring of the spirit that calls us to drink deeply and be satisfied and renewed. Some of you may have brought water or a stone with you today that you collected from somewhere special to you. Some of you may have forgotten or simply didn’t know that we would be doing this today.  No worries, we have extra water and extra stones.     In a minute, I will invite each of you to come forward to add some water to this vase (bowl?).  This is a sacred and quiet ritual.  After the service there will be plenty of time to share your summer adventures with your friends. Today, let the water you pour symbolize the tears you have shed in your life and offer that sadness and grief into the care of this community.  Add your water without any words if that feels right or, if you are so moved, perhaps whisper a word or two that describes what you are feeling or who you are remembering.  Jesus will be playing while we do this, so not everyone will hear whatever words may be spoken, but we will all be holding on to each other, with the fullest attention of our hearts. After you have added some water, move to the altar that has the stones and add one to symbolize the strength you have within you and the faith in the power of the love that sustains us all.    After you have placed your stone, please select a different one to take with you.  Keep it warm in your hand as you return to your seats. Keep it to remind you of the strength we can find together.

Ritual blessing       Now we will bless this water and these stones. (Children) Blessed be this water gathered here from far and near;Blessed be these stones, strong and solid as the earth. Blessed be those whose lives are lived like flowing springs, and those who are steady as a rock. Blessed be this community of memory and hope, which in its coming together, in joy and sorrow, in struggle and in triumph, makes this water and these stones holy. We bless this water. (say it with me)We bless this water.And for the stones that are on this altar and the ones we are holding in our hands.We bless these stones. (say it with me) We bless these stones.

 

Gathering of the Waters – 9/7/14 Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists

dry lake

Opening Words: 

Come in peace, come in hope.

We welcome all:

The thirsty and searching,

The steadfast and stalwart,

We welcome the stubborn and the strange.

You are not a stranger here.

First time visitor or charter member,

This place, this time is for you.

Your precious spirit is a blessing to the world.

Your unique gifts, your joys and your sorrows,

Your strengths, your weaknesses,

Your worries and your ideas,

All have a place within these walls.

Come in this morning,

Let the gentle waters of the larger spirit,

Soothe you and heal you.

Shed your tears,

And drink your fill.

We come together

Pausing for a moment

Our busy, separate lives.

We come to worship

In song, in words, in silence, and in ritual.

The river flows on with the force of all our yearnings.

Come in peace, come in hope.

Let our thirst be quenched this day,

That we may have the strength

To carry the water of life to the wider world.

Amen and blessed be.

Reflection:

Reflection:

 

Today is our water communion Sunday; something this fellowship has been doing each fall for quite some time. It is not an ancient tradition, however. It was created in 1980 at the Women & Religion continental convocation and it is a celebration of both community and of what each individual brings to that community.

Over time, the tradition changed from one that contained deep spiritual meaning to one that was fun in some ways, but also quite problematic. People would come forward and add water to the common bowl, saying where it was from. Unfortunately this rather quickly turned into “what I did on my summer vacation.” Sometimes people even competed to bring water from as far away as possible. It wasn’t very spiritual or meaningful at all and tended to privilege those who could afford an expensive summer vacation.

I understand that Rev. Joy did this service a little differently last year and today we are going to try yet another way. See how it feels to you.

This ritual really is for young and old, for rich and poor, for gay and straight, for the able and less able, for people of all backgrounds, races, and situations. It is for founding members and first time visitors. The water will be poured into a common bowl symbolizing that whoever we are, that for whatever reason we have come here this morning, we bring with us something of value, something to be treasured, and something to be shared. Some of the water will be used to water the plants in our garden, but some will be saved both for next year and to use in special ceremonies such as child dedications.  Water is a wonderful symbol, a wonderful metaphor. Single drops of water, over time, can change the hardest stone. The power of water is even greater when those drops are gathered together and flow as one, one stream, one river, and one ocean. Water is essential to life. Without it we would die. People need access to water in order to survive. Community is also essential to our lives as human beings. Without human contact, the soul withers and dies. Times of solitude can be good for self-reflection, but long lasting solitary confinement is one of the worst punishments that have ever been devised.

One of my favorite poems is I’ve Know Rivers by Langston Hughes, an African American poet from the Harlem renaissance of the 1920’s and also a gay man. It is in our hymnal #528. Let’s read it together.

 

I’ve known rivers:

I’ve know rivers ancient as the

World and older than the flow of

Human blood in human veins.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

 

I bathed in the Euphrates when

dawns were young.

I built my hut near the Congo and

It lulled me to sleep.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

 

I looked upon the Nile and raised

The pyramids above it.

