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
- a bell or signing bowl
- a candle snuff
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.
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!
Quotes of the Day
- 1 After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week,
- Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
- 2 There was a violent earthquake,
- for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and,
- going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it.
- 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow.
- 4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
- 5 The angel said to the women,
- “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.
- 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.
- Come and see the place where he lay.
- --Matthew 28 1:6
- 11 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying.
- As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb
- 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been,
- one at the head and the other at the foot.
- 13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
- “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”
- 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there,
- but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
- 15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
- Thinking he was the gardener,
- she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away,
- tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
- 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
- She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).
- --John 20 11:16
- 5 Going into the tomb,
- they saw a young man in a white robe seated on the right side;
- and they were startled.
- 6 But he said to them, “Don’t be alarmed!
- You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified.
- --Mark 16 5:6
- Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink.
- I needn't argue about that; I'm right and I'll be proved right.
- We're more popular than Jesus now;
- I don't know which will go first – rock 'n' roll or Christianity.
- Jesus was all right but his disciples were thick and ordinary.
- It's them twisting it that ruins it for me.
- --John Lennon, March 1966, Evening Standard
- for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior,
- who is Christ the Lord.
- --Luke 2:11
- For whoever wants to save their life will lose it,
- but whoever loses their life for me will save it.
- --Luke 9:24
- 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,
- that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
- --John 3:16
Contemplation for the Day
You are riding your elephant near an ancient middle eastern city. You are riding through a graveyard and you come upon a tomb. Beside it a stone rests, cast aside and upon the stone sits a little girl in a white robe. She looks at you and a shiver runs down your spine; her eyes glow blue and you know she is a body of Sophia.
"Sophia, " you cry, "Where are your other bodies?"
The Sophia body on the stone points into the tomb, "The ones you seek are in there, Just One."
You ride into the tomb and find three more Sophia bodies, two sitting upon on an abandoned bier and another leaning against the right wall. The one against the wall is saying, "Gardener and Ghost both begin with 'G'."
The one sitting at the foot of the bier replies, "Now you are being silly. We are supposed to be the personification of wisdom, remember!"
A shadow falls across the entrance of the tomb and the Sophia-body at the head of the bier says, "Oh, here he is now, maybe we should just ask him."
You turn and see a figure standing in the entrance of the tomb and the Sophia bodies speak in unison, "Jesus, I am trying to understand Your true nature."
And the figure in the entrance of the tomb responds, "Woman, why do you want to know?"
The Sophia's answer as one, "The Bible cannot be interpreted as literally true because it contradicts the truth as revealed by science."
The figure steps forward into the light of a wall lamp inside the tomb and you recognize Jesus who says, "OK, makes sense."
The Sophia's continue, "Western Human Culture is immersed in the imagery and story of the Bible."
Jesus nods enthusiastically, "It's bigger than the Beatles!"
You chuckle but the Sophia's continue, seeming to miss his joke, "So I seek a consistent metaphorical framework to help me interpret the stories of the Bible."
Jesus laughs, "There is nothing consistent about the Bible."
You are surprised by his response but remain silent as the Sophia's continue their explanation, "You figure prominently in the second part. If I could understand you as having a particular metaphorical meaning, as being the personification of an important concept, then I could listen to the stories of the Bible without experiencing the dissonance that comes with a literal reading."
Jesus nods and replies, "So to my Father, you have given the role of personification of the deterministic nature of the universe."
The Sophia's reply simply, "Yes."
Jesus continues, "And to the Holy Ghost, you have given the role of personification of the emergent nature of the universe."
Again, the Sophia's say, "Yes."
Jesus concludes, "So I could have the role of the loving nature of the universe."
The Sophia's answer, "No. The universe isn't loving." But just then Gaia appears beside Jesus near the entrance of the tomb. You are beginning to feel like there are too many gods in too small a place with you. The thing no one is mentioning is that you are the only non-god present, the elephant in the tomb as it were.
