Killing the Buddha – A Unitarian Universalist Sunday worship service

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A quick aside … We have two services on non-holiday Sundays. During the first run of this service, I – of all people – forgot to set my phone to vibrate. I keep it with me beside the speaker’s chair as a timer. Just as I get to the climax of the sermon, bringing things back full circle to my Dad and the book, my phone rings. I jump down from the podium to hit the ringer off button and I get a quick look at the caller id. It was my Dad.

Freaky.

laughing_chinese_buddha_wallpaper-normal5.4If You Meet Buddha on the Road, Kill Him!

Tara McIntyre, Lay Worship Associate

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Welcome

Good Morning! On behalf of our minister, the Rev. Clare Petersberger, I’d like to welcome you to the Towson Unitarian Universalist Church. We are very glad you could be with us this morning. My name is Tara McIntyre, and I’m a member of TUUC’s Lay Worship Associates committee. Our committee develops and presents Sunday worship services when Rev. Clare isn’t in the pulpit. My standard promo refrain is that we are the voice of the congregation in the pulpit, and we’re always looking for new voices and perspectives, so please catch up with me after service this morning if you’d like to know more about how we do what we do.

TUUC is a welcoming congregation in every sense of the word, and we love to welcome visitors and newcomers. Is there anyone joining us for the first time who might like to stand and introduce themselves? Tell us your name and what brought you here this morning? … Welcome! We hope you’ll stick around for a few minutes after service, have a cup of coffee and a gnosh, and get acquainted.

Chalice Lighting

We light our chalice this morning, the symbol of light and understanding in our free faith tradition, with the help of (congregation member name) .

The chalice lit amongst us is a beacon
A beacon of hope, in a world in crisis
A beacon of possibility, made manifest in community
A beacon of warmth through interconnection
A beacon of light illuminating shared wisdom
A beacon of connection by our being together

Thanks, (Congregation Member).  Please rise in body or in spirit as you’re able and join us in singing hymn #1000 in the blue hymnal, Morning Has Come.

Hymn #1000 Morning Has Come

Opening Words – Pema Chodron

Our opening words this morning are from American Buddhist nun and teacher, Pema Chodron, who writes, HERE, NOW, ALWAYS :This is a work in progress, a process of uncovering our natural openness, uncovering our natural intelligence and warmth. I have discovered, just as my teachers always told me, that we already have what we need. The wisdom, the strength, the confidence, the awakened heart and mind are always accessible, here, now, always. We are just uncovering them. We are rediscovering them. We’re not inventing them or importing them from somewhere else. They’re here. That’s why when we feel caught in darkness, suddenly the clouds can part. Out of nowhere we cheer up or relax or experience the vastness of our minds. No one else gives this to you. People will support you and help you with teachings and practices, as they have supported and helped me, but you yourself experience your unlimited potential.

Pebbles/Prelude – Padmapani, Paul Foley Tillen (The TUUC Choir)

As we listen now to the beautiful music of TUUC’s choir, directed by Joseph Gascho, you’re invited to form two lines to come drop a pebble in the pools of water, symbolic of any joy, sorrow, memory or milestone you may have brought with you to worship this morning. May the ripples remind us that here in this community we treasure and beyond in the wider world, we are truly never alone.

First /Intergen Reading – “Fallen” (video)

Our story this morning contains no words. So we have to show it to you instead. It’s a tale of living fully in the present moment, of acceptance, and of impermanence. It’s about a rock. And it’s called “Fallen” …

[Ushers: Lights down during my intro, Vid runtime 3:50, lights up on credits.]

 

Hymn #1031 May I Be Filled

Rise now as you’re able to sing hymn # 1031, May I Be Filled. After the 2nd verse, students and teachers are invited to gather up front to leave for Religious Exploration classes.  Any parents visiting for the first time are welcome to join the procession and head downstairs to meet the teachers and see the classrooms as well.

Meditation – Shoveling Snow with Buddha/Billy Collins

Our meditation this morning is by former US Poet Laureate Billy Collins, someone I’ve used an awful lot in services past, but this one was just too good to pass up. It will be followed by a few moments of silence, and it’s called ‘Shoveling Snow with Buddha.’

 

In the usual iconography of the temple or the local Wok
you would never see him doing such a thing,
tossing the dry snow over a mountain
of his bare, round shoulder,
his hair tied in a knot,
a model of concentration.

Sitting is more his speed, if that is the word
for what he does, or does not do.

