SUMMER SOLSTICE ~ CELEBRATING LITHA
Monday, June 20, 2016 at 6:34 PM EDT
Welcome & Announcements
Chalice Lighting & Opening Words for the Summer Solstice
We come together this morning as celebrants, as seekers and companions. We enter into this, the longest day, joyfully, allowing ourselves the beauty of this time together in which we may rest our cares and sorrows, and allow our hearts and spirits to be uplifted.
I invite you to take a deep breath, drink in the beauty and community that surrounds you in this place, and as you release it, become centered here, in the now.
Intergenerational Time – “Slowcoach Sunflower”
Singing the Children to Childcare
Joy & Concerns
“SHARE THE PLATE” Recipient
UPAWS – a local non-profit organization run and staffed by your neighbors. decisions on caring for homeless, unwanted, abandoned and abused domestic animals are based on what they believe is best for them. There is no affiliation with any larger group and they receive no funding from any larger group that might influence our decisions or actions.
Offertory Words – in OoS
Offertory Music – “Time Passes Slowly”
Meditation on the Four Directions
In the pagan tradition, which is grounded in a respect and reverence for the natural world, calling upon the four directions is the usual way to begin any ceremony. Each direction is associated with an element of the natural world, and represents some part of our human nature as well. The directions are not seen as separate and isolated, but rather as part of the interdependent system that makes up the world. Here on our altar, we have the symbolic elements for each direction, and we will walk through the meanings associated with each direction before entering into a time of meditation.
We begin in the East, toward the rising sun. The element of the east is air, represented on our altar by a feather. Air and breath give us life. It is the direction of inspiration – the word that literally means to take in air. The east is associated with the mind, with knowledge and learning and intellectual curiosity. Imagine the birds, turning and wheeling in the air, imagine the breeze blowing through your hair. Turning toward the east, we look for a fresh start, an invigorating breath, a new idea. When you are feeling stuck in a rut, beholden to a routine, or if the wind has gone out of your sails, look eastward.
We move around the wheel to the south. The element of the south is fire, and in the southern place on our altar the flame of our chalice burns bright. Fire is a transformative force, it is heat and light and powerful change. In the Northern Hemisphere, it makes sense that we associate the south, towards the equator, with the warmth of the sun and the heat of the flame. We see birds move south, butterflies move south, whales move south, seeking warmer places when the weather gets cold. When our internal weather gets cold, turning south is a metaphor for turning toward warmth and daylight, seeking out the changes that will warm us up, get our blood moving, call us out of our winters, out of hibernation, into action.
Continuing around the circle, we arrive in the west. The element of the west is water, and here on our altar we have some of the water collected at our Ingathering services each September. We add to this water each year, symbolizing the way we come together in our community as individual drops join into a mighty river. In the west, we are drawn into the experience of our emotions. It is a direction that calls us to self-reflection and self-understanding. Our emotions move in us like water, flowing through our lives, sometimes calm and sometimes turbulent, but always flowing. When we dam up our feelings, just like when we dam up a river, the pressure builds until it finds an outlet. If you are seeking to get in touch with your inner life, with your emotions, turn towards the west.
We move now to the North. The element of the North is earth, represented here by some dirt from our very own garden. There is stability here, the ground of our being. The north represents the place that holds us, that allows us time and space to heal and grow, to feel nurtured and respected. It is also the place of embodiment, of connecting with our physical self, with the concrete, tangible world around us. The north calls to you if you are seeking balance, the deep wisdom that lives in your bones, a place of rest and recovery.
We have moved through these four directions, given them shape and meaning:
East: Air, breath and inspiration.
South: Fire, transformation and action.
West: Water, feeling and reflection.
North: Earth, balance and wisdom.
Now, I invite you to turn toward the direction that calls to you today. You can stay in your seat, you can stand, you can turn your head or your whole body, but orient yourself toward the one of the directions, the element that speaks to you and your life right now, and when I ring the bowl gong, we will enter into two minutes of silent meditation.
MESSAGE OF THE MORNING
HAPPY FATHER’S DAY
Tomorrow, June 20 @ 6:37pm EST is the Summer Solstice, when the sun reaches it’s zenith and makes for the longest day of the year.
Rev. Dr. Lynn Ungar
Minister for Lifespan Learning and Quest Magazine Editor at Church of the Larger Fellowship
It’s always felt a little strange to me that summer begins at the solstice, the longest day of the year. Shouldn’t the longest day mark the middle of summer, the high point from which we begin the long slide toward winter? And yet, from here the days get warmer, if not longer, the grass drier, the trees dustier. Our children have not yet begun to get bored (with any luck), and (with any luck) we are moving toward times of vacation and respite, not looking back on them.
Somehow the summer solstice manages to be both a beginning and a mid-point, the start of the line and the apex of the curve. But isn’t that just the way of things? Don’t beginnings, middles and ends turn out to be far more muddled than we ever imagined? The loss of a job feels like the world is crashing to an end, but turns out to be the seed of a new career. The beginning of high school turns out to be the end of childhood. The middle part of our lives is already arriving when we feel like we’re just starting to catch on to what it means to be married or a parent or a person with a career.
And, of course, the endings, middles and beginnings all overlap. We become passionate about a new hobby at the same time that we are comfortably in the middle of a career path, or we welcome a new baby as a parent is coming to the end of their own life. Only in the calendar do we have the chance to neatly mark the seasons, to declare when exactly one thing starts and the other leaves off.
In fact, what the calendar does is merely to assign names and numbers to the fact that change is part of the natural order. The seasons will move along in their predictable courses, but on any given day the weather will probably be hotter or colder, calmer or stormier than you might have expected. Making patterns is what we do in hindsight. Living is what we do in the moment, dealing with the elements of each day as it comes along.
But the choices we make in each moment are what build the patterns, what allow us to look back and say “That was the summer of my life.” The poet Marge Piercy writes “…We start where we find ourselves, at this time and place. Which is always the crossing of roads that began beyond the earth’s curve but whose destination we can now alter.”
Thank you Rev. Dr. Ungar
Here at MqtUU we will be celebrating our 10th Anniversary in this building this August. We had a new beginning, we have since experienced a peak in membership and presently our numbers and member participation and support is declining especially noticed during the summer…
Along with the daily obligations of work and cleaning house, and so many other responsibilities we are also figuring out how to keep the kids busy during the summer months, some are planning and going on vacation, or attending conferences, some of us have been tilling the garden bed, planting seeds, weeding and watering with great hopes of a bountiful harvest in the fall… let us take this time to consider WHAT we as members of the MqtUU Congregation, have given to GROW, SUPPORT & NURTURE this community, how we will continue to dedicate our time, talents and treasures to growing and supporting our relationships with one another, with the congregation and with the Marquette community.
As we work to weed and water our gardens let us plant seeds in the hearts and minds of our family members, friends and neighbors who may be seeking for themselves a life of truth and meaning. Share with them our 7 Principles, what they mean and why they are important to you. Invite them to our Meeting House, for all are welcome every Sunday. Share with them what good you have found within these walls and within the relationships you have with other UUs. As you would nurture the seedlings in the garden, encouraging the plants to grow and bear fruit, be there to answer questions that may come up as they ponder “The Good News” that there may be a place that welcomes them, understands their doubt, encourages their questions and supports them on their path to spiritual growth. And return in the fall, during Harvest time as we come together as community for Water Communion. Invite them to our Meeting House, for the Open House, Wednesday, September 14th @ 5pm- 8pm for which we will send out invitations to our neighbors and surrounding community…
THANK YOU Mike Erdmann, and the others who have given up their mornings on the last Saturday of the past months for Congregation Work Days, …check out the proposal for the new sign…
As Rev. Ungar says …Let us start where we find ourselves, at this time and place, a crossing of roads…whose destination we can now alter.” One road may lead to a congregation that continues to diminish in size, and quality of programming leading to disappointment, frustration, a few committed members getting burnt out and wondering if the continuing struggle is worth the effort…the other road, a road on which we Rekindle the Fire of Commitment to working the soil, planting the seeds, watering and weeding, a road that we walk with pride, full of gratitude and a willingness to share the “Good News of UUs” the good news of a welcoming congregation full of members that are there for one another in times of joy, sorrow, and doubt, a road on which we live our Third Principle: Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations! So that in the fall, the start of a new “Church Year” and many seasons to come we may bask in the bountiful harvest of a growing congregation and feel secure in knowing this place, this Beloved Community will continue to not only to survive but thrive to support and encourage us on our search for truth and meaning and nurture our spiritual growth.
A Blessed Summer Solstice to you
and best wishes for a bountiful Harvest!
“Sunflowers” by Dylan Trost
AN ENDING, OR MERELY PRELUDE TO MORE GLORIOUS BEGINNINGS?
We have reached the end of this time
For the gathering of memory
And for letting the imagination play with future possibilities.
We have enjoyed magic moments and edified each other.
Shall it be concluded, then?
Or will this adventure, now commenced, continue?—
Our separate paths converging, meeting, merging
In the unending quest for love more perfect,
The joyous struggle for meaning more sufficient and life more abundant.
Is this ending to be an ending,
Or merely prelude to new, more glorious beginnings?
I pose the question;
In your hearts lies the answer.
Extinguish the Chalice
We extinguish this flame, but not the light of truth, the warmth of community, or the fire of commitment, rekindled is necessary and carry these in your heart until we meet again.