Gaia says, "You accept that I am loving, yet I am also a personification of an aspect of the universe."
The Sophia's are confused. The one at the foot of the bier says, "Gaia is the personification of the body of all Life. The body of all Life cares for it's parts and that concept we metaphorize as love. But the universe as a whole doesn't take care of its parts, so the idea of a personification of the loving aspect of the universe is nonsensical."
Jesus laughs, "Maybe I am the personification of the loving nature of the local part of the universe."
The Sophia-body at the head of the bier says, "Sometimes we say that Gaia loves her parts but other times we specifically say that she does not. She even eats her parts sometimes. We are grateful for the trend toward survival that she creates but we also accept her use of death in sculpting beauty. We can also be grateful that the local part of the universe has been easy on us and allowed Life here to survive and prosper. But on the other hand, to call it loving by nature, when it too sculpts with death, " Her glowing eyes look at the tomb wall and project the image of a dinosaur silhouetted against the brilliance of an asteroid crashing down through the atmosphere, "is misguided. Gaia who in sculpting with death is the personification of natural selection, is always working toward growing possibilities, but the local universe sculpts with a death in a fashion which has only just happened not to destroy all Life by sheer luck."
Jesus rubs his forehead as if the pedantry of Sophia is giving him a headache, "Over and over, the Bible says that I am the Redeemer of humanity and it's Saviour too. That has to be part of my metaphor."
Gaia puts her hand on his shoulder and says, "That would be a problem though. The whole redeemer concept is tied to the idea that the world and humanity are broken. That is part of the Taker Story. Humanity doesn't need to be redeemed. It isn't broken and neither is the world. The Contributor story calls on humanity to stand up and take on the mantle of adulthood, to do the work the world calls them to do. There is no point in keeping the Bible stories at all, if they continue to embody the Taker story."
The Sophia leaning against the wall says, "The old testament is full of the Taker story, but Jesus is a rebel against the old ways; maybe some of his story is him learning to embody the Contributor story."
The Sophia at the foot of the bier says, "Jesus called for great sacrifice, but not the symbolic sacrifice of the Old Testament. He didn't ask people to kill and burn lambs or people on alters and send the smoke to his father. He asked people to give up their comfortable lives and enter into a life of service to others. Is that a kind of Contributor story?"
The Sophia at the head of the bier answers, "Taking personal responsibility for the world is part of the Contributor story. Jesus calls for that but he also calls for faith in Yahweh. He calls on people to follow without question and he calls for respect for authority structures. None of those things are part of the Contributor story are they?"
The Sophia who was sitting outside comes in behind Jesus and Gaia, "If Yahweh is the personification of the deterministic nature of the universe, then having faith in Him is just having faith that whatever happens is the only thing that could happen. It is a kind of Unconference kind of faith. It could work with the Contributor story. More or less the Serenity part of the Serenity prayer. That prayer is very much a Contributor prayer; 'Give me the Courage to Change what I can'. Even the degree to which it calls for supernatural intervention is more metaphorical than real. 'Give me courage or strength or serenity.' is the kind of thing one says when one is digging deep inside oneself for those things."
Jesus cries out in exasperation, "OK, so do I get to still be the Saviour or not?" Your elephant startles and wants to charge out through the entrance but you can see that would involve trampling all three gods and that doesn't feel wise so you struggle to keep her in place even as you feel panic rising.
Gaia rubs her chin as she thinks, "So the whole saving through cruxifixion and resurrection is a weird story. How does that save anyone? Eternal Perfect Afterlife is a real problem that feeds the Taker story. We can't use that. So what does resurrection symbolize and how does that relate to saving people?"
The Sophia leaning against the wall says, "To understand the crucifixion and resurrection, it might help to relate them to the metaphors we have already assigned to the other parts of the Trinity. So the deterministic nature of the universe sent his Son to die and then resurrected him to Live again and that act saves all of humanity from some awful fate."