Even the season is wrong for him.
In all his manifestations, is it not warm or slightly humid?
Is this not implied by his serene expression,
that smile so wide it wraps itself around the waist of the universe?

But here we are, working our way down the driveway,
one shovelful at a time.
We toss the light powder into the clear air.
We feel the cold mist on our faces.
And with every heave we disappear
and become lost to each other
in these sudden clouds of our own making,
these fountain-bursts of snow.

This is so much better than a sermon in church,
I say out loud, but Buddha keeps on shoveling.
This is the true religion, the religion of snow,
and sunlight and winter geese barking in the sky,
I say, but he is too busy to hear me.

He has thrown himself into shoveling snow
as if it were the purpose of existence,
as if the sign of a perfect life were a clear driveway
you could back the car down easily
and drive off into the vanities of the world
with a broken heater fan and a song on the radio.

All morning long we work side by side,
me with my commentary
and he inside his generous pocket of silence,
until the hour is nearly noon
and the snow is piled high all around us;
then, I hear him speak.

After this, he asks,
can we go inside and play cards?

Certainly, I reply, and I will heat some milk
and bring cups of hot chocolate to the table
while you shuffle the deck.
and our boots stand dripping by the door.

Aaah, says the Buddha, lifting his eyes
and leaning for a moment on his shovel
before he drives the thin blade again
deep into the glittering white snow.

 

[Moment of Silence – end with singing bowl; 3x, then continuous. Intro over bowl, then segue into Interlude]

[Special Meditation Outro/Music Intro]

Under the emblems of the innocent brook, the
green tongues of spring, the austere, pure white
of winter, lies a truth that has no name and is
always escaping from the walls of language we erect around it.
No one has yet explained a blade of grass, or the haunting light of evening that
falls like a benediction upon us all.
Yet we may experience the meaning and wonder of it. That is enough.
To learn that the world must be listened to as if it were music —
because it is.

Interlude – Gate Gate, Brian Tate (The TUUC Choir, with Asher Herzog, percussion)

 

 

Second Reading – Buddha’s Dogs / Susan Browne

 

Our second reading is a wonderful meditation upon meditating. It’s by Susan Browne, and it’s called ‘Buddha’s Dogs’.

 

I’m at a day-long meditation retreat,
eight hours of watching my mind with my mind,
and I already fell asleep twice and nearly fell out of my chair,
and it’s not even noon yet.

In the morning session, I learned to count my thoughts,
ten in one minute,
and the longest was to leave,
and go into town and shop, then find an outdoor cafe and order a glass of Sancerre, smoked trout with roasted potatoes and baby carrots and a bowl of gazpacho.

But I stayed and learned to name my thoughts, so far they are:
wanting, wanting, wanting,
wanting, wanting, wanting, wanting, wanting, judgment, sadness.

Don’t identify with your thoughts,
the teacher says, you are not your personality, not your ego-identification,

then he bangs the gong for lunch.
Whoever, whatever I am is given instruction
in the walking meditation, and the eating meditation
and walks outside with the other
meditators, and we wobble across the lake like The Night of the Living Dead.

I meditate slowly, falling over a few times because I kept my
foot in the air too long, towards a bench,
sit slowly down, and slowly eat my sandwich,
noticing the bread, (sourdough),
noticing the taste, (tuna, sourdough),
noticing the smell, (sourdough, tuna),

thanking the sourdough,
the tuna, the ocean, the boat, the fisherman, the field, the grain,
the farmer, the Saran Wrap that kept this food fresh for this
body made of food and desire

and the hope of getting through the rest of this day without dying of boredom.

Sun… then cloud… then sun.

I notice a maple leaf on my sandwich.
It seems awfully large.

Slowly brushing it away, I feel so sad I can hardly stand it, so I name my thoughts;
they are:
sadness about my mother,
judgment about my father,
wanting the child I never had.

I notice I’ve been chasing the same thoughts like dogs around the same park most of my life,
notice the leaf tumbling gold to the grass.
The gong sounds, and back in the hall.

I decide to try lying down meditation, and let myself sleep.
The Buddha in my dream is me,
surrounded by dogs wagging their tails, licking my hands.

