Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Christmas Eve Prayer (December 24, 2011)

There shines from that child’s face
the greatest miracle of all:
Life in all its glory,
all its story, all its history,
its mystery; divine grace
made human and come to dwell among us;
perfect splendor of dust and stars.

In every child’s face there lies an epic
of tragedy and joy, laughter and tears
flowing freely through all the years
the Hand of Life will bring.
In every child’s face there still abides
the sign and signal, emblem and symbol
of every betrayal, every sacrifice,
every friendship, every love,
every season a life has seen,
each song a life will sing.

In that Holy Child’s face we know
the pain that can never let us go.
In every human face we trace
the evidence of God.
In that face the light
of life shines through darkest night;
in that face the holy dark
descends, blessed mystery eternal,
with no beginning, with no end:
endless alleluia the universe will sing.
1/16/02     12/24/02     12/24/07     12/24/11

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Greetings 2011

The Universalist Parsonage

Stoughton, Massachusetts


Christmastide 2011

Dear Friends,

At Christmas, we are called upon to believe that the most glorious things are possible.

With every child that is born, our hope is born anew.

With every Christmas Eve, we remember the true and deepest meaning of why we are here. 

Perhaps something is happening, at last, in the Bethlehem of our hearts that will finally change us, and change our world. Perhaps the sound waves (the age waves) of that first gloriously impossible Christmas are stirring our souls at last, and the glorious music of a heavenly host sings forth, at last, the wonder of our own new birth—our own nativity—upon this Earth.

The real song of Christmas is all about the divine gifts inherent in our human living—those gifts of the Spirit, waiting for us, buried beneath the hard and crusted-over snow of human experience.

Christmas shows us that when night is darkest, we see the shining of the stars most gloriously. When we are most empty, the abundance of God can fill our souls. When we are poorest in spirit, a divine inheritance will be ours.

And when, at last, we are still—and silent—and all the noise of life has been hushed, and if we really listen, we may yet hear that angel chorus; and hear the Blessed Mother’s lullaby of peace; and hear that Holy Infant’s cry-- persistently, patiently, lovingly—calling us, at last, to follow him down the blessed pathway of compassion.

May your Christmas be touched with the truest gifts of the Spirit. And, at Christmas and always, may you sing boldly, yet gently,  your own blessed song of Life. 

                                                                                    Peace be with you all,

Rev. Jeffrey B. Symynkywicz

Friday, December 2, 2011

A world within each moment (Sunday, November 27, 2011)

A world within each moment

Every moment is a yes or no to life,
we utter from deep inside ourselves
that somehow makes
all the difference in the world.

Every time we meet another soul
we choose to love, or not;
to join hands or build a wall;
see a brother or sister, or a robber in disguise.

This little bit of energy we each are
created no vast galaxies or whirling constellations;
but each day we create so many smaller worlds--
worlds of each moment, each love;
worlds of possibility or limitation, 
worlds in their own ways empires
of our immortal, eternal souls.

        11/12/00       11/27/11

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving 2010

The Universalist Parsonage

November, 2010

Dear Friends—

When we think of all we have been given,
simple men and women that we are--
the laughter of friends;
good work to do; and more than our
small share of nature’s bounty--
we ought to bow our heads in glad thanksgiving,
fall on our knees in deep appreciation,
or, at the very least, utter a simple, soft
word of gratitude
to the Hand of Life that has blest us
so sustainingly all these years.

How truly blest we all have been
to drink from this holy chalice, this Cup of Life.
The bread we eat was once a living spirit,

sacrificed to nourish us;
our communion, then, is a sharing of life with life.

So may we pause in gratitude this season
to speak clearly our word of thanksgiving
for these simple gifts of life which are all ours,
not to hoard, but to share;
till all the world is fed,

both on bread,
and on love and hope and justice.

 Elizabeth joins me in wishing each of you a happy Thanksgiving, and a blessed holiday season.  


Rev. Jeffrey Symynkywicz

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Puddles of Creativity (Sunday, November 13, 2011)

Puddles of creativity

This little puddle of creativity
which each of us is
is small, but deep and real,
for it is connected by underground springs
to the great ocean of life; to be a single drop in that ocean,
let alone an entire puddle,
is enough to transform the very landscape of this world of ours.  

For that puddle is deeper
than we can even imagine; it is a lake, really.
It is fed and watered by an ageless stream of human tears;
it is deepened yet by the rains of nature's seasons.
These wellsprings are eternal
and flow in endless supply;
these springs will flow forever;
these reservoirs never run dry.

The dryness that may come from time to time
is but a brief and transient state,
caused by human ego trying to control the flow;
replacing the Way of the Spirit
with our own little puny reasons and ways and wherefores.

And when these pass, as pass they must, and will,
it can be like a cloudburst in the desert,
moistening the dust
and turning it into potter's clay,
till at last that puddle overflows
and becomes a mighty ocean all God's own.

3/19/99           3/12/00          11/13/11

Monday, November 7, 2011

The dance of joy and pain (Sunday, November 6, 2011)

The dance of joy and pain

Joy and pain lie close within our hearts,
cradled in the arms of everlasting life.
Where we see darkness,
God’s light shines just beyond,
immutable, unchanging, as
the holy darkness of creation is impenetrable
to garish human daylight.

We are a unity of forces complementary
and completing, a sacred consummation
of light and dark. We call them opposites,
but life knows that they do
not oppose, but realize;
and each holds the germ of the other
within its living essence.

So, if we have a choice, we usually choose
the sugar-coated pill of happy, easy times;
but our deeper nature knows
we ought not run from the pain
(though only a fool steers directly into it).

Let us cling to the precipice of our love
emboldened brothers and sisters of all the world,
divine children both of dark and light,
both of joy and of pain.

5/29/03          1/30/05          11/6/11

"We are so much greater than we know' (Sunday, October 30, 2011)

We are so much greater than we know

We are so much greater than we know,
we oftentimes small and paltry beings,
men and women who walk
but few years upon this earth.

For there is shining within our souls
an illimitable light, a great force,
a speck of the fire born at the Creation,
which magnifies our beings and makes them whole.

Even in our smallness, our greatness sings.
Our brokenness itself speaks of wholeness,
and often, our pain speaks of joy.
In us, all powers of Life become one.

The Spirit rises within us, and all at once,
the dark is cast away in its glow;
the holy darkness descends over surly day
and brings to birth deeper manifestations of our being.

We are so small, and yet
there beat within us hearts as strong
as that thundering fire that shook the heavens
and brought this world to birth.

We are so small, and yet
we are so much greater than we know.

1/30/01           12/2/01          10/30/11

"At the Rue du Bac", Sunday, October 30, 2011 (Call to Worship)

The beauty is just beneath the surface;
the place of peace just off the main street.
And it takes just an inkling—
a moment spent in prayer;
the splendor of a work of art;
the glory of a life well-lived—
to remind us that they’re there.

Imagine what we could do—
Who we could be—
If we let that living fire of Love--
of Charity—engulf us endlessly.

Half asleep, yet we are already
half way to God; imagine if we awoke
and understood within ourselves
the Joy—the full, heart-pounding Joy—
of being alive! Imagine what
blessed apparitions we could then see.
Imagine the sacred miracles we could then be.

Rue du Bac, Paris

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

We are mighty rivers (Sunday, October 23, 2011)

The important thing for rivers—
those in the world, and those within our souls—
is to keep on flowing.
We must not dam the torrents of anger we feel
in the face of the iniquities of this world.
We must not dam—or allow others to dam—
the flowing currents of our own creativity and wisdom.
That place where our own rivers meet
the great sea of life may be downstream yet—
perhaps more miles downstream than we really
want to think about—but that great sea whose name is Compassion
is there. And it is waiting for each of us to arrive.

We are not worthless creatures, bound to sin.
We are not but numbers in a ledger,
defined by our consumption; hypnotized into inaction
by the baubles and trappings of an age that is dying.
We are mighty rivers, each one of us.
We are flowing rivers—steadily, surely, cutting our own channel
through this oftentimes hard earth of selfishness and greed,
prejudice and fear.
We are rivers, flowing, refreshing again
the parched, dry ground of our times.
We are mighty rivers of constantly transforming,
living, breathing waters.
And we have come a long way from our Source;
and we still have far to go before we reach our sea.

6/9/91          5/29/05          10/23/11

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Joy of Waking (Sunday, October 16, 2011)

The Joy of Waking

Sometimes I yearn for sleep and rest,
times alone on some deserted shore;
 when all the actions fade, all chores are done,
are done, all responsibilities handed on
for others to take care of.

But I know that time will come at last,
when there will be unending sleep,
rest eternal, and nothing but time
to contemplate in wonder
all that I have done and been and loved.