I heard the singing of the

Mississippi when Abe Lincoln

Went down to New Orleans and

I’ve seen its muddy bosom turn

All golden in the sunset.

I’ve know rivers:

Ancient dusky rivers.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

Our souls grow deep, I believe, when we become more aware of our connections. Souls, like rivers, cannot stand still, movement, change is in their very nature. Just as rivers seek the sea, we humans seek connection with something greater than ourselves. One of our tasks, as human beings, and collectively as a religious community, is to deepen our souls, to increase our understanding, and to move forward toward that transformative moment when we know that we are not alone. That no one is alone. Just like in our opening hymn, the peace, the sorrow, the joy, the pain, the love, the tears, and the strength each of us has within us, fills us and binds us together as we move toward the sea of mutual care and understanding.  All of it, all of the individual drops of our complicated lives come together and create the spirit of life that can both heal and transform. It is then we really feel the power of the river, the power of love. It is a wellspring of the spirit that calls us to drink deeply and be satisfied and renewed.It comforts us when we are lonely and gives us the strength to work for justice.

Some of you may have brought water with you today that you gathered from somewhere special to you. If you have done that, please think for a minute about the moment you gathered that water. What did you feel? Perhaps the water is from a distant place, a river, lake, or ocean. Maybe it is from a drinking fountain or from your kitchen.  If you forgot to bring water or if you simply didn’t know that we would be doing this today, we have some water here for you to use. Think about where you would have collected water; think about what might have been meaningful to you. Water is precious, no matter where it is from. Too many in our world do not have access to clean and safe drinking water. Too many people are hungry.

People are precious. Too many in our world do not have access to a caring and inclusive religious community. It takes many drops of water to form a river and it takes many individuals to form a community, to form a congregation. As we gather the water together this morning, let us remember to share the best of ourselves with each other and to hold each other in tenderness. It is each of us singly and together that create this community, and it is together that we make this ceremony sacred and holy. I invite you each to think for a moment about what you bring with you today, something that is important, that is in your soul, in your heart, something that makes you the individual you are, precious and holy. You don’t have to name this in words; it can just be a feeling, maybe a hope that has rested quietly inside of you, maybe a passion, a yearning, whatever your heart, your spirit suggests.

If you have found something, a feeling, whatever it is, even if is a sense of confusion, consider it as a gift, an offering, a blessing that you bring to both this community and to the planet. If you haven’t found it yet, continue to let your mind and emotions swirl around it. Something will come to you. Each of you has something very special inside of you that can give you the power to bless the world. Maybe it is a type of energy that can feel like a refreshing rain, and perhaps it is the simple tears of tenderness and longing.

Holly will begin playing some music in a moment. First I will add the water in this small vial. It was given to me at the UU Church of Ogden during my last Sunday service there. It contains a mixture of almost 25 years of their water communions. This congregation is now connected to them. They grew me into the minister I am today and those dear souls now minister to you through me.  Then, I will invite each of you to come forward to share your gift of the spirit as you add your own water to the bowl.  First the elders and then the children, and then the rest of you.  Add your water without words if that feels right or, if you want, perhaps whisper a word or two that describes what you are feeling. Holly will be playing while we do this, so not everyone will hear whatever words may be spoken, but we will all be listening to each other, with the fullest attention of our hearts.

 

Conversation on Class – Water Communion

Many of our congregations hold a water communion on a Sunday in late summer or early fall.  We did ours today.  The ritual can be moving if it works to build a sense of beloved, inclusive, community.  The metaphor of water is easy to do that with, every drop is important, no matter who you are you add something that enriches us all.

I have grown to love the water communion, but I used to hate it.

I still hate it when everyone in the congregation gets up and tells  long rambling stories about where they collected their water.  It is a worst nightmare version of joys and sorrows.  (I also don’t like joys and sorrows, but that is a different post).

The worst part about it is when people are bragging about where they went on their summer vacation.  “Oh, this is water from the river Jordan.” If people have no money and no time off because they work at low paying lousy jobs with no vacation time or benefits, they don’t need to hear someone gloat about their  world travels in a church service.  The minister or worship leader always says the water could be from your backyard, but that doesn’t help that much when most people seem to be talking about places like a beach somewhere in Tahiti.  The water communion as practiced in some of our churches is elitist and classist.

Some vacation stories might be OK for coffee hour conversations, but they are definitely NOT Ok for worship.  Even at coffee hour, I hope the conversation doesn’t go, “I went to Greece, Italy and Spain over the summer.  Where did you go? ”  It is hard to answer that without feeling the class differences.  Maybe all you did was go camping at a nearby park, or maybe you went nowhere at all.  Not everyone gets vacation time and not everyone who has the time, has the money to travel.  Is that so hard to understand?

