Dear Members and Friends:
Although a pandemic may separate us physically, it need not sever us from community. While we cannot be together in body at this time, we can be together in spirit. Let us then, set aside some time today to gather in spirit with one another and, through ritual and reflection, support one another by strengthening our resolve to remain faithful to our principles and maintain the bonds of community, friendship and love.
Below is an abbreviated worship service for use at home while limits on public gatherings are in place due to Covid-19. A new service will be posted and emailed each week until we can resume worship in the sanctuary at BUUC..
If you can, please join us on-line or telephone via Zoom, at 11:30 AM on Sunday. We will do the Chalice Lighting, Affirmation, Joys and Concerns and Benediction. A separate email will have the details.
Announcements are listed at the end of this document. If you have any announcements for the Zoom service, please type them into the Chat box or let the leader know you have an announcement.
Light a candle at home or in your mind’s eye mindful of people from our church community and around the world who, though physically separated, are gathered in spirit.
Building Community by Laura Thompson
Across the distance, the light from within me shines, sending love to all
Across the distance, your light is fuel that warms me
and helps to keep my own light burning
Together, we keep the flame of community burning bright
- Together: We unite in an atmosphere of care and support to foster spiritual health and growth.
- Together: We focus on sharing our ideas and histories, with warmth, hope, loving friendship and an open mind.
- Together: We nurture stability for our daily lives and seek motivation to reach out to the larger community.
Reading/Poem for Reflection
Tiny the God
By Becky Brooks
Once upon a time there was a tiny, little, itty bitty, very small, tiny little god named Tiny. She lived her life hearing stories of all the big gods and, well, let’s face it, she was jealous. She knew she needed to think of some kind of special spark of an idea that would make her existence meaningful.
After watching humans for a long time, she hit upon something that just might work, something to make people think, yeah, that Tiny has really got a good idea going. This was it! This was going to make her famous! Ready? Here it is: “You Are Not Alone!”
She took the form of a very light breeze, and in a voice so quiet each person heard it only in their mind, she said, “You are not alone . . .you are not alone.”
People loved it. It was perfect because who doesn’t want to hear that?
Pretty soon Tiny was comforting people all over with “You are not alone.” Every evening she took the form of the breeze and whispered it in people’s minds.
Until one day, she encountered someone who wasn’t comforted at all. When Miriam heard Tiny’s words in her mind, instead of feeling comforted, she felt... agitated. Something was just kind of off about it. She kept saying it to herself over and over again: “You are not alone, you are not alone.” She tossed and turned. She couldn’t sleep!
In the morning, she went to read the paper, and instead of skimming everything she found herself drinking in every single story. She was only halfway through when she found herself crying. “I am not alone,” she said. “I am . . .connected . . .to every one of these people. They live in my town and my country and my world. They love their children like I love mine. They’re scared sometimes and so am I. They hurt like I hurt. I am not alone. I can help.”
Tiny was surprised. It hadn’t occurred to her that someone might think of it that way.
Tiny kept watch over Miriam to monitor this interesting development. Miriam and a coworker met online in a meeting and talked about a law they hoped the Senate would pass, and Tiny noticed when Miriam wrote a letter to her senator about it right away.
She noticed that when Miriam turned in her grocery order, she bought a few extra things for her neighbor and left them, with a colorful note, on their porch.
She noticed that Miriam had tears in her eyes when she joined in her congregation's worship on her computer and she heard her favorite hymn through the small speakers. Miriam got out her phone and made an extra donation to her congregation.
She watched as Miriam wrote postcards to friends and family near and far, waved to the dog walkers who passed by her house, and strung up colorful lights in her living room window.
But most importantly for Tiny, she noticed when Miriam received a phone call one evening from a friend she hadn’t heard from in a long while. His voice was shaking. “I’m having a hard time,” he said. He started to tell her about his troubles, but he began to cry.
