Sunday, December 24, 2017: Morning Solstice

THOUGHT FOR CONTEMPLATION:

“Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light;

I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.”

(by Sarah Williams)

PRELUDE

WELCOMING WORDS

CALL TO WORSHIP

Welcome to this day

The shortest day in the year.

When we will have the least time with the sun

The most time with the dark, to snuggled in.

The most time to be aware of life’s fragility

The most time to feel the call to honor its sacredness

The most time to repair what has been broken

The most time to let sorrow render us transformed

The most time to remember joy, allowing it to lift and open our hearts.

On this day, the shortest in the year, it is good to be together.

Welcome, welcome to this precious day.

(by Rev. Dr. Anita Farber-Robertson)

LIGHTING OF THE CHALICE: Chad K.

Chalice of warmth,

Soften what is cold within

Chalice of light

Illumine what is dark within

Chalice of joy

Revive in us what lifts our spirits and opens our hearts.

(by Rev. Dr. Anita Farber-Robertson)

OPENING SONG:Gathered Here” (by Philip A. Porter)

OUR COVENANT:

Love is the doctrine of this church

The quest for truth is its sacrament,

And service is its prayer.

To dwell together in peace,

To seek knowledge in freedom,

To serve humankind in fellowship,

To the end that all souls

Shall grow into harmony with the Divine.

This is our great covenant,

One with another, and with our God.

READING: Excerpt from the novel “Power” (by Linda Hogan)

The wet air curls against me as I sit in the boat without seeing through the fog. I’m without my bearings, lost between the elements of air and water. It happens this way, that sometimes, when a person sits on a boat surrounded by water and fog so thick, so deep, there is a dizziness. It seems the boat has turned over and is rising, moving upward through the sky like a banishing cloud. Or it descends to new depths in the world beneath, as if to fall into underground rivers and be carried away.

Without her bearings this person loses her place in the world. She must sit still, without panic, and wait for a glimpse of something to emerge from the fog. Maybe there will be a clearing through which a tree branch is seen, or a shard of blue sky….Or it might be a wading bird that appears out of the thick whiteness, and since its feet touch bottom, you can tell where gravity lives. Then, only then, can you believe there is something solid in the world.

And so I sit here in fog and air and wait for something to become visible.

SONG: Within Our Darkest Night” (by Jacques Berthier)

CANDLES OF JOY AND SORROW: in silence

MEDITATION:Chalice Flame Contemplation” (by Samuel A. Trombore)

In this time of long nights and short days,
let us seek the light within …
by contemplating, through our mind’s eye,
the image of a candle flame.

Notice how the soft, quiet, and gentle flame
tamely rises from the wick.
Yet, just by touching a dry twig,
it has the power to become a raging bonfire
to light up the night.

Let that little candle flame be your friend this morning.

Allow it to quiet your mind,
as you attentively watch its flickering glow.

Allow it to calm your mind in a way that brings a stillness
that can light up the interior of your being
that can help you find the wellspring of your feelings.

Allow it to show us our inner sense of knowing that
can help us notice the ways we’ve strayed or harmed others;
to warm us, reflecting on the ways we’ve been touched and
the ways we’ve opened our hearts;
and inspire us through making new connections and discovering new insights.

May this simple flame
touch the dry twigs that guard our hearts
allowing the power of light to penetrate our self-protection
and show us the amazing potential for heat and light
that resides within us.

SILENCE

PRAYER

SONG:Da Pacem Cordium” (Give Peace to Our Hearts) (by Jacques Berthier)

READING:To Know the Dark” (by Wendell Berry)

To go in the dark with a light is to know the light.
To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight,
and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings,
and is traveled by dark feet and dark wings.

SILENCE

SONG:Though My Soul May Set in Darkness” (by Haydn/Sarah Williams)

OFFERTORY: Cantabile from “Lights and Shadows” (by Rudolf Matz)

READING:Widening Circles” (by Rainer Maria Rilke)

I live my life in widening circles
that reach out across the world.
I may not complete this last one
but I give myself to it.

I circle around God, around the primordial tower.
I’ve been circling for thousands of years
and I still don’t know: am I a falcon,
a storm, or a great song?

SONG:May Your Life Be As A Song” (by Jim Scott/Yuri Zaritsky)

EXTINGUISHING THE CHALICE: (read by the congregation)

We extinguish the 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.

BENEDICTION

CONGREGATIONAL RESPONSE:

May the long time sun shine upon you,

all love surround you,

and the pure light within you

guide you all the way home.

POSTLUDE

(So that those who choose to stay and listen to the Postlude can hear it well, we ask those who choose to leave to do so quietly.)