The Rev. Alison Cornish
service and sermon, Main Line Unitarian Church
July 31, 2016
CALL TO WORSHIP and CHALICE LIGHTING.
We want more soul, a higher cultivation of spiritual faculties
We need more unselfishness, earnestness and integrity of high and lofty enthusiasm and beacons of light and hope,
People ready and willing to lay time, talent and money on the altar of freedom.
(Frances Ellen Watkins Harper)
The Peace of Wild Things, Wendell Berry
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel about me the day-blind stars
Waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
SERMON. Hope in the Dark
A story from UU minister Chris Buice
Two frogs hop (as they do) along through their day … hop (as they do) into a bucket. This bucket happened to be half-filled with cream, which made the sides very slippery – too slippery for the frogs to climb out, too deep to jump out. One frog began to moan and wail ‘we’ll never get out, we’re doomed!’ but the other frog quietly thought about their predicament. While he thought, he moved his legs, treading ‘water’ in the cream – ‘we’ll never get out – we’re doomed’ moaned one – and the other, paddled, and to drown out his companion, started chanting ‘keep hope alive! Keep hope alive! And he urged his despairing friend to do the same – keep hope alive, keep hope alive – around and around they swam, croaking ‘keep hope alive! Keep hope alive!’ And, after some time, the most astonishing thing happened – what do you think it was? Butter formed from the cream! As the frogs swam round and round, they churned the cream into butter, enough to climb up on and hop out of the pail, on their merry way, still chanting to themselves – keep hope alive! Keep hope alive!
Keep Hope Alive.
Not to stretch this image too far, but I suspect most of us in this room feel as though we’re in a whole lot more than a big pail of cream these days. I was reflecting on the events that have occurred just since submitting the title of this morning’s service in time for your newsletter deadline – the public and tragic deaths of two more young African American men at the hands of white police officers; the mass shooting at the Pulse, an Orlando nightclub catering to LGBTQ young adults, many of them Latino; the shooting of police officers, first in Dallas, and then Baton Rouge; a Bastille day rampage in Nice; a failed yet hugely disruptive coup in Turkey, which is still unfolding; stabbings in Japan, the murder of a French Roman Catholic priest while saying mass. These are just the headlines. In the back pages there are the ongoing wars in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and Sudan, among others. Refugees. Widespread injustice, abuse and violence.
Our bucket of cream runneth over.
How, possibly, can I even suggest we ‘keep hope alive?’ The temerity! What kind of rose colored glasses am I wearing? Or substances am I smoking or ingesting? Honestly! The Dark Times, yes – Hope? That’s a lot harder to accept.
Well, this is my task this morning – to share with you why I not only think hope is warranted in Continue reading