Miriam got herself comfortable in her favorite chair. “Take your time. I’ll stay on the line with you. You are not alone. I am here.”
“I am here.” Tiny heard those words like an echo in her mind, “You are not alone. I am here. You are not alone. I am here.” [If you wish, say aloud “You are not alone. I am here.”] In that moment, Tiny knew that she was nothing without Miriam’s hands and heart and spirit. And she knew that what she wanted—what the world needed more than anything—was what Miriam had learned to give.
So Tiny went to work. Instead of just spending her evenings spreading the gospel of “You are not alone,” she spent her nighttimes doing it too, and her mornings and afternoons. Pretty soon she was spending every moment doing it, until she became the breeze itself.
And that is why there are no paintings of Tiny. No busts or holy books. Just a breeze, a low voice, and many, many helping hands, loving hearts, and caring spirits.
You can hear the echo, if you listen closely [If you wish, say aloud]: “You are not alone. I am here.” When water bottles are left in the desert for those who risk their lives to cross it: “You are not alone. I am here.” At the bedside of a dying man: “You are not alone. I am here.” In the jailhouse and the sanctuary: “You are not alone. I am here.” Separate and together: “You are not alone. I am here.”
May it be so.
This story is published in Sparks of Wonder by Becky Brooks and Erika Hewitt.
Question(s) for reflection:
What is your response to the reading? Did it touch/move or disturb you?
In what way is the reading relevant to your life experience past or present?
What might you take from this reading into the week ahead?
If you are able to join us via Zoom on Sunday, Dave Yutzler will sing the following song:
"This Old World" #315 in Singing the Living Tradition,
adapted for BUUC by Lila M Farrar
This old world is full of sorrow,
full of sickness, weak and sore;
if you love your neighbor truly,
love will come to you the more.
It is said now, "Love thy neighbor",
and we know well that is true.
Wear a mask and sanitize surfaces;
true for me as well as you.
This old world can be a garden,
full of fragrance, full of grace,
if we love our neighbors truly,
let's NOT meet them face to face.
We're all children of one family,
whether near or far away,
if you cherish one another,
mail or text or phone today.
If you are unable to join us, please enjoy this musical arrangement and video of the same piece, This Old World, by East Shore Unitarian Church Director of Music Eric Lane Barnes https://vimeo.com/415830606
Joys and Concerns
If participating as on ZOOM recipient: You may raise your hand and wait to be called on or post your joy and concern in the chat box
If participating as an email recipient: As you feel so moved, speak aloud a joy or concern you are holding, mindful you are not alone, but one among many with joys and concerns seeking expression.
Moment of Silent Meditation/Prayer
Take a moment to be still and listen to the wisdom of your heart and /or pray or chant words meaningful to you or in your own words.
Extinguishing the chalice
Recite aloud or in silence
We Are One by Amy Zucker Morgenstern
Never has it been more true than now:
We extinguish this flame,
But the sparks within us remain alight.
From each of us, in our supposed solitude,
The signals buzz and hum, sparkling through space one to another,
Connecting us invisibly
We are one.
And from every window,
Our light shines.
Blow out the candle you lit physically or in your mind’s eye.
Recite aloud or in silence
Peace be my companion
Hold onto what is good
Return to no person evil for evil
Strengthen the fainthearted
Support the weak
Help the suffering
Honor all beings
Amen and Blessed Be
Benediction Response: “Peace Be Unto This Congregation”
"BUUC's Little Library" - In case you haven't heard Laurel has organized a small loaning library of books and puzzles. There will be a small collection of books for curbside pick-up the 1st and 3rd Wed of the month from 10 am - 12 noon. For more information please contact Laurel Hemmer (email@example.com).
We have used several music videos in our worship services that were created by Eric Lane Barnes, East Shore Unitarian Church Director of Music. In fact, the music video for today was created specifically at our request! To find out a little more about Eric and and/or make a donation to continue his work, check out ELB Presents! www.Patreon.com/EricLaneBarnes