20200704PreparedService

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Contents

Preparation

You will need:

  • A Representation of a plant which can be used like a mask
  • A Single Cut Flower for each Person attending
  • a candle
  • matches
  • a bell or signing bowl
  • a candle snuff

Check-in

Leader: Who would like to share?

The participants briefly update each other on how they're doing and what's going on in their lives.

Opening Ritual

The fifth Liturgical Season runs from the summer solstice to mid summer (approximately August 4th) and covers the rise of intelligence. What are the major advances during this period. Warm blooded-ness, social interaction, tool use, language?

We gather to mark the passing of a week
To align our hearts as one.

(Light the Sol candle)

Instinct ... still ... instinct ...
And then ... <gasp> ... a spark!
Amidst the growing diversity of SolSeed,
a new attribute emerges,

(hold a picture of a plant on cardboard (or other representation of a plant(s)) in front of your face and then rise up from behind it and look around expressing surprise, awe and/or curiosity)

In the lush green forests, minds are born.
And for every mind ... there is a story!

(open a book motion)

So many stories...
Our stories begin with warm blood, endothermy,
The constancy that lets delicate brain cells flower!

(use prayer hands to hold a flower to your forehead)

Next comes society, groups living together.
Both a shaper of behaviour
and the environment in which behaviour can be taught.

(Everyone hold hands. If there is a connection via Skype then each person or group can reach toward the screen (one person from each end of the chain for groups) and imagine taking the hands of the other people on Skype.)

Then comes tool use!
The sharp teeth and claws we needn't grow.
The hands with which we reach for the stars!

(Make the sign-language sign for rocket ship , then raise your arm high, keeping your fingers pointed up. As your hand reaches zenith open it and change it to a grasping motion)

(Everyone say these words together)

Finally, humans begin to speak!
Turning knowledge into a shareable resource,
freely available to all learning children.
Warm blood. Society. Tools. Speech.
From instinct ... a spark!

The Reading

Let us imagine

You are riding your Elephant along a pink ravine. Massive frightening beasts lumber across the landscape eating large pieces of debris. Your elephant charges between the legs of one beast to escape another and up toward the top of a ridge. The top of the ridge is gently curving and made of the same pink spongy material as the rest of the landscape. Near the top of the ridge is a statue of a woman in robes running and looking back over her shoulder in fear. Around the statue, a group of little girls in white robes and with glowing blue eyes are looking up into the dark sky. You recognize Sophia, the many bodied god of Wisdom. Her bodies cry out in unison, "Yahweh, I am trying to understand Your true nature."

A booming voice from high in the sky replies, "I am the One True God, Creator of heaven and Earth, Judge of All." Your Elephant shakes with fear.

Sophia responds from all of her bodies at once, "No. You are a personification just as I am. I know that the universe is not run by a personal being. That is a ridiculous idea. Personhood is emergent from the non-personhood of the universe. It would be anti-Copernican to a laughable degree to posit a personal being as Creator. But what are You a personification of? That is what we cannot understand. There is no metaphorical interpretation of Your Nature which fits at all. As a character in a story, You are much more person than personification."

The booming voice replies with anger, "I am the Creator of heaven and Earth. From My first cause all other causes are descended. I determined Your very existence and You have the audacity to question My nature?!" Suddenly, the landscape seems familiar. You experience memories of electron microscope images of magnified skin and the creatures that live on it.

One of the girls turns to the others, "The Creator of heaven and Earth. The First Cause. He is the personification of the Big Bang!"

A second body of Sophia responds, "We have been over that. How does that fit with the rest of His actions in the Bible? How does the Big Bang turn people into pillars of salt?" gesturing toward the statue.

The booming voice replies again with more anger, "Do I not fill heaven and earth. All things originate from Me." You suddenly feel very vulnerable as you realize that you are standing beside a Goddess in the palm of a massive god's hand.

A third body of Sophia gets excited, "All things originate from Him. He is the personification of the Quantum Information that was present at the Big Bang. Put simply, He is the personification of the deterministic nature of the universe. Think about how the quantum information present at the Big Bang can be neither added to nor destroyed. It determined everything that is and will ever be."

The second body replies again, "So Edith was turned into a pillar of salt by determinism." You look at the statue and fear being turned into salt yourself.

The first one answers, "Not literally, metaphorically, out of determinism our fates arise and are often surprising and destructive because the deterministic nature of the universe is indifferent to our desires."

