Vespers, Jan 13: Imagination and Music & 7 Program

Vespers 6:30pm: Joyce Hooley will lead us in considering some insights from Black American voices regarding this month’s theme, Imagination, as related to racial justice.   


Program 7pm: “Discerning Race/Discerning Power” continues our anti-racism work using the UUA curriculum “Building the World We Dream About” Facilitator: Mary Alm

 

January – Imagination (Soul Matters Theme)

6       Vespers Leader: Rev. Claudia
Program: Theme Talk- Imagination, Rev. Claudia

13     Vespers Leader: Joyce Hooley-Gingrich
Program: Discerning Race/ Discerning Power, Facilitator: Mary Alm

20     Vespers Leader: Mary Ann Somervill, Sherry Lundquist
Program: Spiritual Practices: Paganism, Mary Ann Somervill, Sherry Lundquist

27     Vespers Leader: Linda Topp, “Can You Imagine?”
Program: Introduction to UU Theology, Rev Claudia

What can you imagine?

We are a people of imagination!

This January we are exploring the theme of imagination in our religious education groups. We’ll be doing things like imagining a world without COVID19 and imagining what it would have been like in the room where it happened in the Civil Rights movement. What can you imagine with your family this month? Check out these options from Soulful Home and find out!

Exploring Imagination at the Table

Family members who are readers can alternate who reads the questions. Those who are not readers are invited to share their own impromptu questions. Discussion partners might answer as thoughts come to them or take turns in a circle. 

Discussion Questions

  1. When you imagine life 100 years from now, what do you see?
  2. How do you think you are different from what your ancestors imagined you might be?
  3. When you imagine your best  day ever, where do you feel that joy in your body?
  4. Who is better at imagining, kids, parents or grandparents?
  5. What’s one thing you can imagine will be different in life after Covid?
  6. Who is your most imaginative friend?
  7. Do you have to be either imaginative or realistic? How do those two qualities work together in a person?
  8. Do you imagine in words, pictures, sounds, or some combination of all your senses?
  9. Where do you imagine the best? Outdoors? Alone in your room? On walks? In your bed reading? Nighttime?
  10. When is it sensible to limit one’s imagination?
  11. What do you imagine it’s like when we die?
  12. Has something unbelievable ever happened to you, such that afterward you couldn’t tell if it was real or if you imagined it?
  13. Whose imagination would you love to live in for a day?

Return to the Discussion Throughout the Week 

Thoughts develop with time. Find opportunities to bring up particularly compelling questions again during the month, maybe on walks, rides home, when tucking your child in to bed, etc. If thoughts grew or changed, notice together how we are all evolving beings, opening ourselves to new truths and understandings as we live our lives and connect with others.    

A Treasure Hunt for Imagination

This month’s searchables are based on idioms of improbability derived from many languages. They are all expressions that indicate something will never happen, or is hard to imagine, even impossible! (When will people stop chit-chatting about the weather? When pigs fly!

Where will you find these improbable things? We don’t know! But using some creative thinking (imagination’s best friend!) and generous interpretations of your everyday reality, you might have some pretty interesting encounters this month in your neighborhood with…

  • A flying pig (Latin)
  • Glowing salt (Arabic)
  • A crow flying upside down (Malayalam)
  • A snowflake in fire (English)
  • A horse with horns (Afrikaans)
  • A chicken with teeth (French)
  • Wind in a net (Japanese)
  • A blue moon (English)
  • A singing fish (Ukrainian)

Note: Although the expressions above are labeled as coming from different languages, in fact the same idiom might exist in multiple languages, with their origins being unclear. If the idea of language evolution is intriguing to you, watch this TED-Ed video on the origins of English! Sometimes, ideas we imagine to be completely different may actually be close cousins..

Deja Vu All Over Again

I had a chuckle recently when, just out of curiosity, I took a look at the eNews column I wrote at this time last year. In that column, I took note of the fact of how rare it was to be looking ahead to a double year–2020–remarking that it had been a century since the last one–1919. I did take note of the war that consumed the world in 1919, which thankfully we have managed to avoid a century later. But little did I anticipate that the two years would share a different notorious commonality – massive pandemics that sickened and, in our case continues to kill, millions world-wide.

I did wonder if 2020 might be “an epoch-making” year and guessed that if we did it might have something to do with the upcoming election.  Well, I got that one right, but I could never have guessed how.

I said I expected the year would also be important to UUCA, with my planned retirement, which, of course, was delayed – see paragraph 1. And I said that to prepare us for the transition I would devote some time in worship to “the basics of our religion,” choosing as a way to do that a series of services about our 7 principles. I did that and found it a helpful discipline for us, even if it turned out I was sticking around. This year as, once again, I look forward to my retirement I want to attempt a similar project, and we’ll see where this takes us.

 Our religious lives are challenged in so many ways by all that we’re living through that I thought it would be worthwhile to look at our grounding. To do that, I’m going to use as a prompt a book called A House for Hope: The Promise of Progressive Religion in the 21st Century. Its authors are two respected leaders in our movement; Rev. Rebecca Ann Parker and Rev. John Buehrens.

 The book uses the metaphor of a house to describe the basic theological premises of our tradition. In a series of services, we’ll work our way up from the ground we build on to the foundation, the walls, the roof, the welcoming rooms and the threshold. And we’ll touch on such subjects as what we understand to be the beginning and end of all things, what religious community looks like, how we cope with evil, how we understand God or ultimacy, what it is to be human, and what the mission of liberal or progressive community is.

It’s a lot, and needless to say what I have to offer will give you only a tasting of a very rich feast. But I hope it will be enough to get you reflecting more deeply on who we are, what we have to do, and where you situate yourself in this hopeful tradition. We begin this Sunday in The Garden. See you there.

Rev. Mark Ward, Lead Minister