20221126PreparedService

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Contents

Preparation

You will need:

  • A set of 9 candles in addition to the Sol Candle including one which floats (a tea light works).
  • A galaxy-shaped indentation in a clay plate, with powdered boric acid
  • Some pure ethyl alcohol
  • An eye dropper
  • A large flat dish 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

The eighth and final Liturgical Season, Viventibus Galaxia (Living Galaxies), stretches from mid-fall to the Winter Solstice. It covers the far future. When life spreads from planet to planet and then star to star. Humanity may be left behind. Humanity may adaptively radiate. Life from Earth will probably encounter other biospheres, and hopefully embrace them in communion. Life may become such a powerful force that it controls the paths of stars, slingshotting them around each other so that entire systems are thrust toward other galaxies. The four great advances of this time are colonies, interstellar life, contact between biospheres, and intergalactic life. This version of the ceremony is designed to work with Repartum as the previous season. If you are still using Viventibus Mundos as the previous season then check the history tab for a version of this season which works with that.

Here is the opening ceremony for the Weekly Service Calls during this season:

Nothing ... still ... Nothing.
And then ... <gasp> ... Something!
Space! Time! Energy! Matter! Gravity!
Galaxies coalesce.
In one celestial nursery, Sol is born.
(Light a candle for Sol)
Sol's story has begun, but it is only the beginning.
The story continues with life taking the next great leap,
Spreading to nearby stars to clothe their naked worlds with blue-green biospheres
Where Life's upward spiral supports all starfaring creatures.

<light second candle the first week and one more each week through the season.>

Through practice, starflight becomes nature.
Now it is in the nature of Life to proliferate across the stars,
Green fire flowering as it flows across our immense galaxy!
(Light some alcohol in a galaxy-shaped indentation in a clay plate, with powdered boric acid to make a green flame)
In our journeys, Earthlings encounter other life.
Beings and biospheres as precious as we,
Joining us as fellow travelers on the great upward spiral.
(After the green fire dies down, do an upward-spiral gesture starting with your finger over the galactic center)
Then comes intergalactic life!
Shaping entire star systems.
Sailing them across the great gulfs between the galaxies,
Bringing those galaxies fully alive!
(Set a candle drifting from one side of a large water-filled container to the other)
Colonies, starflight, contact, living galaxies
From something ... Something else!

The Reading

Let us imagine

You are sitting on your elephant on the deck of a massive ocean liner looking over the rail and out across the ocean at a bizarre ship which is sailing parallel to yours. It is made of ice and on its deck stands the Grim Reaper only instead of wielding a scythe he has a bola made of two dice strung together by a length of razor wire. He spins it up over his head and launches at your ship. You hear voices all around utter cries of fear as the bola rises up and sweeps across the distance between the two ships. Your elephant shudders. The perspective of the situation sinks in and you realize that the Grim Reaper stands very tall, perhaps multiple kilometers and the bola he launched is huge and capable, perhaps, of sinking your ship.

A voice behind you calls out, "Have faith, Keep living, Do not despair." They are not words of comfort, but orders called out with the authority of a military leader. As the dice roll through the air, the bola seems to fluctuate in size drastically, from something too small to worry a fly to an existential threat of cosmic proportion. You look around to see who gave the orders but when you glance aft, you are blinded by the bright sunrise. When your vision clears you look to fore and see impenetrable darkness filled with dim red stars. The deck around you is crowded with world mothers. Gaia stands beside you watching the bola with a grim look in her eyes. A hand rests momentarily on her shoulder and the voice which spoke before says, "Good Gaia! Remain steadfast."

You recognize the hand and look behind you to see its owner, "Jesus!" you say shocked. Jesus smiles at you and continues to stroll along the deck.

Finally, the bola descends toward your ship and strikes a balcony upon which several world mothers are standing. The balcony sheers away from the ship and falls into the churning waters below taking those several world mothers with it. The bola comes to rest on the deck not far away. One World mother picks up the bola, steps through a broken window deeper into the ship. You see that the corridor which she has entered is filled with dark windows, some broken and some whole. The world mother gives a battle cry like a soldier giving her all and swings the bola into an unbroken window. It shatters and then explodes outwards engulfing the world mother in flames and blasting her back out onto the deck, through the railing and out into the sea. Your elephant trumpets a cry of despair.

The Grim Reaper brandishes another bola and swings it over his head to build momentum.

You turn to your Goddess, "Gaia shouldn't we do something to stop him?" you ask pointing at the Reaper.

"We are doing something, Little One." Gaia replies gesturing a little to aft where Jesus is kneeling on the deck. He prays for a moment and then his hands glow and he touches the deck. A new balcony grows from the side of the ship where he touched it and a child world mother appears on this new balcony. "We spread and flower and new life abiogenerates and we make up for our losses."

The Grim Reaper launches his next bola and it slices through the air toward your ship growing as it climbs its parabola. It looks like it might be the one to slice the ship in half.

"Can we abandon ship before that one strikes? It looks like this is the one which will do us in." Your elephant cries out in fear as the bola reaches its apex and begins to descend toward you.

Jesus calls out in a most authoritative voice, "Remain steadfast. Have Faith. Keep Living. Do not despair."