I wake up for the forgiveness meditation,
the teacher saying, never put anyone out of your heart,

and the heart opens
and knows it won’t last and will have to open again and again,
chasing those dogs around and around
in the sun… then clouds… then sun…

 

(Offertory intro)

As members of this beloved fellowship, we help each other grieve the past and move forward with hope and joy. There is much to be thankful for, this community of faith not least among them. We have each other, we have this church, so full of potential, we have the bounty of our Unitarian Universalist faith tradition which continues to call us forward. We have our culture and traditions, our food and music and celebrations that no one can take from us. Every new face who walks in that door brings their own, and enriches those traditions. We are here because of the love and commitment and gifts of those of the past. Together we have buried and dismissed the burdens of the past, and we have celebrated hope and courage in word and song. Now we contemplate the future that lies before us, the future that is still ours to shape. In faith and hope, and with joy, the offering for the life and work and future of this beloved community of liberal faith will now be given and gratefully received. A portion of the proceeds from this morning’s offering will be returned to the community to fight illiteracy, hunger, homelessness and addiction.

Offertory – Tibetan Melody, Gurdjieff/de Hartmann (Joseph Gascho, piano; Al Muehlberger and Asher Herzog, percussion)

 

Sermon – Kill the Buddha??

 

As always seems to be the case, things in my life became very complicated as I began to prep for this service. So much so that I had to all but ignore it up until about 3 days ago, when the prospect of writing a full sermon scared me thoroughly enough to get me off the proverbial dime and make me sit down to do this. I think everyone here can relate in one way or another to the considerable motivational power of deadlines.

Our wonderful minister Clare saw me floundering and graciously offered a sermon she delivered about Pilgrimage at Cedar Lane UU church a few years back, to use today. Our Clare is nothing if not sensitive, considerate and incredibly spiritually generous. Her insight into the topic is as illuminating as it is into countless other elements of spirituality, and I was so grateful for her offer.

But she chose different readings for the Cedar Lane service, a different meditation, different music than we’ve heard here today, and there were a few other bases I wanted to cover in addition to those she so eloquently discussed in her sermon.

So you’ll hear both our voices here this morning, with mine offering a nod of grateful acknowledgment to hers.

So first a little background …

My father was a pretty hip dude back in the 70’s. He was as cutting edge as Catholics got back then… an ordained deacon in our parish who had the temerity to get divorced, promptly ending his deaconing… which was a shame. He was good. My memories of him in the pulpit at St. Charles are probably the reason I stand here in front of you today. His catholic spirituality always contained a healthy dose of the Asian perspective, something he took from his affection for thinkers like Thomas Merton, and some of the early Jesuit missionaries to Asia, particularly his namesake, St. Francis Xavier. It was in this Catholic context that I first became acquainted with the broader concepts of eastern spirituality. Mostly, it felt very comfortable to me, not foreign or alien or blasphemous at all. It fit.

Dad always had lots of books around … Alan Watts, Ram Dass, Hugh Prather, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, The Little Prince … and I’d read them, often becoming thoroughly confused. Then he and I  – in countless conversations – would unravel and piece back together my adolescent understanding of the concept of the moment. One of the books he had in particular always struck me as odd. It was called “If You See the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him!”, published in 1972 by a PhD by the name of Sheldon Kopp.

I never got that idea, Killing the Buddha … how violently contradictory was that. Kill the Buddha?… Would I have killed Jesus?!?  Why on earth…? It was as frustrating to me then as some of those unanswerable koans the Buddhists were always tossing back and forth at each other. An overflowing teacup, or that monk, falling off a cliff to his death in the jaws of the hungry tiger waiting below … he eats a strawberry??… Give me a break.

At 16 or so, I tried reading the book, dabbled in it at best, never did figure out the contradictory title. It probably didn’t matter enough to me at the time. I moved on.

Then, a few months ago out of the blue, the book appeared in my mail one day. In it was an inscription from my father, and my baptismal certificate (of all things). Dad wrote: “My dearest Tara, Thank you for who you are to me. Don’t change. This book has been most useful to me from my early 30s til now. For me it clarifies all the abstractions of philosophy and psychology that are most obscure. My first born … I love you very deeply. Signed, Dad. P.s…. note the enclosure.” Came to find out that he’d sent a copy to my younger brother and sister too, along with their baptismal certificates. Nowadays my dad has a case of dementia which worsens by the day, but he clearly had something to say to us by sending it. Loving my dad the way I do, grieving already the slow loss of the man I knew as a child, I wanted to know what he was trying to tell me. I decided to read the book again.

It’s amazing the change in perspective 35 years can enable.

