Worship was “the work of the people” this past Sunday
Here’s what our friends and members shared when asked to bring their worshipful view on Gifts
Be sure to be with us in worship next Sunday as we begin our worship theme, Promises, by celebrating Children’s Sunday at First U
Call to Worship Mariana Tupper reading her original poem, “Voices in the Meadow”
Time for All Ages Stew Guernsey – reading “These Are the Gifts” by Gregory Djanikian
These Are The Gifts –
For my daughter, 2 ½
They are her signature:
Sea shells in our boots and slippers,
Barrettes under each of our pillows,
Marbles and flecks of clay
In the deep mines of our pockets.
Some we find quickly, others
Are lost to us for weeks or months,
And when we come upon them
In our daily disorder, we are struck
By her industry, this extravagance
Which secretly replenishes
Our cupboards, baskets and drawers
With gifts from the heart.
O she ranges far and wide for her riches,
Returning with tales to astonish:
Of danger spilling like a jar of coins
Over the landing and down the stairs,
Of crabs in the graveled pathway,
Alligators in the flower beds,
And Mr. McGregor in all the gardens.
But she is undaunted, risking
Life and limb to retrieve for us
What the world mislays:
Surprise! she says, as she gives
Her mother a bouquet of sticks,
Happy birthday! she croons and squeaks
And pours into my hands a cupful
of pebbles, gum wrappers, leaves.
What can I hope for her
As she slips into my lap full of play
And laughter, squiggling her toes
While I count them, this pig, that pig,
The one who goes to market,
The one who starves,
The one who has luck,
The one who hasn’t any?
May she hold on to her courage always.
May she keep filling the world up
With the sweet presence of her mischief.
May she put her trinkets
In all the right shoes.
Opening – read by Rev. Jennifer
“This pause in time, within time … When did I first experience the exquisite sense of surrender that is only possible with another person? The peace of mind one experiences on one’s own, one’s certainty of self in the serenity of solitude, are nothing in comparison to the release and openness and fluency one shares with another, in close companionship …” ― Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog
Nancy Austin reading her original reflection
Then the heavens broke open and it began to rain, lightly at first then with more gusto. The absurdity of keeping my feet dry on a hike hit me! I looked at my feet and the puddles I had been trying to avoid, and began to laugh and laugh hysterically.
Peter Titcomb reading “The Lanyard” by Billy Collins
The other day I was ricocheting slowly off the blue walls of this room, moving as if underwater from typewriter to piano, from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor, when I found myself in the L section of the dictionary where my eyes fell upon the word lanyard.
No cookie nibbled by a French novelist could send one into the past more suddenly— a past where I sat at a workbench at a camp by a deep Adirondack lake learning how to braid long thin plastic strips into a lanyard, a gift for my mother.
I had never seen anyone use a lanyard or wear one, if that’s what you did with them, but that did not keep me from crossing strand over strand again and again until I had made a boxy red and white lanyard for my mother.
She gave me life and milk from her breasts, and I gave her a lanyard. She nursed me in many a sick room, lifted spoons of medicine to my lips, laid cold face-cloths on my forehead, and then led me out into the airy light
and taught me to walk and swim, and I , in turn, presented her with a lanyard. Here are thousands of meals, she said, and here is clothing and a good education. And here is your lanyard, I replied, which I made with a little help from a counselor.
Here is a breathing body and a beating heart, strong legs, bones and teeth, and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered, and here, I said, is the lanyard I made at camp. And here, I wish to say to her now, is a smaller gift—not the worn truth
that you can never repay your mother, but the rueful admission that when she took the two-tone lanyard from my hand, I was as sure as a boy could be that this useless, worthless thing I wove out of boredom would be enough to make us even.
Joanna Landsman reading her original reflection
I look at this book when I’m missing her, which is often. Sometimes I cry, sometimes I smile, but always I am thankful that I have these simple declarations, written in her own hand, and to know that she also read what I had written to her. This silly little gift to her has become so much bigger that I ever anticipated and more valuable to me than anything else I have.
Sarah Witte and friends reading “In the Japanese Garden” by Charmaine Aserappa
Be the still pool.
Let your face reflect the glory, the wonder.
Be the dragonfly, silent but joyful.
Be the bud. Prepare to blossom.
Be the tree. Grant shelter.
Be the butterfly.
Accept the riches of the moment.
Be the moth. Seek the light.
Be the lantern. Guide the lost.
Be the path.
Open the way for another.
Be the wind chime.
Let the breeze blow through you.
Turn the storms into song.
Be the rain.
Wash away, cleanse, forgive.
Be the grass.
Grow back when you are trod upon.
Be the bridge.
Reach in peace toward the other side.
Be the moss.
Temper your strength with softness,
Be the soil. Bear fruit.
Be the gardener. Create order.
Be the temple. Let the spirit dwell in you.
Be the seasons. Welcome change.
Be the pebble. Let time shape and smooth you.
Be the leaf.
Fall gracefully when your time
comes to let go.
Trust in the circle. To end is to begin.
Moment of Silence/Candles of Joy & Sorrow
Brenda McKee reading “I Wandered Lonely” by William Wordsworth
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
Extinguishing Our Chalice
Mariana Tupper reading her original poem “One of My Jobs”