20210911PreparedService

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Contents

Preparation

You will need:

  • 3 seeds per participant
  • dish filled with soil
  • complex mechanism which can be actuated such as a gear box (perhaps made of Lego)
  • two beakers (one half filled with water)
  • 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

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

(Light the Sol Candle)

Wilderness ... still ... wilderness ...
And then ... <gasp> ... civilization!
People. Warm-blooded. Social. Tool-users. Talking.
Nations coalesce.
In the fertile lands, cities are born.
And for every city ... there is a story!

(Open book sign)

Cities grew out of farming, the first massive division of labour

(plant 3 seeds in a straight row in a dish of soil)

Making Scientists and Priests possible
Allowing Artisans to evolve into Industry

(Turn gears)

Cities were fertilized by religion,
Beliefs that bind bands into cities
Beliefs that infuse cities with community

(ASL sign for belief but modified: [1] instead of clasping your own hand at the end of the sign, clasp those of the people next to you (or reach toward the screen to 'clasp' those in other locations on Skype)

Then came science!

(Pour water from one beaker to another)

The practice of seeking truth through experience.
The upward spiral of knowledge

(The ASL sign for knowledge: right hand open, fingers together palm down, tab above right brow twice [2] Then sweep the hand through an upward spiral until arm is extended directly up.)

Finally, democracy emerged!

(Ballot stuffing motion as in ASL for VOTE: [3])

Making striving for their self-chosen destinies,
Freely available to all living citizens.

(ASL for Freedom like in Spirit of Life)

Farming. Religion. Science. Freedom.
From Wilderness ... Civilization!

The Reading

Let us imagine

You are sitting with your elephant at a table in a tavern. Three personifications walk in. Their names are Alision, Kathy and Wilson. Alision goes to the restroom while Kathy and Wilson discuss which table to sit at. "I don't know, if we sit in the wrong place, we might hurt someone's feelings by sitting too far from them or too close to them." Kathy says.

Wilson says, "Maybe we should divide the room into tiny segments of floor space, mathematically I mean, and then we can calculate the distance between each of those segments and each person already seated and then estimate the best distance to be from each person and then we can use a chi squared stat. Oh, but that seems like a lot of work."

Kathy replies, "Way too much work. I feel like you would be exhausted after all of that. What if we just lie down here and go to sleep instead of choosing a seat. Oh! But then someone could trip over us and hurt themselves. That would be terrible."

Kathy is about to start crying when Alision comes back out of the restroom. Kathy says, "You guys decide, I need to go to the restroom and check my eye. There is something in it." She runs off to the restroom and Alision and Wilson begin discussion which table to sit at.

Alision says, "I love sunlight. Let’s go sit by that window where the sun is coming in." Alision heads for the window.

Wilson replies following, "But there is already someone at that table."

Alision says, "Well I want to sit at that table. What would be the most effective way of getting them away from their table."

Wilson replies without thinking, "Pull the fire alarm." Alision pulls the alarm without thinking. Everyone is running out of the bar. Kathy comes out of the restroom and together the three run outside. You know there is no fire because you saw Alision pull the alarm, but you mount your elephant and follow them mostly because you are curious what kind of craziness these three are going to cause next.

The fire station is right next door so, even as you are getting outside, the fire chief is already there. He is talking to the barkeep and a policeman. The barkeep points at the three of them, Alision, Kathy and Wilson. The policeman runs toward them, but they scatter running away in different directions. The policeman catches Alision who was running very enthusiastically but mostly in circles, "Which of you pulled the fire alarm?"

Alision replies quickly, "He did it!" and points at Wilson. The policeman immediately chases down Wilson and arrests him and leaves with him while he protests.

Kathy and Alision regroup.

Kathy says, "I feel really bad about what just happened to Wilson! We should do something to help him."

Alision says, "Yes, lets get sledgehammers and break through the wall of the jail and break him out."

Kathy says, "Oh that would be such a heroic thing to do. Lets!"

So, they go to a hardware store to buy sledgehammers. You have no trouble keeping up because your elephant is as curious about what will happen as you are. Alision and Kathy both pick out sledgehammers. Alision's is so huge that she has trouble dragging it let alone lifting it. But with much grunting and cursing she gets it to the cash, knocking over several displays on the way. Kathy takes a little sledgehammer, "I am afraid that if I use a big sledgehammer, I could hurt the wall of the jail." she says. But they get to the cash they don't have enough money to pay for them.

Kathy says, "Wilson will be stuck in jail forever!" and begins to cry.

Alision says, "Lets just take the sledgehammers!" The cashier begins to protest but Alision immediately heads for the store exit dragging her massive sledgehammer. Kathy says to the cashier, "I have to go with her. She is my friend. I can't leave her alone in this ... situation!" And Kathy runs after Alision.

Kathy and Alision being reckless by Genevieve Townsend

Two security guards tackle them as they exit out the door. Both drop the sledgehammers, and neither are strong enough to avoid being detained until the police arrive although Alision puts up a good fight. Kathy just cries.

They are eventually arrested and put in a police car to head off to jail. You are curious about what happens next, so you buy a bug kit from the electronics section of the hardware store and toss a Velcro bug onto Kathy's pink microfiber sweater before she is put in the cruiser.

Listening in you marvel at the fact that they end up in the same cell as Wilson. Kathy immediately starts crying, "Oh Wilson, we tried to rescue you, but we were so ineffective."

She explains what her and Alision tried to do and Wilson just laughs, "That was reckless." he says.

"How did you get arrested in the first place?" Kathy asks. Wilson and Alision explain how they pulled the fire alarm in order to get a seat in the sun. Kathy exclaims, "That was evil! Oh, I wish Wilson and I had just chosen a table while you were in the restroom, Alision."

Alision looks puzzled, "Yes why did it take you so long to choose a table?" Wilson and Kathy explain how they came up with a complicated plan to choose a table but couldn't be bothered executing it. Alision laughs at them so hard she has to sit down on the floor, "You two are so lethargic!"

Wilson says, "Reminiscing is all very well but we need a plan to get out of here."

Kathy says, "Sure but this time lets stay within the law. The legal system expresses the needs of society and we need to treat those needs as if they were our own."

Wilson says, "OK lets logic this out. It is our first offences so maybe we can get a lenient sentence."

Alision says, "Let me plead our case. I will apologize profusely and express remorse intensely. Maybe that will help the judge to sympathize with us.

They plan like this for a while. Eventually they talk to a lawyer who develops a case with the help of Wilson. When they consider stretching the truth, Kathy convinces them to stay honest. Wilson and the lawyer coach Alision on how to plead their case and Kathy convinces her not to stretch the truth at all during her presentation. They get to court and Alision presents their case with tears and profuse apologies. They get a dozen hours of community service and a fine.

Kathy says, "This will be a good lesson for us in the future. By doing this community service we get a chance to help the community grow and focus less on ourselves."

Wilson says, "Yes this practice will help us to train our subconsciousnesses to reach for our highest aspirations more often."

Alision says, "Hey look, the work we have been assigned is cleaning up litter in parks. I think we can really be us doing that happily in the Sun."

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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