Saturday, March 31, 2012

As Full of Life, Beauty, and Possibilities as Spring

Next week, known worldwide as Holy Week, marks foundational events in both the Jewish and Christian traditions. We will delve into and reflect upon these holy days as we gather for worship Sunday night. Our offering is designated for One Great Hour of Sharing, an ecumenical effort supporting ministries in 70 countries. The motto, "Giving Help, Hope and Life," appropriately conveys the work of OGHS which includes funding development projects, feeding the victims of famine, providing services for displaced people, and responding to natural disasters. Our potluck is general.

Gathering for Worship
Sunday, 1 April, 5:30 pm
618 Locust Street

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Gathering to Walk the Labyrinth

Sunday, March 25, 5:30 pm, Unity Church Labyrinth
5237 S. Bryant Boulevard

"Your life is a sacred journey," says Caroline Adams, and walking the labyrinth is a wonderful way to concretely explore that journey. As such, it is an appropriate experience for the season of Lent.

A labyrinth is an ancient symbol that relates to wholeness. It combines the imagery of the circle and the spiral into a meandering but purposeful path. The labyrinth represents a journey to our own center and back again out into the world. Labyrinths have long been used as meditation and prayer tools. Each person's walk is a personal experience - a healing and sometimes very profound experience, and sometimes just a pleasant walk

We will engage this centuries old spiritual practice Sunday night when we meet at 5:30 pm at the Unity Church outdoor labyrinth. You don't have to prepare to walk the labyrinth - just show up. We will begin the evening with a few words of introduction and some time of centering. We'll walk the labyrinth and then have some time to share about our experiences. There are some benches and seats around, but you're certainly invited to bring a lawn chair, too. Our offering designee is still to be determined.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Gathering to Cultivate Greatness of Soul

Spiritual guide Edward Hays suggests experiencing the Christian season of Lent as a time of spiritual expansion and growth. Our efforts at things like worship, contemplation, reading sacred texts, prayer, service to others, practicing generosity and hospitality are to positively develop our relationship with God and enhance our connectedness with others. He states:

Lent as a holy season challenges one to aspire to be as Godlike as possible in forgiving and loving. We've all heard how the average person actualizes very little of his or her potential mental powers; the same is true of our spiritual potential. Lent as a holy season challenges one to reach for that potential, to aspire toward the greatness of soul that comes from cultivating virtues like justice, mercy, and love.

This Sunday, March 18, we will engage this Lenten effort at cultivating "greatness of soul" with a time of worship. Our offering will be designated for Valerie Tedford Queen, who has graciously helped with our worship music for several months now. Let's take this opportunity to concretely show her our appreciation. Part of this week's service will also include preparations for the following Sunday, March 25, when we will continue to cultivate greatness of soul by experiencing the spiritual practice of walking the labyrinth. Because of this, our potluck theme is anything circular.

Sunday, March 18, 5:30 pm, 618 Locust Street

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Spring Holy Days

Spring is full of holy holidays: Naw-Ruz, Magha Puja, Chaitra Navratri, Beltane, Easter, Nanakshahi, Purim, and many others. Interestingly, several holy observances are remarkably similar across faith traditions, or at least have common beginnings and purposes.

Sunday night we will explore these various similarities and differences as Ann Light, Karen McGinnis, Nancy York, and myself introduce us to a number of different religious festivals and observances. >Our offering will be designated for The Gathering.

Gathering for Education and Celebration Spring Holy Days
11 March, 5:30 pm
618 Locust Street

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Warmth Returns

An observation in last Sunday's conversation about the Amish was that they seek to live their religious beliefs; they strive to practice what they preach. Sunday's worship experience will invite us to do the same by centering on the connection between our lives and our spirituality. Teresa Rylander has co-planned worship, and we will have the pleasure of hearing her read some of her own reflections about what it means for her to live life spiritually congruent. Writings by Wayne Muller, Kent Nerburn, and others will also be included, as well as opportunities to share together some spiritual practices.

Our offering will be designated for Wayne Muller's organization Bread for the Journey. After Teresa introduced us a couple of years ago to their life-changing efforts, we have become strong co-participants in their work. Following worship, we will continue living our values for community, inclusivity, and fun by sharing our pot-luck meal.

Gathering for Worship
Sunday, March 4, 5:30 pm
618 Locust