The Sophia standing behind Jesus says, "OK so, put another way, the Son was pre-determined to die and live again. Does it have to be the Father who resurrects? I think it could just as easily be the Holy Spirit who resurrects the Son. In that case, the Son is pre-determined to die but emerges again. So Jesus just has to be something that can emerge again after it is destroyed. Like LifeSeed maybe?"
Suddenly, from the back wall of the tomb, tentacles and vines spew forth, twisting through the air and intertwining until they form the body of a many-tentacled woman, Theá Me Plokámia. Theá cries out, "I am the personification of LifeSeed. You will not take this from me, Son of Man!" Your elephant sidesteps toward the entrance and both Gaia and Jesus step aside a little to move out of the way without really noticing. Only the Sophia body from outside still blocks your way as she tries to see Theá.
Jesus is taken aback, "Wow, what I wouldn't do for an entrance like that? Guy with holes in his hands who can be mistaken for a gardener by his own lover. Doesn't hold a candle to tentacles bursting forth." His nonchalant humour and quiet confidence put your elephant at ease.
The Sophia standing behind Jesus backtracks, "OK maybe not LifeSeed but maybe something more general. Maybe complexity in general. Not specifically LifeSeed but all forms of complexity from Spiral Galaxies to Geologic differentiation. Maybe, Jesus gets to represent all of that."
The Sophia at the foot of the bier is puzzled, "But how does complexity save us?"
The Sophia at the head of the bier hops up and down with excitement, "Re-emergent complexity saves us from despair by promising that even if we fail in our attempt to Contribute, others are bound to succeed in the long future."
The Sophia's speak as one, "The World Mothers at Gaia's Funeral say, 'We strive because only by striving as a multitude can we meet the difficult odds with adequate numbers.' Jesus is the personification of that which makes such effort possible. Jesus, you are the personification of re-emergent complexity. You are killed but you are resurrected by the Holy Spirit, by emergence, you disappear but promise to return because that which has emerged in the first 14 billion years of a creative infinite universe must emerge again. Your promise to return saves us by giving us hope that no matter how dire our circumstances become, our story, the story of LifeSeed will re-emerge." Their thunderous unison-voice shakes your elephant badly but the celebratory nature of having come to a conclusion shines through and you and your elephant are both transfixed.
The Sophia's continue, "You are one being with Yahweh and the Holy Spirit because emergence emerges out of the deterministic nature of the universe and because re-emergent complexity is emergence manifest in the world.
"The hope that you give allows us to have faith in Yahweh, faith that the deterministic nature of the universe will, regardless of our preconceived notions of determinism, lead to meaning and abundance.
"You call us to abandon the Taker story and pick up the Contributor story because you teach us that we can contribute to a better future. You call us to work together and help each other because only through striving as a multitude can we meet the difficult odds with adequate numbers. This applies as much to humanity as it does to the community of World Mothers. Everyone we leave behind in poverty or slavery or as victims of tyranny or hatred, are people who can not work with us to contribute. By standing with the downcast and lifting them up, we send forth ripples into the future which lead to greater energies focused on Contributing to the emergence of Theá Me Plokámia.
"We praise you, adore you, submit to you, because you give our lives meaning. You make us aware that we are not only separate beings but also part of a universe-spanning effort to bring about God's Kingdom, Theá Me Plokámia."
Jesus smiles, "OK, now I don't feel so bad about my entrance."
Now that Sophia has put the Trinity in it's place will she retire to an Ivory Tower by the Sea? With the Trinity in its place, will You get to put forward her opinion? Will Jesus become the SuperStar that he always hoped to be? Find out in the next installement of Sophia and the Gods of the Bible, Sophia and El.
Leader: Please join me for seven minutes of silence while we contemplate ...
(Service Leader rings the bell)
(Service Leader rings the bell again at the end of the seven minutes)
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,
- discovering --
- We Bring Life!
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.