Mini Sunday Sermon – Interconnectedness of all Beings, part I

I’m attending a sermon writing workshop led by Kent Doss, the reverend at Tapestry Unitarian Universalist Congregation – not because I plan to deliver sermons but because I’m fascinated how ministers, rabbi’s, priests and preachers write and deliver something inspiring enough to capture the imagination and stir humans to transformative right action. week after week after week which seems a daunting undertaking.  

Our first workshop assignment was to brainstorm topics.  Probably because I spent a large part of my life as a psychotherapist, steeped in life and death matters, I thought up dozens of topics.  Thinking is one thing, writing another . . .  and sermonizing? . .  .

My topic choice was “selected” by two of the participants (who shall remain nameless in case my topic is a bust) as the one that interested them most.  Not sure about the title yet but the theme is the interconnectedness of all beings.  

Here’s the first 5 minutes:

2027-60-640x640

“This limitless universe is like the human body, all the members of which are connected and linked with one another with the greatest strength . . . “   –(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, pp. 245–246)

Sounds lofty but I’ve believed that since childhood.  Don’t know where my belief came from – it wasn’t from any religious leader because I didn’t have any.  Even as a child I had the notion – I hesitate to call it a knowing – that we are all connected. . . that we live a domino life where when one falls we all fall, where one succeeds we all succeed.

My belief probably originated in my own magical thinking.

I was in grade school during the height of the threat of nuclear destruction, the cold war between the United States and Russia. In 1950 the U.S. began the construction of the hydrogen bomb. Nuclear destruction wasn’t an abstract idea in my 6-year-old mind because I had seen newsreels at the movie theatre – (the days of black and white newsreels, two cartoons and a double feature for 50 cents)newsreels with pictures of hydrogen bomb tests and people digging bomb shelters.

During the school day I believed the drop-and-cover drills we regularly practiced would protect me . (How adults thought that going into a school cloak-room because there were no windows and covering our heads with our arms would protect us from nuclear attack boggles my mind today.)  

At night, in bed, in the dark I lay awake trying to decide where I could go in our tiny 2-bedroom house when we were bombed and I wasn’t at school.  There was no safe place, all the rooms had windows.  In our backyard there was an old, deep, dark cellar dung into the ground and covered by huge, heavy wooden doors.  Too heavy for me to open. The concrete steps were really steep and led into a pitch-black hole.  It smelled and I knew that there were spiders and maybe even snakes inside. The cellar was even more scary than the bomb.

The more I thought about being killed by a bomb, the more terrified I became.  

I knew nothing about prayer, not to mention God, but one night, having exhausted all the possibilities of safe places, I silently prayed.  Silently, so no one would hear me, I prayed for world peace.  The next night I prayed for world peace and my mother and father being safe.  Another night I added my younger brother.  I didn’t particularly care for him but I was as scared of my parents’ thinking I was a bad sister as I was of the bomb and the cellar.  Night after night I silently prayed, each night adding another relative.  Newly added was my fear it would be my fault if anyone was killed by the bomb because I didn’t pray for them.  It was my secret ritual and the only way I could stop thinking about that cellar.  One night I was over-whelmed with the responsibility of remembering to include everyone I knew . . .  . and I stopped praying . . . I stopped praying for almost sixty years.

    *       *       *

To read Part II, Head and Heart, click HERE

Read Part III – Stardusted, click HERE

Read Part IV, Two Wings of a Bird, click HERE

 

 

Everyday is Mother’s Day and Everyone, each in their own way, mothers

On Mother’s Day Reverend Kent Doss at the Tapestry Unitarian Church began his sermon with a poem.  I found myself tearing up.  After the service I shared my response with other women who all said they, too, had to fight back tears.  

Reverend Doss’ heartfelt delivery can’t be duplicated but I encourage you to read it out loud.   

images-1

If you have carried a child or children, whether or not they came to be born, we see you.

If you have fervently wished to do so, and circumstances of fate made it impossible, we see you.

If you love children we cannot see, whether because of death or estrangement, we see you.

If you never wanted to be a mother, we see you.

If you are happy to mother other people’s children, as an educator, an auntie, or a foster parent, we see you.

