20200505PreparedService

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Contents

Preparation

You will need:

  • A Leafless Tree Model to which "leaves" can be attached
  • "Leaves" made of paper, paperboard, cloth or real ones
  • A siphon or wick system which can transfer coloured water between two containers
  • Two containers
  • Water
  • Green food colouring
  • Models of roots which can be attached to your Tree Model
  • Musical Sticks
  • a candle
  • matches
  • a bell or signing bowl
  • a candle snuff
  • A Pitcher of Water
  • A Cup for Each Person attending
  • A Single Cut Flower for each Person attending

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 third Liturgical Season runs from the spring equinox to mid-spring (approximately May 5th) and covers the period from the Cambrian explosion to the invention of trees in the Devonian. The major advances of this period are leaves, veins, roots, and wood.

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

(Light the Sol candle)

Bare rock ... still ... bare rock.
And then ... <gasp> ... Green!
Cells clump. Organs specialize. Life senses Sol. Structures harden.
Forests grow.
In the lush green forests, species are born.
And for every species ... there was a story!

(Stand up a tree cut-out, leafless but dendridic)

(As one person stands it up, the others raise their hand and wiggle their fingers like a growing tree)

This is the story of how they came to be,
these trees with whom we breathe!

(Breath deeply three times contemplating that the oxygen you are breathing in came from green plants)

First came the leaves, ?floating? leaves,
the surfaces on which Sol's fire was captured!

(Pin or clip leaves to the tree cut out)

Next came the veins, organizers of resources,
Both Xylem and Phloem,
raising water and minerals,
and storing sugar.

(suck some water through a syphon tube from an elevated bowl, then let it flow up and down into a lower bowl)

Then came the roots!
Digging deep, searching for minerals.
Digging deep, anchoring stems fast.

(Add roots around the base of the tree cut-out)

Finally, plants invented wood!
Turning soft cells into tall trunks,
Reaching high into the air, thickening the biosphere,
Making 100 meters of air freely available to crawling and jumping animals.

(participants play musical sticks, and dance around the tree.)

Leaves. Veins. Roots. Wood.

(Squat with arms crossed and then, as you stand, spread your arms and fingers like a tree growing)

From bare rock ... Forests!

The Reading

Let us imagine

There are flashing red lights and a pounding klaxon. You are stepping into an airlock sealing a helmet to your spacesuit as you go. There is another astronaut ahead of you doing the same. You hear a count down, 'Core breach in 20 seconds, 19, 18...'

The door seals behind you, with a swooshing sound, and a hissing sound starts as the airlock begins to evacuate. On the far side of the airlock is a door with a clear window and beyond that, just the black of space.

The countdown continues, '15, 14, 13, ...' The astronaut ahead of you grabs a big red handle and pulls it. The door on the far side of the air lock opens, '...11...' and with a woosh you and the other astronaut are fired through the door like a champagne cork. Even as it begins the woosh rapidly fades and in a second there is no sound except your breathing and the countdown continuing in your ear, '8, 7, 6'.

You are tumbling and as you flip over you see the airlock receding behind you and you see it in context, part of a huge spacecraft dark in the black of space against a backdrop of stars. '4, 3, 2' You flip over again to see the other astronaut tumbling before you. '1, --' there is a bright flash reflected off the spacesuit tumbling ahead.

Now the only sound is your breathing. You flip over again. The space ship is gone, replaced only by rapidly dispersing cloud of debris which you are receding from quickly. You flip over again and see the spacesuit ahead of you stabilized and facing you, the faceplate a blank gold tint.

Gaia's voice comes over your suit-to-suit radio, 'Little one, use your suits maneuvering jets to stabilize or you will end up sick from tumbling.'

'Shouldn't we conserve all supplies?' you say, 'With the ship destroyed these suits are all we have.' Your tumble turns your back on Gaia and gives you another glimpse of the debris that was your ship. It is rapidly dispersing and you don't actually see much.

'Maneuvering jets will not be our limiting factor, little one. But getting sick from tumbling might severely limit your survival time.' You flip back to face Gaia. You finger the controls on your maneuvering jets. Once activated they automatically slow and stop your tumbling motion. They bring you to a stop facing at 90 degrees to Gaia.

'We are dead regardless, aren't we?' You play with them until you are facing Gaia, who still just appears as a white space suit with a gold face plate albeit with a bulge in the tummy. Do they make maternity space suits?

'Not yet, little one. Each moment that we live is precious.' Gaia replies. As the glow of the debris from the destroyed ship fades, the stars become more visible. The galaxy is breathtakingly beautiful from the depths of interstellar space. 'To whom is our living precious?' you ask. Gaia is now just a dark silhouette against the backdrop of the stars.

'To all living things in all of the universe.' Gaia replies. Behind her a large piece of debris looms up. It doesn't make sense that you would be gaining on it but you are. Somehow Gaia knows it is there because just before she strikes it, she uses her maneuvering jets to spin around and grabs a handhold in order to land on the debris.

'Is it a salvageable part of the spaceship?' you ask. The distance between you and her is shrinking rapidly.

'No, little one, it is just a telescope.' Gaia replies, grabbing your hand and pulling onto the huge metal object.

