20200204PreparedService

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Contents

Preparation

You will need:

For services during the season of Genesis you will need the following:

  • One seed for each participant
  • A dish of soil
  • A small cup of water for each participant
  • a candle
  • matches
  • a bell or signing bowl
  • a candle snuff

For services during the season of Conflatorium you will need the following:

  • a bowl of ice cubes with a fossil frozen into each (one for each participant and several additional ones)
  • A bowl of hot water
  • A hand snack for each participant in the shape of an aquatic creature (gold fish crackers, shrimp, strips of Nori glued together with honey to look like jelly fish)

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

Each season has an end and when it ends, the next season begins. At these times we celebrate the change of season by doing a special double service.

The season of Genesis is the first Liturgical Season in the SolSeed Movement's Liturgical Calendar. It symbolises the deep past from the Big Bang to the invention of photosynthesis. During this season the Weekly Service Calls use the following Opening ceremony:

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

Service Altar for Genesis

Nothing ... Still ... Nothing

And then ... <gasp> Something!!!!

Time, Space, Matter, Energy, Gravity.

Galaxies coalesce ... in the celestial nursery, stars are born. And for every star, there is a story.

Our story began with Sol, the sun, the fire that sparks life into being.

(Light the candles)

Next came the Earth, our first home, both the shaper of life and the clay from which life makes itself.

("Plant" a seed in the soil)

Then came the water, the sea where the first life swam, the sea that swims inside each of us.

(Drink some of the water and use the rest to "water" the seed)

Finally life made the air, turning sunlight into fuel, freely available to all breathing creatures.

(Take three deep breaths)

Fire, Earth, Water, Air.

From Nothing ... Something

The Reading

Let us imagine

Gaia is wandering through a dark city park at night. The grass is dark below your feet but dotted with fireflies. The sky is dark but dotted with stars. The park is dark but dotted with globular park lights on posts of different heights.

You follow Gaia as she strolls and jog a little to catch up. When you come along side her and match her walking speed so that you can glide through the park together, you ask, “Gaia, where are we?"

"Little one, no matter where we are, we are always in the universe. " Gaia replies and laughs.

Up ahead you notice a teenage girl standing far enough from a reddish park light that she is barely visible in its dim glow. She is shivering, her bare skin covered in a sheath of ice. As she shivers the ice cracks in places and the sheets of ice ride over one another still staying tight to her body, revealing in the gaps between them, bare, very wet, blue-green skin tattooed with bacteria and protozoan-like cells. But quickly the layer of water refreezes to form a continuous surface again.

She is slowly turning, a flail hanging from her hand squinting into the darkness around her.

A small rock floats out of the darkness within arms reach of her. She grabs it and attaches it to the end of the flail. Then she whips the flail over her shoulder slamming the ice on her back with the rock. The rock is vapourized and turns into a mushroom cloud and a flaming shock ring expands out from the point of contact melting the ice and exposing her wet blue bacteria-tattooed back.

As the fire peters out, you see that her back is covered with scars of various ages. Around the point of impact some of her bacteria tattoos fade away. But even before the ice reforms you see that new tattoos are forming; all still bacteria and protozoans.

As the retinal after image of the mushroom cloud and shock ring pulse in your vision, you ask, “Why did you do that?"

The girl looks at you and notices Gaia for the first time. She blushes and some of the ice melts from her face. She speaks to Gaia, ignoring you, "Gaia, I am honored that you have visited my humble star. What can I do for You?"

Gaia looks surprised, like she is just noticing the frozen girl for the first time. She laughs and replies, “Sorry, my mind was just wandering. There's nothing I need from you, thanks anyway. But, Little One here asked why you did that thing with the flail and the asteroid. You might as well answer her."

The frozen girl glances at you but then speaks sheepishly to Gaia, “I want to be like you Gaia, with your complex diversity of Life. I heard that you gained diversity every time you were hit by an asteroid. I have been using the gravitational attraction of my little planet," she holds up the flail by way of explanation, “to attract asteroids so that I may reap the same benefits."

You blurt out, “How could she even do that? A thin bacterial layer, manipulating the magnitude of its planet's gravity teleologically? Impossible!"

Gaia laughs, “Little one, metaphorium has Quantum-like properties. If you examine it too closely, it breaks down. Maybe you have a better question to ask?"

You rethink about what is the source of uneasiness you have about the frozen girl's actions, "Is it moral to kill trillions of creatures just in the hope of pushing evolution forward faster?"

The frozen girl responds, “What is a moral?"

Gaia laughs again, "Morality is a concept that can only be understood by world mothers who contain higher lifeforms whom themselves understand these concepts. Perhaps you should ask about wisdom."

You reconsider your question, “Alright, is it wise to pound yourself with such destructive forces?"

"Nothing ventured; nothing gained." the frozen girl spots another rock floating by and grabs it, "If I just stay single-celled until this star dies, then I die with it." She loads the rock into the flail.

The response makes you think about Gaia during the Cryogenian, “Was that your attitude, Gaia, during the Gaskiers glaciation?"

Gaia smiles and says, “It would have been, if I had been capable of such complex thinking at the time." She turns and begins to walk toward another distant park light. As you follow her, a bright flash in your peripheral vision tells you that the frozen girl has flailed herself again.

Silent meditation

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 meditation.

Closing Ritual

The season of Conflatorium (melting) is the second Liturgical Season in the SolSeed Movement's Liturgical Calendar. It symbolizes and celebrates the emergence of complex life in the Ediacaran and Cambrian periods, after the melting of Snowball Earth 590 million years ago. During this season the Weekly Service Calls use the following Opening ceremony:

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

Conflatorium Service Altar

(Light the Sol candle) (take an ice cube from bowl and hold it in your hand)

Ice ... just ... ice ...
and then ... [gasp] ... Melting

(Drop the ice cube into warm/hot water)

Warm Sun! Open Water! Dry Land! Scented Breeze!
The sea teems with new lifeforms ...
As the ice melts, they emerge to tell their story!

(pour the ice cubes (or big block of ice) that have things (e.g., trilobites) frozen in them, into the bowl of warm water)

Cells transcend themselves
Uniting with multitudes of sisters to become something more;
Complex life explodes into a dazzling diversity of forms!

(Participants clasp hands, or join two hands clasped if you are alone)

Next opens the mouth, the first structure,
Both the feeder of animals,
and the singularity that
gave animals direction.

("Chase" and then eat some food, e.g. seaweed, suishi, shrimp, or goldfish crackers ... participant's choice)

Then come the senses!
Taste, smell, sight, touch, hearing
((Put fingers on mouth, nose, eye, temple, and ear, thus touching all five senses))
The sensing which gave the first animals reason to swim.
The sensing which still directs us today!

Finally, Animals secrete calcium,
Armour, Shells, Teeth, Bones,
Massive, piling, surfaces fold through open water,
A billion allies emerge,
Life learns to make new reefs, new worlds,

(building motions of one hand on top of another going up up up?)

Cells Join to Cells.
Mouths. Senses. Shells.

From silent ice ... teeming reefs!

(schooling fish motion where each finger is a fish)

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.
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 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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