A Vespers Sharing
This exercise was used during a Friday evening Vespers service at UUMAC'97, 8/8/97. Although I had thought about it a good deal in advance, I had no script and made it up as I went along. Thus, this is written from memory and may not be complete.
(To begin: Pick up a partly quartered orange from a central altar. The first line is spoken while, sequentially, facing the four sides of an infacing square of seated congregants. Then, the balance is spoken from one corner of the square)
Earth, Fire, Air and Water
These are the gifts of the stars.
And we, and this orange, are all made of star stuff.
We are gathered here at this time, at the center of the universe, for it is a mystery that every point is the center from which everything expands outwards.
The birds have settled for the night, the moon is up, the evening star burns bright.
(An assistant passes around the circle offering a bowl of quartered oranges and napkins)
I invite you to experience this orange with me.
Feel its smooth skin.
Touch its cool wetness.
Smell its perfume.
If you wish, taste its sweet juice.
Wonder at another greater mystery: this orange and ourselves, as well as all that lives in the air, the waters and the fertile soil, every living thing from the smallest virus to the great blue whale, are written in the same alphabet, the same vocabulary, the same grammar, the language of DNA.
(The assistant collects the oranges)
By moonrise tomorrow, we will all have left this place. The circle of seasons will turn and next year, some of us will return.
Until then, each time you see an orange, smell an orange, taste an orange, think of the stars from which we came, think of us here and remember.
Go in peace.