'What good will a telescope be to us?' you ask. Gaia presses a button on the telescope and a monitor lights up showing you a magnified view of the stars.

'It will teach us and show us beautiful things.' Gaia replies. She adjusts the telescope and a nebula comes into view 'Look, the pillars of the universe. Wow!'

'How am I supposed to take the time to look at pretty pictures right now. We have to find shelter, a new spaceship, something. We've lost our ship. We are floating in interstellar space with nothing but these suits to keep us alive!' You are frustrated. Your toes are getting cold.

'Little one, there will always be crises, and pressing things to do. If you don't stop to enjoy the beauty of the universe around you at every opportunity, eventually all of the opportunities will slip by you.' Gaia manipulates some controls and the telescope begins to rotate.

You aren't certain about the idea of stopping to enjoy beauty at this point. Your oxygen meter is counting down on your heads up display. Gaia focuses the telescope and zooms it in, on a planet, its view zooms in until the planet's blue green surface more than fills the display. The telescope seems to penetrate the planet's clouds and then the surface of its ocean and you can see little trilobite-like creatures roaming the bottom of the ocean. 'Little one, when we look out into space we can see into the distant past. These creatures lived in another galaxy hundreds of millions of years before Terra formed in Sol's heat. Look closely at them.'

Gaia zooms the telescope in further so that the monitor shows only about a half a dozen of the little creatures but shows them very clearly. Each one is holding a tiny telescope and looking back at you.

'How can they have telescopes? They are too primitive aren't they?' You frown and harrumph at the view in the monitor.

Gaia laughs, 'There is a rare element on their world, called metaphorium. Without it they wouldn't have been able to create these telescopes. But they are looking into the future with these scopes and seeing you. They are awed by you. You are the purpose of their lives. You are why they struggle to survive. You are why they reproduce. You are, from their perspective, the future of life and you are, from their perspective, precious.'

Gaia manipulates the controls on the telescope again and you see on the monitor, the words, 'Switching to tachyon mode.' The view on the monitor shows a large Dyson Tree attached to an icy world floating in the depths of space. 'Now look closely at the life of the future, little one.' She zooms in on the tree and you see that it too is holding a telescope and looking back at you.

'Are you telling me that it too is watching?' You ask Gaia,

'Yes, the tree also has access to metaphorium. And it too considers you precious. You are the past history of Life. For you it survives and reproduces so that Life will continue as it did in your time. It honors your efforts at survival by surviving.' She adjusts the scope again and the monitor says, 'Wide-angle perspective corrected view engaged' The monitor now shows the Milky Way Galaxy. The galaxy is holding a telescope with its spiral arms and looking back at you.

'I suppose metaphorium isn't really that rare?' you ask.

'No I suppose not.' Gaia laughs, 'The galaxy is alive, not very alive, but it is alive and it is watching you as a being that is more alive than it and holding you in awe.' She adjusts the telescope again. The monitor says, 'Internal microscope engaged' It shows millions of bacteria crawling over the inner surfaces of the telescope. 'Bacteria from the outside of your space suit have made their way inside the telescope, little one. They are preparing to ride this telescope to wherever it is going.' She zooms in and yes, each bacterium is holding a tiny telescope and looking back at you.

'That isn't surprising,' you say. I was beginning to suspect that this entire telescope was made of metaphorium.'

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.

Closing Ritual

The fourth Liturgical Season, Diversitas, runs from mid-spring to the summer solstice and covers the diversification of Life on land. The four advances that we celebrate are legs, air breathing eggs, wings, and flowering things, but the celebration is about diversity of forms and so these are just four exciting examples that are meant to inspire us to think about the wondrous diversity that the upward spiral of evolution has led to.

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

(Light the Sol candle; Each person takes a cup of water and places it next to the flame)

A quiet forest... still ... a quiet forest...
And then ... <gasp> ... Noisy animals!
Chirping Crickets, Roaring Dinosaurs, Calling Birds, Buzzing Bees.

(Make animal noises)

Forests grow.

(Arms up; fingers spread)

In the lush green forests, diverse species are born.

(Cradle baby motion)

And for every species ... there is a story!

(Open book motion)

This story begins with legs.

(Stand and walk around the chalice)

Limbs to cross dry land, climb trees and explore the ever spreading forests
Powerful legs to support the weight of the mighty dinosaurs!

(Roar like a dinosaur)

Insects, and then reptiles, began laying eggs on land
Air Breathing eggs

(Pause reading; three deep breath)

Allowing Birth far from water
Opening the heartland of continents to exploring animals!

(Walk away from the chalice (and the cups of water surrounding it) exploring as you go)

Then came wings!
Lifting insects, pterosaurs, birds and bats into the air,
To escape predators, and strike prey from above
To soar high, one step from space!

(Fly back to the chalice)

Next came the flowers, sharers of food.
Both the nectar of bees,
And the fruit from which
early primates got their energy.

(Place a cut flower in your cup of water)

Legs, Land Eggs, Wings and Flowering Things
From quiet forests... a glorious cacophony of life!

(Arms up like crossing a finish line)

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 season be blessed with life and love. Blessed be.

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