20200530PreparedService

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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 sitting on your elephant in a dark forest. Your elephant is deep in water so that your bare feet hang down into the water by his cheeks. Together you are walking forward along a massive tree branch which is deep under the water but rises ahead of you so that a few hundred meters ahead it breaks the water. The branch is so large that your elephant is like an ant walking along it.

In the water around you, there are fish and trilobites and shells of all sorts, every aquatic animal that ever lived swimming in the same water. Coral is growing on the bark and here and there massive coral patch reefs break the water surface. As your elephant walks forward, you see that there is a woman's face in the stony surface of one lump of coral. She watches you and smiles and you know that she is an instantiation of Gaia. "Climb, Little One, climb" she whispers.

Your elephant carries you forward, up the slope of the main branch and soon you are out of the water. The great branch continues to rise ahead of you and curve to the left. Around you are amphibians; frogs hopping, salamanders scurrying, a group of Ichthyostega lying flat on the bark to the right side of the branch, ready to slide off into the water like crocodiles. Among the scurrying salamanders are scurrying millipedes and centipedes, all disappearing under shrub-like plants, club mosses, horsetails, mosses and ferns. On the surface of one of the club mosses, Gaia's face appears, "Climb, Little One, climb" she whispers.

Your elephant winds her way through the vegetation and, as she climbs above the water, the vegetation gets taller; conifer trees appear, insects buzz, reptiles scurry by, a small stegosaurus comes into view; larger than your elephant, munching on ferns under a tall cedar-like tree, it watches you warily as you walk past. The bark of a pine-like tree forms into Gaia's face and says, "Climb, Little One, climb"

You emerge from the forest into a barer area of the branch. You look down from your perch on your elephant and you can see the submerged part of the branch almost directly below you. The branch has spiraled around 360 degrees and you are now hundreds of meters above where you began. You can hear the crunch of dry grasses below your elephant's feet. Ahead there is a patch of flowering bushes. Bees, butterflies and birds flit about among the flowers. There are still lizards and frogs crawling and hoping through the underbrush. Something that looks a lot like a platypus pushes its beak out through the underbrush. "Climb, Little One, climb" it says and you know that Gaia is speaking through it.

You circle around the flowering bushes and enter a thick rain forest. In the dim light, you see bats chasing moths. A deer peaks at you from among some oak saplings and then bounds away. You notice a jaguar lounging on a tree branch almost directly above you. It has noticed you also and is watching you walk past. An orangutan like animals climbs down a hanging vine and looks at you, "Climb, Little One, climb" it says.

But you are tired. It is hot and mosquitoes are biting you. You look into the orangutan's eyes, knowing that it is Gaia looking back out at you, "Where are we going, and where will we end up, Gaia?" you ask.

The orangutan climbs back up its vine and you see ahead of you a giant oak with Gaia's face in her bark, "You are climbing into ever growing possibilities, you will never see the path ahead but every turn will bring many miracles. You must have faith, Little One, and climb."

You look ahead and see the flash of metal, the light of fire and hear the song of strange creatures. Curiosity draws you forward and you continue to climb upward along the spiral branch.

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.
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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