If your mother hurt you, physically or emotionally, we see you.

If you had no mother at all, we see you.

If your mother is or was your best friend, we see you.

If your gender says you are not a mother, and yet you take on the role of nurturer, we see you.

If you wonder whether your mothering has been enough, we see you.

And if yours is a different truth altogether, we honor your unspoken story.

There is room for all in this circle. May it be so, today and always.

 About the author: Lisa Bovee-Kemper

 

 

The HeART of Spirituality – Virtues – Take 2

In case you need a refresher on what a virtue is here are a few:  Patience, Responsibility, Joy, Love, Compassion, Justice, Generosity.

 Can you guess the virtue* I need to work on?

Take a look at the second group of fabulous prayer/contemplation cards!  Here’s the first group – Take 1

DSCN6386

DSCN6388

DSCN6389

DSCN6390

“Consider the virtues of the human world and realize that the oneness of humanity is the primary foundation of them all. 

Read the Gospel and the other Holy Books. You will find their fundamentals are one and the same. Therefore, unity is the essential truth of religion and, when so understood, embraces all the virtues of the human world.”

DSCN6391

DSCN6392

DSCN6393

DSCN6394

” . . . we must endeavor to promulgate and practice the religion of God which has been founded by all the Prophets. And the religion of God is absolute love and unity.” – Abdu’l-BahaThe Promulgation of Universal Peace. p. 32.

DSCN6395

Another Spontaneously posed picture of those who were able to stay till the END.

Another SPONTANEOUSLY POSED picture of those who were able to stay till the END.

(Try out the exercise we did after making the cards.  Click here for the entire list of virtues and the worksheet on the TUTORIAL PAGE)

*The Virtue of Moderation 

10 packages, possible trans fats

Another Spontaneously posed picture of those who were able to stay till the END.

Another SPONTANEOUSLY POSED picture of those who were able to stay till  the END.

The HeART of Spirituality – Communion – Take 1

Ten amazing people made room in their holiday schedules and came to Tapestry Unitarian Congregation for . . .  TA DA!!!

A HeART of Spirituality workshop!

DSCN6396

 Seven spontaneously posed participants

Reverend Kent Doss talked a bit about the history of communion before making the prayer/contemplation cards,  The group was small enough for each person to share what their cards represented.  The evening  ended with a discussion about virtues.

Card #1 – The love of God, love of self – the spark within or what is holy to you

Card #2 – Virtues that connect you – unity with family, friends, colleagues and the world

Here’s the first group of cards and the spiritual principle of unity, oneness and love guiding my choice of focus for the cards.

Can you tell which cards reflect LOVE and which cards express VIRTUES?

DSCN6385

DSCN6384

“All the divine Manifestations (Abraham, Krishna, Zoroaster, Moses, Buddha, Jesus Christ, Muhammad, and, in more recent times, the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh) have proclaimed the oneness of God and the unity of mankind. 

They have taught that men should love and mutually help each other in order that they might progress. Now if this conception of religion be true, its essential principle is the oneness of humanity.”

DSCN6383

DSCN6382

DSCN6381

“The fundamental truth of the Manifestations* is peace. This underlies all religion, all justice. The divine purpose is that men should live in unity, concord and agreement and should love one another.”  – Abdu’l-BahaThe Promulgation of Universal Peace

DSCN6380

DSCN6379

DSCN6378

*Throughout the ages, God has sent Divine Messengers known as Manifestations of God among them – Abraham, Krishna, Zoroaster, Moses, Buddha, Jesus Christ, Muhammad, and, in more recent times, the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh)—to cultivate humanity’s spiritual, intellectual and moral capacities.

(Click here for the second group of the cards . . .

. . . and the virtue I need to work on . . .)

The HeART of Spirituality

Too pooped to pop!  It was worth it!  I facilitated a HeART of Spirituality workshop at the Tapestry Unitarian church.  It’s my first post-retirement creative expression workshop.  Not sure if it’s the last . . .  

After so many years of having the luxury of giving workshops in my own office – with the set-up in place and all the materials on hand – I’d forgotten how much prep there is in doing a workshop off-site.  (I’ve also forgotten lots of other things . . . like what I had for breakfast).