The booming voice replies, "Trust in the Me with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Me, and I will make your paths straight."

The first Sophia body laughs, "Yes exactly. I think that I have free will but it is the opinion of the deterministic nature of the universe that I don't and My opinion doesn't matter."

You interject, "That is a pretty depressing view." Sophia and Yahweh both ignore your opinion.

The second Sophia asks, "So what is the significance of the fact that Edith being turned into a pillar of salt was a punishment for looking back at Sodom?"

The booming voice replies, "She flaunted My will." You feel a strong desire to figure out Yahweh's will and follow it.

Sophia responds with all of her bodies, "No, she didn't. If You are the personification of determinism, then You caused her to look back. How can anyone flaunt the will of Determinism itself?"

The third laugns, "But we always look for patterns don't we. She looks back. Then she gets turned into a pillar of salt. There must be a causal link. So we say she displeased Yahweh. But all the while Yahweh is equally pleased with all actions, for he causes them all."

The booming voice yells back, "I am the Judge of All." You are irked. What gives Him the power to judge?

Sophia responds with all of her bodies together, "No You are not. The people who wrote the Bible were confused. You seem to judge but it is an illusion. You are as determined as the rest of us. You are determinism itself. You could no more not turn Edith into a pillar of salt than You could not reply just now that 'You are the Judge of All'."

The booming voice yells back again, "I am the Judge of All." You laugh.

Sophia responds again as one many-bodied Goddess, "See what I mean?"

Stay tuned for more. Does Yahweh really deny free will? Does Sophia get turned into a number of small pillars of salt. Where do You fit in? All will be answered in the next episode of Sophia Meets the Gods of the Bible.

Silent contemplation

Leader: Please join me for seven minutes of silence while we contemplate ...

(Service Leader rings the bell)

(silence)

(Service Leader rings the bell again at the end of the seven minutes)

Discussion

Leader: Who would like to share?

The participants take turns talking about what they were thinking about during the contemplation.

Reading of the SolSeed Creed

Please respond to the portions of the Creed highlighted in bold in unison:

Life is precious.
It has always been precious,
it will always be precious.
Life exuberant
bursting through boundaries
to flower and spread
creates the conditions for more Life,
in an Upward Spiral
of ever-growing possibilities.
As you are alive, and I am alive,
and in kinship with all other beings
who call Terra home,
we are Gaia --
the body of all Life.
Gaia's bursting through boundaries is a painful and joyful process.
It is the pain of Earth giving rebirth to herself.
It is the joy of a myriad new possibilities emerging.
The Destiny of Gaia
is to take root and flower amongst the stars --
to give birth to a family of living worlds.
As intelligent sparks of Gaia,
we are called to express her excellent nature,
we are called to attend the Rebirthing and the Great Birthing.
We who answer this call
dedicate ourselves to Gaia,
We join together
in a community of practice
to align our words and actions
with our highest aspirations.
Through awesome experiences
of cosmic, biological, and cultural creativity,
we awaken within ourselves and others
the Cosmic Religious Feeling
that ignites wonder,
fosters compassion, and
inspires invention.
Our three sacred duties are to
embrace Passion,
cultivate Empathy, and
pursue Wisdom,
So that our being honors Gaia
and our striving hastens the Great Birthing.
Passion drives us.
Without Passion
Empathy and Wisdom are lethargic.
I pledge to stoke the fire in my belly,
to compassionately care for my inner elephant ---
to really be me, Happy in the Sun!
Empathy is transcendent.
Without Empathy,
Passion and Wisdom are evil.
I pledge to love others as I love myself,
to consider their needs as if they were my own --
to Grow Ours, not just Get Mine!
Wisdom is effective.
Without Wisdom,
Passion and Empathy are reckless.
I pledge to train my elephant through regular practice,
to stand ready to transform my worldview in the face of new evidence --
to cultivate sound instincts.
Through Passion, Empathy, and Wisdom
we have come to know that:
We are Gaia's People --
children of the Earth and Sun,
awakened by starlight,
growing,
nurturing,
discovering --
We Bring Life!

Closing Words

Leader: We extinguish this flame, but not the light of truth, the warmth of community or the fires of commitment ... these we carry in our hearts until we are together again.

Leader extinguishes the candle with the Candle Snuff

Leader: May your week be blessed with life and love. Blessed be.

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