20200516PreparedService

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Contents

Preparation

You will need:

  • A Pitcher of Water
  • A Cup for Each Person attending
  • A Single Cut Flower for each Person attending
  • 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 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)

The Reading

Let us imagine

You are riding Your Elephant down an aisle between two rows of cages. The cages are stacked like walls on either side of you and reach up to the high charcoal coloured glossy ceiling hundreds of meters above you. Each cage has a animal in it just slightly different from the one in the cages on either side or above it or below it. The animals next to you seem to be all variations of crosses between octupuses and lions. They are all sitting contentedly in their cages.

You notice that the aisle you are walking on is actually a catwalk. The cages continue downward also to a charcoal-coloured glossy floor far below. As you pass a cage which has bars on the back as well as the front you see that there are more walls of cages paralelle to these. Perhaps they go on forever. Ahead you see that there is a passage crossing this one and a hundred meters beyond that you see a charcoal-coloured glossy wall blocking the way. The space is big but finite.

Gaia steps out from the cross passage and turns and walks away from you toward that wall. You follow her, frightened of this strange environment, and hoping that she can bring you comfort. As you follow her, you notice that the animals are changing gradually and that now they seem more like crosses between saber toothed tigers and octopuses. The gleaming curved teeth do nothing to make you feel more comfortable.

Before you can catch her, Gaia reaches the last cages before the wall. She turns and opens a cage on the right, just two above the catwalk. A giant cat-like creature with tentacles for legs and elephant-like tusks where its saber teeth might have been, turns and swings its huge tusks against the wall and the whole wall shatters like glass. You cringe, fearing that the shards falling from hundreds of meters above will cut you to shreds. But the shards all dissolve harmlessly. The strange creature retreats back into its cage and resumes its contented sitting. Gaia closes the cage and passes through the place where the wall had been.

The catwalk continues as do the walls of cages. The animals now seem to have long sticky tongues that they are continuously poking out between their tusks and withdrawing. Not too far ahead there is another charcoal-coloured glossy wall.

Finally you catch up to Gaia and walk beside her. You decide to ask her something that has been bothering you, "Gaia, we have dreams that seem impossible. How do we maintain our motivation when our dreams seem so unreachable?"

Gaia looks at you as she continues to stroll along the catwalk toward the next wall. "Little One, I have worked toward my dreams for billions of years. I have worked by continuously exploring the adjacent possible. I have reached the level of diversity that I have by blindly exploring. You have the ability to see vaguely into the future and use that sight to guide your actions. This is an ability that I have never had before. It gives me great hope."

You are puzzled, "What is the adjacent possible?"

Gaia motions toward the cages all around you, "Imagine a space in which every possibility is laid out. In one direction, tusk length changes, in another direction, the number of tentacles changes, in another direction, visual acuity changes. In this space, there are millions, even trillions of directions. In each direction, a different variable changes. Of course, you are only capable of perceiving three directions."

You still understand no more, "Why are there these walls?"

You are approaching the next wall and Gaia opens a cage a few back from the wall on the left. A strange creature slithers out. It has six short flat tusks arranged radially around its mouth. Its tentacles are strong and it walks tall on them. It sticks its tongue out and seems to glue it to the wall. Then it presses its tusks against the wall and pulls its tongue back into its mouth. A small circle of glass is ripped from the wall. The creature steps back. Cracks appear around the edges of the missing circle and rapidly spread out like a spiderweb. The wall shatters and dissolves like the last one did. "The walls are the edges of what is possible. But as I actually explore the edges of what is possible, I often discover that what seemed impossible is made possible by the new forms near those edges. They burst through the boundaries at the edge of what is possible into what seemed impossible before. The regions of the space that they can burst into are the adjacent possible. The adjacent possible is a region of impossibility that can become possible if only you bring into existence a particularly innovative thing that is currently possible."

You feel a moment of excitement, "So all of my dreams are out there in the space beyond these walls. By breaking through one wall at a time, exploring and searching, I can eventually make these dreams come true."

"You understand, Little One. Now it is time for you to go back to your view of reality and continue your explorations. Nothing is actually known to be impossible. There may be a path to every bit of possibility space. It is just a matter of continuing to try to bring the right possibilities into existence, in order to open the right parts of the adjacent possible. You have a better chance of doing that in a structured and planned way than I ever did. Go back now and do it."

You find yourself back in the real world ready to explore!

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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