Opinions and Opossums

This Sunday we celebrate the Unitarian Universalist practice of drawing inspiration from many sources.  Church member Ed Burke will reflect on his four years of leading youth through an exploration of what to believe. Readings come from Opinions and Opossums, the latest novel by local author Ann Braden. Shital Kinkhabwala will lead us in chant.  All Souls Church…(blurb)

We anticipate that this service will be both in-person and on Zoom. Click right here Sunday shortly before 10:00 a.m. to join via Zoom. Click here to read our protocols

Opinions and Opossums

Worship Leader: Christina Gibbons
Greeter: Lois Reynolds

Order of Service
Sunday, August 20, 2023

Board Welcome & Announcements                                       Elizabeth Lewis

Prelude   Adagio, Piano Sonata no. 13     Ludwig van Beethoven
             Eva Greene, piano

Chalice Lighting
“Life is pure adventure, and the sooner we realize that, the quicker we will be able to treat life as art.”
— Maya Angelou

Lighting Our Children’s Chalice
We light this chalice to celebrate Unitarian Universalism. We are the church of the open minds. We are the church of the helping hands.  We are the church of the loving hearts.

Mission of All Souls Church
The mission of All Souls Church is to create and sustain an open and caring community where we may find inspiration for our spiritual growth, opportunities for lifelong religious education, and encouragement for putting our beliefs and values into action and service.                                               

Opening Hymn #27  I am That Great and Fiery Force

Story For All Ages:  I Feel Safe by David McPhail     read by Ellie Weiss

Introduction                                                                  Christina Gibbons

Reading  from Opinions and Opossums    by Ann Braden
read by Orion Barber

I refuse to stay frozen in fear. (like an opossum in the middle of the road)  To be stuck in place just waiting for the next car to run me down.
When the church secretary shows up at the door and Pastor Paul has to duck out for a few minutes, I take a deep breath and try again with Miranda.
“I don’t think anyone here is a joke,” I say quietly, “including God.”
Miranda turns too me, her face as impenetrable as steel, but I keep going.  “I want to believe in God, but no matter how much I try, I just can’t get there when I picture God looking like that.”  I gesture to the picture above the bookcase that shows God as an old man with a long white beard.
Miranda’s eyes bulge, wide as headlights.  “But that’s what he’s supposed to look like!”
“Not for me—“ I start but then I falter.  The benefit of staying silent is that you don’t dig that muddy hole even bigger for your muddy self.
“Why should YOU get to decide God looks different from what the church thinks?” Miranda cries.
I consider this.  “Because I’m the one trying to believe.”  (p.101)

Reflection                                                                            Ed Burke

Chant                                                                                  Shital Kinkhabwala
ॐ असतो मा सद्गमय ।
तमसो मा ज्योतिर्गमय ।
मृत्योर्मा अमृतं गमय ।
ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥

Om Asato Maa Sad-Gamaya |
Tamaso Maa Jyotir-Gamaya |
Mrtyor-Maa Amrtam Gamaya |
Om Shaantih Shaantih Shaantih ||

1: Om, (O Lord) Keep me not in (the Phenomenal World of) Unreality, but make me go towards the Reality (of Eternal Self),
2: Keep me not in (the Ignorant State of) Darkness, but make me go towards the Light (of Spiritual Knowledge),
3: Keep me not in (the World of) Mortality, but make me go towards the World of Immortality (of Self-Realization),
4: Om,  Peace, Peace, Peace.

Offering shared with The Minister’s Discretionary Fund
“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.”  — Maya Angelou

Offertory:   Canción de cuna          Leo Brouwer
    Eva Greene, piano

Blessing the Candles of Joys and Sorrows  

Closing Hymn  #20  Be Thou My Vision

Closing Words  from Opinions and Opossums                                                                 
Thoughts of Agnes: ” Why can’t God be someone who encourages us to be who we are?  Who listens to our most secret dreams and then gives us a fist bump and tells us to go for it?  Who has our back, not because it’s required, but because God knows what it feels like and isn’t going to let us doubt ourselves?  Why can’t we picture God that way?  Why can’t we picture God as someone who’s wise and loves fiercely and stands up for the underdog?    Because that is a God I could believe in ”     (p 73)

Extinguishing the Chalice
 “Love life. Engage in it. Give it all you’ve got. Love it with a passion because life truly does give back, many times over, what you put into it.”
— Maya Angelou

*Closing Circle: “Carry the flame of peace and love
Until we meet again.” (sung two times)

*Please stand as you are able.”
Benediction                                                                           Christina Gibbons