Back in the late 60’s and early 70’s, psychotherapy was just moving into the mainstream. No longer was it exclusively the domain of the aberrantly mentally ill, but it was becoming hip for everyday, ostensibly ‘normal’ people to avail themselves of this newly socially acceptable method of increasing one’s self awareness. Sheldon Kopp’s primary point in the book, as a psychotherapist himself, was that people were attributing entirely too much gravitas to the role of therapist… that they were being held up as gurus, almost god-like in some instances.

In the intervening 40 years since the book’s publication, psychotherapy has become as ubiquitous as the internet. Our western culture has absorbed it. We’ve all either done a few turns on the therapist’s couch ourselves or know someone who has. We no longer quote our therapists as if their words were gospel. Quite the contrary. They are, in the most utilitarian sense – and I mean zero offense to any psychotherapists in the room, but I think most of them would agree with me – they’re simply tools _  tools we use to understand ourselves and our relationships better. We routinely fire them if we aren’t satisfied with the direction things take or the resulting insights. We shop modalities. Therapists are no longer infallible gurus. So to at least one extent, it would appear that Kopp’s 1972 assertion does ring true today.

But I had to ask myself …what of the other sources of wisdom we might encounter on our free and responsible – and ultimately life long – searches – pilgrimages, if you will –  for truth and meaning? Can’t we compare our allegiances to any given school of spiritual thought to Kopp’s psychotherapeutic gurus?… What about philosophers?  Spiritual leaders? Political leaders and ideologies? Innovators in business? When we submit the course of our lives to someone else’s prescription, when we make significant life decisions based on someone else’s “system”, what are we giving up? At what cost comes disciple-hood? How much of our selves are we surrendering? Do we really even need to in the first place?

Buddhism holds that, whether pilgrim or wayfarer, while seeking to be taught the Truth, the disciple ultimately learns only that there is nothing anyone else can teach him. He learns, once he is willing to give up being taught, that he already knows how to live, that the secret is that there is no secret.

Zen and much of Buddhism is, ironically enough, more akin to psychotherapy than to religion, as Alan Watts explained in his book Psychotherapy East and West (1961). It’s about finding a way to maintain a healthy balance in a culture that tends to tangle us up in a lot of unconscious logical binds. On the one hand, we’re told its our birthright to be ‘free’ yet, on the other, that we’re expected to follow the demands of the community. Another example is the unspoken instruction that you must be spontaneous.

But Buddhism asserts that everything is what it seems to be, if we step far enough back from it. There are no hidden meanings, which is so hard to wrap our western minds around. An old koan says; before enlightenment, chop wood, fetch water… after enlightenment, chop wood, fetch water. The Buddhist way to see truth is through everyday eyes, suggesting that we don’t need capital-B Big Answers to find peace. But that it’s available through the simple surrender to our existence in the present moment, ceasing needless empty questioning. The secret to enlightenment is when you’re hungry, eat; and when you’re tired, sleep.

But the Zen Master warns: “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him!” This admonition points up that no meaning that comes from outside of ourselves is real. The Buddhahood of each of us has already been obtained. We need only recognize it. Philosophy, religion, politics, all are empty idols. The only meaning in our lives is what we each bring to them. Killing the Buddha on the road means destroying the hope that anything outside of ourselves can be our master.

Kopp’s use of the metaphor of pilgrimage struck a chord with me too. It’s a rich one, echoing thousands of years of human tradition.

The intentional act of leaving a familiar place, to travel to a far place to receive a glimpse of reality beyond daily life, to experience unity with oneself, others, and nature, and then to return to the familiar place changed by this experience of wholeness is common to the act of pilgrimage in all the world’s religions.

What images come to your mind when you hear the word “pilgrimage?”

Do you think of the friends you had in college who followed the Grateful Dead around to every concert they played one summer or another? Certainly fits the definition.

Did you know someone from Selma, or Montgomery, or who heard about Dr. King’s dream on the mall in DC that day?

Do you envision the Hweetcha (Huitcha) Indians of Mexico leaving their houses to follow a shaman into the high desert for a peyote hunt and a vision quest?

Or do you envision Jewish people making their way to the wailing wall in Jerusalem, the only part of their Temple left after its destruction in 70 AD—to celebrate Passover—- or making their way to the statues at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, commemorating the 6 million Jews murdered in the Holocaust?

Do you picture faithful Catholics who are ill making their way to the waters of Lourdes—

or to the shrine of the Virgin of Guadeloupe in Mexico—

or to the Vatican to be blessed by the Pope?