Here’s a small sample of what we did and a few of the INCREDIBLE prayer/contemplation cards created by the participants (Unfortunately not all the photos I took “took”.)

DSCN6336

DSCN6324

DSCN6326

DSCN6328

Take a look at a few of the Prayer/Meditation/Contemplation Cards!

DSCN6329

DSCN6330

DSCN6331

DSCN6332

DSCN6334

DSCN6335

DSCN6337

DSCN6338

DSCN6342

DSCN6333

After making the cards Reverend Kent Doss led participants in a Wisdom Circle discussion of what spirituality means, how we define it and experience it in everyday life.

“Artistic talent is a gift from God and whoever discovers it in himself has a certain obligation: to know that he cannot waste this talent, but must develop it.”  Pope John Paul  II

“If a man engages with all his power in the acquisition of a science or the perfection of an art, it is as if he has been worshiping God in the churches and temples.”  Abdu’l-Baha 

Baha’i World Faith

 “Art exists for its role of permitting men to escape their human condition, not by fleeing it,
 but by possessing it. All art is a means of taking hold of human destiny.” Andre Malraux

A special thank you to Judy Clemmer for her help cutting out HUNDREDS of pictures and providing supplies.

 

 

Art Expedition

a painter´s attempt to conquer the great white canvas

Letters from Athens

A blog about life and times in Greece

Around ZuZu's Barn

Conversations with Kindred Spirits

My Window

Sharing my thoughts, poems, travel & art

Gary Komarin

Master of Post-Painterly Abstraction

What's cooking on page 32

Sharing recipes from a huge collection of cookbooks

fjamesgreco

Thoughts on writing, music, news, & politics

Catnip blog

Self-care tips, tools, techniques & neuroscience research for MIND, BODY & SOUL - shared with a wink and a smile

The Circus Gardener's Kitchen

seasonal vegetarian recipes with a side helping of food politics

kateosborne

painter's progress step by step

Dee Berridge's Life Drawings

My head is in the tiger's mouth...

Sketch Away: Travels with my sketchbook

Just another WordPress.com site

Create art every day

Ideas and inspiration for creating art with passion!

Doodlewash®

Adventures in Watercolor Painting and Sketching, Watercolour Magazine, with Charlie O'Shields

Sara Fryd

198 countries | author | 224,000 visitors

The HeART of Spirituality

"A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones." Proverbs 17:22

Judith Clemmer

Wearable Art & a bit of life

Blog - Kathrin Werner

Stuff that makes me love, learn and laugh. ("It is good to laugh. Laughter is spiritual relaxation." - Baha'i World Faith)

WordPress.com

WordPress.com is the best place for your personal blog or business site.

Teesha Moore

Follow Your Bliss

WordDreams...

Jacqui Murray's

Where to next?

Riding in cars with dogs

"On Dragonfly Wings with Buttercup Tea"

All Is One With Our Creator

Mama Cormier

.... my journey to a healthy life, making new memories and so much more

Design of the Picture Book

the intersection of graphic design + picture books

A Little More Than Ordinary...

Stuff that makes me love, learn and laugh. ("It is good to laugh. Laughter is spiritual relaxation." - Baha'i World Faith)

Unbelievable to the Max

Poems, Plays, Pictures & Prose from the Murky Recess of My Mind

Picnic with Ants

My life disABLED with Chronic Ilnnesses, it just IS. Taking one moment at a time.

poetry diary

I rhyme to see myself, to set the darkness echoing. (Seamus Heaney, from Personal Helicon)

Day by Day With My Adrenals

Fighting the monsters everyday of my life

Heart Sisters

For women living with heart disease

Ping-O-Matic

New offsite pingomatic.com blog

sunshine and chaos

Things that amuse and bemuse me as I wander the wilderness that is invisible chronic illness.

Mo is blogging...I think

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Real Life Artist

An unapologetic marching band against the forces of darkness!

Ask Daru

Bariatric, Bypass Surgery, Emotional, Psychological and Spirtitual Healing for Success

%d bloggers like this: