Oct 29 Service: Day of the Dead

An ancient Mayan ritual, the Day of the Dead is still observed in many places in Mexico.  Each year we, at UUCE pay homage to that ritual and build  a collective alter to honor ancestors.  We can't pretend to do this in any way authentically, but in all cultures there seem to be times and places where we feel as if the barrier between us and the dead is most thin.   The religious traditions of the world all try to deal with death in some way, but they address the topic from a group-think... as in where do the dead exist in general.  But as individuals, we tend to wonder about this question in terms of specific individuals, as in "where is grandma."  

In autumn, the transition between living in dead is felt most clearly.  It is reflected in nature. 

When we feel such closeness, we look to object that remind us of the loved ones who have gone over to the other side.  All religious traditions have some version of this.  In the Christian bible, Acts 2:29 refers to the patriarch, David, who  is dead but the bible passage refers to his sepulcher as a special place of remembrance.  Today we still visit a grave marker... we visit a memorial... or we look upon grandma's and grampa's belongings to feel closer to them.  This not altogether rational.  It it much more mystical.  Yet even the most sincere atheist does not feel out of place going to visit the grave of a beloved.  

Or we hold an object that is old in our hands and wonder who touched it, who found it useful?  Here before me is a guitar, many people have played this guitar, perhaps very famous people played this guitar.  They are now dead, we don't remember their names, but the guitar is here and will be here still after I am dead.

The Guitar

It came with those scratches
from all their belt buckles, 
 
palm-dark with their sweat 
like the stock of a gun: 
 
an arc of pickmarks cut 
clear through the lacquer 
 
where all the players before me
once strummed—once 
 
thumbed these same latches 
where it sleeps in green velvet. 
 
Once sang, as I sing, the old songs. 
There’s no end, there’s no end 
 
to this world, everlasting. 
We crumble to dust in its arms.

 

Peace,

Rick

Nov 12, 2017 Service about Modern Druidry

Today we were visited by a minister of the Three Cranes Grove of the ADF.  Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship (ADF)  This is a Pagan Church based on ancient Indo-European traditions expressed through worship, study and fellowship.  It was a fascinating day. It is a spiritual tradition that honors the Earth Mother, the powers of inspiration, and thanks to the nature spirits.  At the center of honor is the fire, the well and the tree.  Fire links us to the heavens, the well links us to the earth and the tree links us to all those living on the surface.  With our ties to the earth, our eyes turned to the sky, as we honor those who exist (and have existed) on earth.  

Come join us on a future Sunday and we will learn some other aspect of spirituality,

Peace,

Rick 

Nov 5 2017 Service about our Unitarian Mission

We at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation East in Reynoldsburg are still looking for a concise statement of identity.  Today was devoted to us thinking about this topic again.  The agenda for us at UUCE is to learn, feed the spirit, and to seek good in the world. We are a small group here over on the East side of Columbus, Ohio, but we understand this need.  We just don't know how to describe it to you.

Stay tuned, we are getting focused.

Come visit us and see how it all works.  We'd love to have you stop in.

Peace,

Rick

Oct 22 2017 Service about Autumn

Today Leesa presented a comparison of Autumnal rituals and rites across many cultures to see what they have in common.  In the Christian tradition there is the feast day of Archangel Michael who protects the world from darkness.   All souls day and all saints day is, in essence, a celebration of the ancestors.  There is, of course, ancestor worship among many pagan traditions and ancestor worship is prevalent in China as well.   

In the Jewish tradition the floods recede leaving Noah high and dry on the autumnal equinox.  Abraham is ready to sacrifice Isaac on the Autumnal equinox and Sarah, Rachel, and Hannah are all born on the Autumnal equinox.  In Japan where Shintoism is a key religion, the Autumnal Equinox is a public holiday.

And, of course, Norse and Celtic beliefs feature prominent Autumnal celebrations.  Samhain, marks the end of the harvest and the coming of the darker half of the year.  Building a bonfire and feasting is a good way of coming to terms with winter.  Today, all across Ohio we have harvest festivals... the tomato festival, the corn festival, the pumpkin festival to name a few.  There are competitions, and we still raise up a "queen" for the harvest... we haven't come that far from pagan festivals even in today's world.

We had a lively discussion afterward with coffee and snacks.  Come join us next week.

Peace,

Rick