Or do you envision Muslims making the Haj?

Or does the picture come to mind of Hindus bathing in the Gangee (Ganges) River?

Or do you think of Theravada Buddhists climbing the Siri-pada Mountain in Sri Lanka?

Or of other Buddhists journeying to the spot where Buddha received enlightenment, under the Bodhi tree?

Or maybe you see images of our Unitarian Universalist spiritual forbears, the Pilgrims who crossed the Atlantic in search of the freedom to practice their own way in religion?

What all of these pilgrimages have in common is making an intentional journey toward the sacred; undertaking a journey to be brought into closer relationship with oneself, with others, with nature, and with the healing and transforming powers in the universe which we call by many names.

The 20th century theologian Richard R. Niebuhr defined those who undertake a pilgrimage as “persons in motion— passing through territories not their own—seeking something we might call completion, or perhaps the word clarity will do as well, a goal to which only the spirit’s compass points the way.”

Where do we Unitarian Universalists choose to go in our search for clarity and completion? In which directions do our spirits’ compasses point?

If, as individuals, we have mystical drug-induced visions like the Hweetcha (Huitcha) Indians, we probably keep them to ourselves.

Though we sometimes plan youth group trips to 25 Beacon Street in Boston (our Unitarian Universalist national headquarters), or longer journeys with twenty or thirty others to a partner church in Eastern Europe, we lack the length, depth, and appreciation of thousands of years of religious history—shared by those of the Jewish faith.

Because of our emphasis on reason, we do not expect, like some adherents of Catholicism, to be miraculously healed by a journey to a particular place. Nor, given our emphasis on democracy, do we expect to be saved by the leader of any religious hierarchy.

While we may well dedicate our lives to service by marching in demonstrations, witnessing at a rally, or writing and speaking and working for our principles and purposes through a host of worthy organizations and causes, we Unitarian Universalists do not have a specific religious duty, as do people of the Islamic faith, to visit one place, such as Mecca, once in our lifetimes in order to rededicate our lives to service.

Nor are we expected to express our gratitude for our blessings or make our peace with our mortality—as do people of the Hindu faith—by planning a trip to one sacred river such as the Gangee (Ganges).

Few of us are so devoted to prayer and meditation that we travel, like the Theravada Buddhist pilgrims to climb a difficult mountain and watch the sun rise, together. (Although I actually do know a few adventurous types here who do just that)

While the majority of us deeply value the search for truth, we don’t associate it with just one particular place, such as the Buddha’s Bodhi tree.

And while we do celebrate Thanksgiving, few of us would want to follow the rigorous disciplines of our Puritan forbears.

So do we Unitarian Universalists share any concept of pilgrimage as a journey to achieve a balanced spiritual orientation to the world?

Phil Cousineau’s book The Art Of Pilgrimage, says Yes, in that “in each of us dwells a wanderer, a gypsy, a pilgrim,” even though the literal destination we choose as individuals may vary from person to person.

For example, Cousineau shared the idea that prompted him to undertake a journey to Angkor Wat, the Buddhist temple in Cambodia. The source of the idea was a book his father had given him as a child. It told the story of the excavation of this holy site and had a picture of its Terrace Of The Leopard King on its cover.

Cousineau had promised his elderly and ailing father that when he got well, they would make the journey together to this ancient Buddhist temple.

But his father died. And as Cousineau packed up the books in his father’s apartment, he made a vow to make the pilgrimage to Angkor Wat to, in his words, “perhaps restore my own faith in life itself.”

He and his brother made the long journey. And upon their arrival, Cousineau wrote, “With…fifty-four colossal faces of (a) Bodhisattva staring at me with their enigmatic smiles, I thought of my last conversation with my father.

He asked me what I had assumed to be obvious to him: ‘Did my love of books influence you?’”

Cousineau lighted a candle in memory of his father.

He and his brother silently watched the sun set, together, knowing that each was thinking of their father.

As they began their descent, Cousineau reports, “I happened to notice a single thin flame of light from a votive candle far down the corridor in the Hall of Buddhas. At each of the four levels of the descent, I looked back and up, and by a miracle of architecture, the thin flame was still visible.”

Cousineau continued,

“Not unlike the flame of my father’s spirit in me, I thought, as I simultaneously looked back over my life and saw the thin, barely discernable light of his love, still there, still flickering, lending faith and direction to my path.”

