Rev. Douglas Taylor
Each year at this time, we call up the team of people who have agreed to be teachers for our congregation’s families. This year, things are a little different. Our program is hosted by our Family Ministry Team along with a multitude of story readers and other participants. Our program is in the hands of all the parents because we are doing things online. And so, this year, instead of singling out the volunteers who have agreed to serve as Sunday School teachers, we will offer a blessing for all of you who are teachers.
Blessings upon you who are spending time to teach and care for and be with the children and youth of this congregation. Tend to our young people with care and love.
We are grateful to you who step into this willingly and to you who have discovered this thrust upon you by the circumstances of this pandemic. Blessings upon you for your time and attention and care.
Our children are looking to you, wondering how to deal with this unusual situation. You are role models for our children and youth. Blessings upon you for taking up this responsibility and helping to strengthen the bonds of relationship within our community. You are tending to something precious to our community: our children and youth.
May we, in turn, offer our support to you; teaching is not something that can be done alone. We honor the role you hold in our congregation as teachers. We honor you who are teaching in schools in the community and online. We honor you who are teaching at the universities and at the high schools, at the elementary school and the pre-schools. We honor you who are parents, for in this pandemic you are teachers now too. Blessing upon you in your teaching. May you be equipped and empowered and encouraged as you equip and empower and encourage our children and youth.
Together we begin a new year. We all share in different ways for the good of our congregation and our community at large. May we all grow and be enriched together.
Prayer for Resilience
Rev Douglas Taylor
Gracious and loving God, from whom all things come and to whom all things return;
We gather on the edge of another week and, for some of us, on the edge of our strength; We come buoyed by events of our week or weighed down by them, or we arrive in some paradoxical mix thereof; We are here in our Sunday assembly of hope and restoration.
At times we come weary and worn down, and for some, that is how we arrive today; At other times we come with questions, with a longing, or with something to offer; But for those who come today shattered, broken, lonely and lost, let us offer our prayer of resilience.
Again, this week we test the tender places in our hearts and in our lives to see what healing may occur.
Gratitude is often a source of healing; We give thanks for the landscapes of grace in our lives, for music and for good companions, for the guidance of great principles, and the examples of integrity around us; We give thanks for all that lifts us up and for lessons that lead us on
For the times when we are brought low by anxiety or adversity, Show us the hidden wells of love we can tap into; Help us rise up once more, just once more, and once more again will surely be enough.
Remind us we do not strive in vain, that we are part of a chorus, that resilience is in our bones, that peace will prevail on earth and in our hearts, and that healing and grace come like soft rain.
Be thou an ever-present strength upon on journeys; And teach us that in falling down, we do rise again
This we ask in the name of all that is holy, May it be so
Spirit moves along the regular lines.
We find Spirit in special places and sacred moments,
But Spirit really travels the most normal of experiences,
In this room, through those words, with that set of actions.
Of course, it is not all the time or every time
In this room, by that phrase, with these actions
It is instead all of a sudden, breaking through
The ordinary, the rough tangibility like a metaphor
Spirit moves along the regular lines
Where there are grooves from regular use
In this room, at this hour, going through these motions
As if ‘sacred’ is just waiting everywhen to be noticed.
And so, we come to this particular place
To perhaps experience a oneness with all places
At this particular hour, to experience timelessness
By the lines of this window, the shape of that candle flame
And suddenly, Spirit breaks through. And we notice
Something special, something singular, something real.
Spirit moves along the regular lines
Perhaps you have noticed, here or here or just now.
Prayer for Forgiveness by Rev. Douglas Taylor
Eternal Spirit, from Whom all things come and to Whom all things return
We gather this morning as a community of faithful seekers
Firm in our belief that the Spirit of Life and Love moving among all people pays little heed to the human boundaries of denomination, creed and sect.
We gather in reverent exploration during this time of atonement, repentance, and forgiveness
For the blessings of a new day, the company of good people, and the joys of simple things: we give thanks
And for the revival of faith among the shifting sands of life: let us remember and give thanks indeed
Remind us, O Spirit, to be gentle with others and with ourselves, for we all carry burdens, we all are broken in some way.
Humbly, we reflect on the places where there is brokenness in our lives that we had a hand in.
Forgive us for the times we have held back in selfishness and for those times we have struck out in anger
Forgive us for the times we have remained silent when our words would have helped and for those times we spoke out and our words have caused injury
Forgive us for the times we have let fear dictate our actions and for the times we have ignored or dismissed the fears of others
Forgive us as we, in our imperfect way, seek to forgive others and seek forgiveness for ourselves
We give thanks, O Spirit, for our second chances, for our new day unfolding, for our opportunities to begin again in love
Let us move forward from this moment, ready to offer blessings to the world as we ourselves have been blessed
This we ask in the name of all that is holy,
May it be so
Prayer for Freedom
Rev. Douglas Taylor
Gracious and Loving God, from Whom all things come and to Whom all things return
We give thanks this morning for the opportunity to again gather as a people of faith in search together for comfort and meaning and a path toward justice.
Some of us here today have barely made it through the week. Life has been hard and we need the presence and prayers of good people and of thee to sustain us on our journeys.
Some of us here today have arrive excited and curious, looking for new ideas and new opportunities to connect and to build something good and beautiful.
Some of us here today have heavy hearts for the suffer happening just beyond our front doors, for the poor, the immigrant, the incarcerated, the disenfranchised and disempowered.
We gather this morning as Unitarian Universalists seeking freedom and liberation for ourselves and for all people. We gather to be co-creators of a sacred space together guided by the deep values of our faith.
We recognize that a faith like ours needs to be enacted it needs to be lived in action.
We know that freedom for one of us needs the freedom of all of us. That the freedom of our faith community needs the freedom of all the faith communities
We hear how our own cries for relief amid our struggles as individuals sounds very much like the cry made by the immigrants who build this city years ago, and the immigrants who continue to show up today. It is the same cry from people incarcerated & dying in our county jail. It is the same cry from our transgender siblings and from people of color and from the poor and from all those abused and marginalized by our society today.
People like you and me, and people seemingly rather unlike you or me, all crying the same cry for relief from the sufferings we each experience.
Hear our cries, oh God, be with us in our difficulties.
Help us to find the courage to face the continuing injustices of our days.
Help us to reach out from our own heartache and become partners in the transformation of our world.
Help us to know, despite the messy complexity of life, that we do not struggle alone, that liberation is possible, and that hope is a powerful response in the face of what seems impossible.
Be thou an ever-present strength on the journey, O God.
In the name of all that is holy,
May it be so.