We have got to get over the assumption that some of us have that our congregations are composed entirely of upper middle class professionals.  One, it isn’t true.  It is a myth.  There are poor and working class people in most every UU congregation, but in too many they are quiet about it because of shame and the fear of rejection.  And two, if we act like that is the reality we will in the process drive a lot of good folks away.

My other pet peeve is calling the water communion service, ingathering or homecoming Sunday.  The terms probably date back to when most of our New England churches closed for the summer because  “everyone”  was gone (because “everyone” could afford to the leave the heat of the city?).   Some of our churches still do that, even in the west, and some of the “summer services” in some of our congregations are simply dreadful.  They are not worship, in any sense of that word.  It may in fact be better to close than offer something that resembles a lecture or a living room rap sessions.  Yes, ministers tend to take some vacation time during the summer, but there is no reason lay led services can’t be of excellent quality.

The terms “Ingathering” and “Homecoming” also imply that most people went away and that many of them did not attend all summer long.  That just isn’t true anymore and it devalues those folks that faithfully attended throughout the summer.

I do understand that the fall signals the “New Church Year.” Programing picks up and formal religious exploration classes begin again.  It is the beginning of school for families with children.  It is a lovely time to dedicate new board members and teachers.  It is also the time of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah,  and yes, the Days of Awe are well worth mentioning in a religious community.

But ingathering?  How does that sound if you didn’t go anywhere? Homecoming?  What if you have been home all summer?

We need to start examining what we call things and how we do things through the filter of class awareness.   Habit is not an excuse.  “We have always called it that, we have always done it that way,” is perhaps an explanation, but it is not a reason to continue to do so.  “Susan will be disappointed and upset if she doesn’t get to say where her water comes from,” may be a true statement.  But much better to disappoint some people than to send an unspoken but crystal clear message to others that our community is not for them and that they will never, ever fit in.

We are much, much better than that.

 

See blog post about this topic by other UU ministers:

http://uupatriot.blogspot.com/2013/09/water-and-class.html?spref=fb

https://revamy.wordpress.com/2013/06/13/lifting-water-communion-above-privilege-and-trivia/

Sunday Twitter Feed 9/8/13 #UUogden

Read sermon/reflection (here)

  1. @newnamenoah I like to think of all religions as carrying part of one large truth. And #uuogden shares pieces of all of them.

  2. Many think I’ve “traded one lie for another” in Unitarian Universalism. They obviously know nothing of UU. Check it out. #UUOgden #truth

  3. “My soul has grown deep like the rivers” – Langston Hughes #UUOgden

    Favorited by Debra Jenson

    Expand

  4. @TheresaNovakUU – “If you have regrets, it might be time to let them go.” #UUOgden

  5. Blessings upon those whose names have been raised here in prayer, and especially on those who have no one to raise their name. #uuogden

  6. Mormons have “Popcorn Popping on the Apricot Tree” we have “Peace Like a River” @ #UUOgden #PeaceTrumpsPopcorn

  7. And turn us toward each other, God, for in isolation there is no life. #uuogden

  8. “Exhausted” is an understatement after working three 12+ hour days @SLComicCon but I’m not missing #UUOgden today. pic.twitter.com/1DPEUU8ad0

  9. Gathering of the Waters today @ #UUOgden. Appropriate day for rain. pic.twitter.com/phJOzU0pbx

  10. Almost time – bring some water – it’s raining so that’s easy & bring some nonperishable food to stock our food shelf #uuogden

A River Flowing

We are in the midst today of the High Holy days of the Jewish tradition. The time between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is called the Days of Awe, a time to get right with yourself, your neighbors, and with your God.  If you have regrets, it might be time to let them go.  If you need to make amends to someone you have harmed, this is a good time to do so.

The Days of Awe are annual event and come in season with the fall and with the harvest.

We try to pay attention to the seasons here in this church.  Today we replaced our alter cloths with colors inspired by the autumn.  Take some time this morning to reflect on what the changing season might mean to you.  It is both a beginning and an ending.  It is good to pay attention.

Today is also our annual water communion.  It is not an ancient tradition.  It was created in 1980 at the Women & Religion continental convocation and it is a celebration of both community and of what each individual brings to that community.

 

This ritual is for young and old, for rich and poor, for gay and straight, for the able and less able, for people of all backgrounds, races, and situations.  It is for founding members and first time visitors. The water will be poured into a common bowl symbolizing that whoever we are, that for whatever reason we have come here this morning, we bring with us something of value, something to be treasured, and something to be shared.  The water will be used throughout the coming year in special ceremonies. Some of the water is added each week to the bowl in which we drop stones. It holds our sorrows and our regrets.  It is the image of a spirit of a community that attempts to welcome all, in the fullness of who they are, wherever they happen to be on their life’s journey.

