Welcome to this bonus edition of the “Making Footprints Not Blueprints podcast” which is a supplement to Episode 15. It is nothing more, nor any less, than a representative recording of the service of mindful mediation I offer the Cambridge Unitarian Church, UK, each week.
For those of you who end up listening to this recording more than once, and who no longer wish to hear my general introduction (a quite understandable state of affairs!) then please note the service proper begins at exactly 2’ 15”.
To get the most out of this recording it will help if you could print up, or have sight of, the order of service. Here is a link to a pdf version or you may read it in the transcript attached to this episode.
Make sure you are seated somewhere comfortable and reasonably quiet where you will not be disturbed during the service which lasts a little over forty-five minutes.
On the order of service you will see certain passages printed in bold, italic type; you are invited to read those along with me so that the service takes on a responsorial quality rather than remaining merely a monologue. Also please feel free, along with me, to light both a candle at the beginning of the service, and one for a personal joy or concern after the mindful meditation has concluded.
Just to note that this recording contains a representative reading, in this case George Kimmich Beach’s meditation, “And quiet our anxious hearts”, and a representative piece of music and a Taizé chant, “Stay with me, remain here with me. Watch and pray, watch and pray.” Were you ever able to join the Cambridge congregation one Sunday morning you will discover that the reading, piece of music and Taizé chant changes each week. Please be in touch with me via the link below if you would like the Zoom link for that service which is held at 10am GMT every Sunday morning. You will be made most welcome.
Music, "New Heaven", written by Andrew J. Brown and played by Chris Ingham (piano), Paul Higgs (trumpet), Russ Morgan (drums) and Andrew J. Brown (double bass)
After the general introduction to the podcast the service starts at 2:15.
2:15 ¶ The service leader invites those gathered to rest together for a while in silence. Following the silence the service leader says the following words and those gathered respond with the words in bold italics:
Out of a community of diverse heritage and belief,
we come together to share our hope, and to create good in the world.
The teachers of all traditions and times have taught that we are called to mercy, generosity, and mutual care
and that to be good is to serve.
We know that there can be no enduring happiness for humanity so long as suffering and want go unrelieved;
until all may be sheltered, none of us is truly at home.
May the power of our various faiths sustain us in this work, that we may be the hands of holy creativity and justice;
and together build a better world.
(Kendyl Gibbons, adapted)
Love is the doctrine of this church,
The quest of truth is our sacrament,
And service is our prayer.
To dwell together in peace,
To seek knowledge in freedom,
To serve others in community,
To the end that all souls shall grow
Into harmony with nature,
Thus do we covenant with one another.
(L. Griswold Williams, adapted)
¶ The service leader then lights a candle with the following words:
O light of life, be kindled again in our hearts
As we meet together at this time,
To celebrate the joy of human community,
Seeking a wholeness that extends beyond ourselves.
(Samuel A. Trumbore)
¶ The service leader invites those gathered to say the following responsive reading:
A planet is born, a spark ignites, something completely new comes into being;
we give thanks for the mystery and miracle of life.
A waterfall descends, a rainbow arcs through the sky, the ocean opens to an endless horizon;
we give thanks for the mystery and miracle of beauty.
The stars pierce our hearts, peace envelops us, we are blessed;
we give thanks for the mystery and miracle of wonder.
In the midst of pain, we find our way to hope and restoration;
we give thanks for the mystery and miracle of healing.
In the midst of fear, we do what is right and speak our truth in faith;
we give thanks for the mystery and miracle of courage.
In our aloneness we see someone in greater need and offer ourselves to them;
we give thanks for the mystery and miracle of compassion.
We gather in community, in friendship, and cherish each other;
we give thanks for the mystery and miracle of love.
6:40 ¶ The service leader then invites those gathered to join together in time of led, mindful meditation. This meditation lasts about twenty-five minutes and is concluded by ringing a bell three times.
¶ A time of mindful meditation
35: 44 ¶ A short meditation by George Kimmich Beach followed by a piece of music, "The Fieldpath" (Der Feldweg), written and played by Andrew J. Brown
¶ Candles of Joy and Concern. At this point in the service you may light a candle and speak briefly of a joy and/or concern in your life. If you do not wish to light a candle please simply remain seated and the service leader will continue the service when it becomes clear no other candles are going to be lit.
¶ The service leader lights a final candle and says:
And though we may often doubt that our prayer changes anything, let us never forget that prayer changes people, and people change things. May our time together so change us that we can become the hands of holy creative and justice in this, our most beautiful, but often bruised and hurting world.
And we remember that we have lit these candles as symbols of our desire to heal and not to harm, to bless and not to curse, and to give thanks for the mystery and miracle of life.
41:40 ¶ A Taizé chant is sung:
Stay with me, remain here with me.
Watch and pray,
Watch and pray.
43:28 ¶ The service leader invites those gathered to say the following words:
Let us be at peace with our bodies and our minds. Let us return to ourselves and become wholly ourselves. Let us be aware of the source of being, common to us all and to all living things. Evoking the presence of the Great Compassion, let us fill our hearts with our own compassion—towards ourselves and towards all living beings. Let us pray that we ourselves cease to be the cause of suffering to each other. With humility, with awareness of the existence of life, and of the sufferings that are going on around us, let us practise the establishment of peace in our hearts and on earth.
(Thich Nhat Hanh)
¶ The service leader continues with the following words:
The inner spirit makes us feel that behind every appearance of diversity there is an interdependent unity of all things. Let us, therefore, preach the universal and everlasting gospel of boundless, universal love for the entire human race, without exception, and for each one in particular.
(George de Benneville, 1703–1793, adapted)
And, in the end, it will not matter how much we have, rather how much we have given. It will not matter how much we know, but rather how much we love. And it will not matter how much we profess to believe, but rather how deeply we live the few enduring truths we claim as ultimate. All the rest is discipline.
¶ Those gathered then say responsively the following words:
This making of a whole self takes such a very long time: pieces
are not sequential, nor our supplies.
We work here, then there, hold up tattered fabric to the light.
Sew past dark, intent.
Use all our thread.
Sleeves may come before length; buttons, before a rounded neck.
We sew at what most needs us, and as it asks, sew again.
The self is not one thing, once made, unaltered. Not midnight task alone, not after other work.
It is everything we come upon, make ours:
all this fitting of what-once-was and has-become.
¶ The service leader concludes the service by saying:
Go in peace, speak the truth, give thanks each day.
Respect the earth and her creatures, for they are alive like you.
Care for your body; it is a wondrous gift. Live simply. Be of service.
Be guided by your faith and not your fear.
Go lightly on your path. Walk in a sacred manner. Amen.
¶ Concluding (and opening) music, "New Heaven", written by Andrew J. Brown and played by Chris Ingham (piano), Paul Higgs (trumpet), Russ Morgan (drums) and Andrew J. Brown (double bass)