Cousineau asks, “Visualize the light that pours forth over the road in front of you. Can you say, ‘This is where I ought to be?’  Do you feel a longing to be somewhere else?”

He goes on to share stories from those who answered these questions by making journeys to sites not normally considered to be “holy” by the world’s religious traditions, but which renewed their faith in life.

One story in particular stood out. When writer William Zinsser visited Thoreau’s Walden in the late 1980’s, he saw a man from India, deep in contemplation. After initiating a conversation, Zinsser learned that this man had been a friend of Gandhi.

Before his death, Gandhi had planned to make a pilgrimage to Walden Pond.

After Gandhi’s assassination, this friend had vowed to make the journey for him in order to be touched by the place which had inspired Thoreau’s understanding of Civil Disobedience, which, in turn, had so deeply influenced Gandhi’s.

After 40 years, this man was finally in a position to make the long journey from India to fulfill this promise to his friend, a great man to whom the pilgrimage would have meant a great deal. The value to the pilgrim however, in completing the journey on his friend’s behalf, was probably just as valuable to him as it would have been to Gandhi, had he been able to complete it himself.

Of course, one does not have to navigate the globe to have the experience of completion—of “coming full circle”— that these stories illustrate.

Martin Palmer said, “True pilgrimage changes lives, whether we go halfway around the world or out to our own backyards.”

Henry David Thoreau articulated a similar Unitarian perspective on pilgrimage.

For Thoreau, the sacred was NOT revealed in scripture or doctrine, in history or religious hierarchy, in a particular place or person.

Instead, the holy was to be found in one’s own experience.

And in HIS experience, it was walking which lead Thoreau to revelations of what he called the divine.

His walks were NOT the 15 or 20 minute cardio-vascular workouts to be found health clubs or mall walking circles. Thoreau had a discipline of walking not for an hour, not for two hours, not even for three hours, but for four hours a day.

In Walden, Thoreau describes how, when he had had enough of human trivia, he would wander by himself, usually westward, to fresh woods and pastures to make a supper of huckleberries and blueberries.

For Thoreau, walking not only lead to a recognition that one was standing on holy ground, but also symbolized freedom, the act of taking off that which binds one.

In his essay on Civil Disobedience, Thoreau described how he was jailed for not paying his taxes. It seems that Thoreau was arrested and jailed just as he was going to the shoemaker’s to pick-up a shoe which had been repaired.

So when a friend paid for him to be released from jail, Thoreau proceeded to finish his errand. With his shoe now on, he picked up a pail and joined his friends on a huckleberry party.

Thoreau leaves the reader with this image of freedom— of the purposeful aimlessness of friends gathering berries for a party. He reminds me of a zen monk.

We are heirs to his understanding that each of us is capable of seeing the divine in our individual experiences…  to me, this is what the Buddha called enlightenment.

But for Thoreau, the intentional act of sauntering—of wandering— was more than a “literal” walk through the landscape. He understood walking as an inward journey, as well.

He wrote, “Direct your eye right inward, and you’ll find a thousand regions in your mind yet undiscovered. Travel them, and be expert in home-cosmography.”

For Thoreau, a pilgrimage was not simply a physical journey but, more importantly, a spiritual one.

For Thoreau, and for many of us here in this room I imagine, our very lives are a pilgrimage— a journey in which we seek and find …and lose… and seek once more the truths that sustain and shape the meaning of our days.

So after reading the Kill the Buddha book, and going through all the other background  for this service, I had to ask myself if I’d come to any understanding of what my father meant by sending me this book. I finally talked with him about it. He laughed as I described the odyssey to him, and my thought processes, and the conclusions I reached but threw out because they were just too far a reach to be helpful. He laughed, and I did too … because his point, what he so wants me to know as he contemplates the end of his life, is simple and ironic in a very loving sort of way. What he wanted me to know was that I already have all I need.

And so do we all.  Thank you.

Rise now in body or spirit to sing hymn #184 in the gray hymnal, Be Ye Lamps Unto Yourselves.

 

Hymn #184 Be Ye Lamps Unto Yourselves

 

Closing Words 

Our closing words this morning are by Paul Coelho, from The Pilgrimage;

 “A disciple can never imitate his guide’s steps. You have your own way of living your life, of dealing with problems. Teaching is only demonstrating that it is possible. Learning is making it possible for yourself.”

Thanks so much for coming this morning, everyone. Have a wonderful week.

Go Now In Peace

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