 

Water is a wonderful symbol, a wonderful metaphor. Single drops of water, over time, can change the hardest stone. The power of water is even greater when those drops are gathered together and flow as one, one stream, one river, and one ocean.

 

Water is essential to life.  Without it we would die.  Community is also essential to our lives as human beings.  Without human contact, the soul withers and dies.  Times of solitude can be good for self-reflection, but long lasting solitary confinement is one of the worst punishments that have ever been devised.

 

One of my favorite poems is I’ve Know Rivers by Langston Hughes, an African American poet from the Harlem renaissance of the 1920’s and also a gay man. It is in our hymnal #528.  Let’s read it together.

 

I’ve known rivers:

I’ve know rivers ancient as the

World and older than the flow of

Human blood in human veins.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

 

 

I bathed in the Euphrates when

dawns were young.

I built my hut near the Congo and

It lulled me to sleep.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

 

I looked upon the Nile and raised

The pyramids above it.

I heard the singing of the

Mississippi when Abe Lincoln

Went down to New Orleans and

I’ve seen its muddy bosom turn

All golden in the sunset.

I’ve know rivers:

Ancient dusky rivers.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

 

Our souls grow deep, I believe, when we become more aware of our connections. Souls, like rivers, cannot stand still, movement, change is in their very nature.  Just as rivers seek the sea, we humans seek connection with something greater than ourselves.  One of our tasks, as human beings, and collectively as a religious community, is to deepen our souls, to increase our understanding, and to move forward toward that transformative moment when we know that we are not alone.  That no one is alone.  Just like in our opening hymn, the peace, the sorrow, the joy, the pain, the love, the tears, and the strength each of us has within us, fills us and binds us together as we move toward the sea of mutual care and understanding.

All of it, all of the individual drops of our complicated lives come together and create the spirit of life that can both heal and transform. It is then we really feel the power of the river, the power of love.  It is a wellspring of the spirit that calls us to drink deeply and be satisfied and renewed.

 

This Church has had a Gathering of the Waters service since its very beginning.  Each year we add more water to what has been collected in years past.  It connects our community over time and over space.

 

Some of you may have brought water with you today that you gathered from somewhere special to you.  If you have done that, please think for a minute about the moment you gathered that water.  What did you feel?  Perhaps the water is from a distant place, a river, lake, or ocean.  Maybe it is from a drinking fountain or from your kitchen.

If you forgot to bring water or if you simply didn’t know that we would be doing this today, we have some carafes of water here for you to use.  Think about where you would have collected water; think about what might have been meaningful to you.

 

Water is precious, no matter where it is from.  Too many in our world do not have access to clean and safe drinking water.  Too many people are hungry.  People are precious.  Too many in our world do not have access to a caring and inclusive religious community.

 

It takes many drops of water to form a river and it takes many individuals to form a community, to form a congregation.

 

As we gather the water together this morning, let us remember to share the best of ourselves with each other and to hold each other in tenderness.  It is each of us singly and together that create this community, and it is together that we make this ceremony sacred and holy.

 

I invite you each to think for a moment about what you bring with you today, something that is important, that is in your soul, in your heart, something that makes you the individual you are, precious and holy.  You don’t have to name this in words; it can just be a feeling, maybe a hope that has rested quietly inside of you, maybe a passion, a yearning, whatever your heart, your spirit suggests.

If you have found something, a feeling, whatever it is, even if is a sense of confusion, consider it as a gift, an offering, a blessing that you bring to both this community and to the planet.  If you haven’t found it yet, continue to let your mind and emotions swirl around it.  Something will come to you.  Each of you has something very special inside of you that can give you the power to bless the world. Maybe it is a type of energy that can feel like a refreshing rain, and perhaps it is the simple tears of tenderness and longing.

 

After the musical reflection, I add some of the water that we have gathered over the years to the bowl. Then, I will invite each of you to come forward to share your gift of the spirit as you add your own water to the bowl

First the children and youth may come and after them I will call up our elders.

 

Each of those two groups, the young and the old, has special and unique gifts they bring to this community.  I will invite them to briefly share some of their wisdom with us, if they should feel so moved.

 

After they have returned to their seats, please come forward when you are ready.  If you have brought food for our food shelf, you may bring that forward as well and place it in or near the bin.

 

Add your water without words if that feels right or, if you want, perhaps whisper a word or two that describes what you are feeling.  Nic will be playing while we do this, so not everyone will hear whatever words may be spoken, but we will all be listening to each other, with the fullest attention of our hearts.