A homily for Flower Communion
Rev. Douglas Taylor
May 24, 2020
Homily preceded by this Flower Ceremony Slideshow and Song https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0pArJOtflDc
The choir sang this song in October of 2007. “We Are One” by composer Brian Tate. It has been sitting on my computer as an mp3 file for more than a dozen years waiting for this moment. Every now and then I would listen to it while working on something else. It has given me joy and solace and uplift over the years. We are one, the song tells us.
When we stand. When we fall.
When we rise. We are one.
We’ve been through some hard times as a congregation. All congregations are going through hard times right now, and one thing we’ve learned over the years (which is the great secret of faith) is: we can get through difficulty together. Because we are one.
My title is “Cacophony and Symphony.” We have a lot of sound and noise in our lives and listening to the choir or a beautiful string trio or even the point and counterpoint of two birds outside my window in the morning – I know there is something powerful available to us when we hear each other and respond to each other with grace and appreciation. Our congregation is like the symphony – the blending of voices and instruments into a beautiful whole. I know it is possible and perhaps it is all the more amazing when set against the amount of noise we have with us as well.
A visual metaphor is more common for a homily on Flower Communion Sunday. Notice, not the bird song or the choir, but the flowers. The message is the same. We are a blend of beauty together. Each singing our own note and each blooming with out own beauty. But together we are an abundant bouquet to behold.
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King talked about the choice between chaos and community. King witnessed the nation struggling to live into the true dream, struggling to allow the disparate voices blend into something beautiful and just. It is a painful truth to notice how often our voices do not blend and instead give rise to the cacophony of noise.
The news this holiday weekend has been about states re-opening and how some folks want church buildings to reopen early. Perhaps it is just the news I’ve tuned into, but it does seem discordant to my ear, like a clanging gong. The science tells us it is not safe to meet in person at this time. So, we will stay open as we have been all along and when it is safe to meet in person again, we will.
To help me get back on topic, my wife generously pointed out to me that flowers are opening up now too. As the refulgent spring around us opens from bud to bloom, my wife also helpfully added, “some flowers are poisonous, you know.”
So, yes – it breaks my heart to not be doing a real Flower Ceremony with you all. The symbolism is beautiful – each of you has a unique beauty to add to the mix. Each of you brings a flower to the service to symbolize that each one brings something to the table. Everyone takes a different flower home at the end of the service. Everyone receives something unexpected to take away with them. And … and to be blunt I don’t want any of you to receive this coronavirus as the unexpected thing you take away with you.
Another line from the choir song we just heard says, “And we shall care for each other with all our soul & our might.” Cacophony and symphony: chaos is certainly an option on the table. Discord and disease still walk our streets. But King knew that was not the only option, not the option most people wanted. We know it too. We know that we are here to care for each other with all out soul and our might. That’s what it means to still be open as a congregation.
So, I will send you all the link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0pArJOtflDc to listen to the song and watch the flowers slideshow again as often as you want. That’s what you get to take away today as a blessing to remind you of our community and of our faith.
And these words shall be forever within our hearts.
And we shall teach them to our children.
And remember them in our lives.
We are One.
In a world without end, may it be so.