Gaia says, "There is no leaving the ship, Little One. This ship is our place in time and space. It is the position is space time that we are given. We have to make the best of it. We always seem to be moving forward in time and the universal luminous speed limit means that we can never turn very far from the path that leads into our future light cone. The far distant future," she gestures forward toward the dim red stars, "is the heat death of the universe and it is clearly in our future light cone, so it is our unavoidable destiny."

The bola seemed to hover in the air far above the ship spinning around and around ever faster. Sooner or later it would surely swoop down. "What hope is there?" you ask.

Gaia laughs, "The first hope is the mathematical truth that an infinite series of terms can have a finite sum. This means that if we parse the finite available free energy into an infinite number of subdivisions and modify ourselves over time to live at ever lower temperatures we can live forever."

You realize the bola has been falling not hovering but shrinking as it fell so that it seemed to remain at the same distance. You doubt it will be long before it reaches you. "What about that, " you say pointing at the falling menace and then you point to the Grim Reaper on his giant ice ship, "and him?"

He is the flaw in the first hope. Stochasms occur at finite frequencies. Worse ones at lower frequencies and minor ones at higher frequencies. But the time we are trying to survive is infinite and throughout it our best plan is to shrink in power. Sooner or later, the law of large numbers ensures that a Stochasm will occur that we will be unable to survive, and Life will come to an end. It is the nature of the infinite that it will eventually throw a Stochasm at us that we will not even have predicted. One that we will be unable to prepare for. If we don't find a way to steer the ship to new waters where we can flower and spread instead of shrinking and contracting, we are doomed."

The bola continues to shrink as it falls until it wraps around a railing and barely scratches the paint. Your elephant lets out a loud trumpet of relief. "Is that why that world mother smashed the window? To find a way to the bridge?"

Gaia answers, "Wherever you are in space time you are always right next to the adjacent possible. It is at least possible that beyond the Cosmic Background in a space-like direction, the universe is infinite in space as well as in future time. Somewhere in that infinity, some life form will find a way through the adjacent possible to something we can't imagine but which saves us or at least a world or two from our doom."

Jesus calls out again, "It has been written that Life finds a way. Keep searching. Have faith. Do not despair."

A world mother takes up the tiny bola from where it is draped over the railing and walks into the corridor and finds an unbroken window. She finds that one die has a suction cup and one has a hardened sharp corner. She attaches the suction cup to the glass and scores a circle into the glass with the other, using the short length of razor wire as a compass. The circle of glass falls away and she reaches through and unlocks the door in which the window is set and walks into tiny room with three more glass windowed doors around it. A flock of purple butterflies are dancing in the middle of the room and they fly past the world mother into the corridor. Suddenly sparks jump between them and then ground themselves in three other unbroken doors in the corridor. All three shatter.

Jesus calls out, "It is written, 'The nature of Life is to flower and spread.'" Even as the Grim Reaper throws another bola, world mothers run through newly open doors. One finds a lever in the middle of a room. It isn't labelled but she pushes it forward. It locks and refuses to come back and the ship responds by tilting forward and beginning to slide ever deeper into the water. A claxon sounds. Jesus yells, "Clear the decks, Dive! Dive! Clear the decks!" You feel your elephant begin to panic.

The Grim Reaper launches another bola and this one is big and is staying big. Your elephant begins to edge its way into the corridor. It wants to charge in but fears the response should it trample a world mother.

A world mother who ran through the second broken doorway calls, "I can see the way ahead. It is the escape we hoped for!" Your elephant manages to slip into the corridor so that you can peak through the doorway. The world mother is in a control room. On a screen diagrams show that the ship is diving under the water where it will be safe from Stochasms and that there is a domed city under the water where Life can thrive, "All we have to do is survive until we can get there."

Icy waves begin to splash over the rails threatening to drown all of the world mothers. The huge bola bears down on the ship quickly. A world mother who ran through the third broken doorway yells, "We will all be safe in here for a while, hurry." World mothers from all over the ship race toward that doorway. As they enter, they find themselves in a space larger than the entire ship but on the inside of the ship: some kind of distorted space. You watch the falling bola and realize that many world mothers won't make it. You and your elephant help as many of them as you can, scramble across the deck and into the safety of the bubble space. Jesus continues to provide encouragement and help also, "Do not despair. Have faith. Take comfort in the Big Picture. Take comfort in the Father and the Holy Spirit. I am your salvation."

The bola is truly huge; each die as large as the entire ship. At the last second, you ride through the doorway to safety with Gaia, "Jesus come, hurry!"

But he just smiles at you, helping straggling world mothers toward the doorway and safety even though there is no chance they will make it. There is a blinding white flash of light and fire as the bola strikes, and a world mother slams a blast door closed over the broken one in order to keep the fury out. "But Jesus was still out there!" you scream in horror.

You feel a hand on your shoulder and turn to see his calm and caring face, "Why do you despair? Did I not tell you to have faith? Did I not tell you not to despair?"

"But you were out there..." you stammer through tears.

Jesus laughs merrily, "Complexity always re-emerges and with it, hope, compassion, wisdom and passion."

You feel the clunk of airlocks and docking rings locking together as the ship docks with the underwater city and wonder what challenges lie ahead, "We must forever navigate between infinite doom and infinite hope, but you will always be there with us, won't you, Jesus."

Jesus smiles, "Of course."

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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