So for now, the yearning must give way
for greater joys of rising to greet the day;
of seizing time and making it my own,
binding all the ties of love and work and home
into one coherent masterwork eyes can see.

And if there’s never time enough to do it all,
 I have lived; I have been part
of this holy, earthly symphony
whose tune is Life, whose joy is now,
whose greatest call is not to stop ‘til day is done.


9/6/00          1/24/10          10/16/11

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Joy Awaits (Sunday, October 9, 2011)

The lightest touch can bless us,
the smallest smile;
I have found as much joy in
the subtle hill across the way
as from any Everests I have climbed.

Joy awaits our approach,
our eager apprehension.
For joy to live, we must be
engaged with life, and fully open
our hearts to joy.

That means keeping the fire
of Spirit burning in the abode of our hearts;
that means making a place at our hearth
for Joy to abide,
at the very center of our existence.

Kindle the fires of joy, then;
let them burn within you; pour over them
the living fuel of your love,
your wonder, and your faith;
kindle them until the fires cascade,
and make light and warm your world.

Let the fire burn, untended,
and it will light the way to a heaven
more wondrous than you
could ever dream; a heaven there,
waiting, in the simple, daily joys and duties
you have before you now.

5/6/03          3/19/06          10/9/11

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Why Fear Pleasure? (Sunday, September 25, 2011)

Why fear pleasure?

Why are we afraid of pleasure
as though the God we know
was that mean, severe
punisher of our souls
we gave up long ago?

Why are we afraid of joy
as though the God we know
were that tight and dried-out spirit
giving only to his favorites
and withholding grace from the rest of us?

God to some of us is all abundance all joy
gifts of grace unimaginable waiting
including pleasure and laughter
in the living of our days.

God is not a puny soul
living drunkenly for himself alone
God's grace is our model
as is God's freedom and abundance.

We seek a life of truth
and of connection
neither squandering our days like fools
nor slavishly hoarding them like martyrs

But spending them wisely and mirthfully
with deeds that serve the cause of justice
and words that cause the hearts around us
to leap with pleasure
and smile back at us
in a warm embrace of love.

3/25/99          9/25/11

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Yearning To Be Made New (Sunday, September 18, 2011)

We yearn to be made new,
to rise from bed each morning
a New Man or New Woman, all that we are called to be,
meeting each new challenge and each joy
with full engagement of heart and mind and soul.

But, of course, we carry around with us each day
all that we have ever been before;
we bring along with us all the hidden crystals

of that whom we have already been:
the countless risings and fallings,
the errors, short-sightedness, stuckness, unkindness
that we have faced too many days
and have often added to.

It takes a leap of faith
for societies or for any of us to change.
It takes actually changing, too:
finding the courage and the faith
to do things differently than we always have before,
to act as though (for it will never be true if we don't)
that this is the first day in a brand new age.

Our hearts may grow weary at the thought;
our minds grow full of fear.
But to return to the cold and static way it was before
might well be nothing more than spiritual dying.

11/1/98          9/18/11

Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11th

As there can be no new birth without pain,
could it be that this awful week-- the sadness,
the horror we have glimpsed and felt
even the anger,
could yet usher forth in history’s time
new ways of being human upon this earth?

Hope dies last they say:
is it possible for us to be innocent enough still
to believe that the lives of those dear, precious souls
(our mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, children, friends)
yet may be redeemed in flowers of peace, justice, and beauty
from the dust and ashes of humanity’s folly?
Not always in shimmering sunlight
the Spirit moves,
and not always in the bright light of day
Life its lessons teaches;
But often, too, in the deepest midnight when darkness descends,
on the border between darkness and daylight
we look perhaps most clearly into our souls.

These souls of ours were not made to soar to heaven
directly, not looking back, but to collect the dust
of earth as they move toward fulfillment.
That dust of molten steel and charred hopes
is now sacred soil, and always our pain
is a blessed sacrament.

The stone-dark midnight and the rainy morn
will give way in time to the sunlit day;
the freshened breeze will entice again with its sweetness;
just a hint of coolness will pervade the air,
reminding us of what a pleasure it still is to be alive.

For it is from the Hand of Life that all blessings flow;
the Hand of Life and frail human hands:
hands held close with those who have come before,
hands held tight to those who are still with us:
All we can do at a time like this is cling together,
--hold on and hope and pray--
and know in our hearts,
that when the dust finally settles,
no forces seen or unseen,
no puny human powers or principalities,
no terror-mad souls, or hatred or spite
can ever separate us from the love of God;
can block that precious sunlight of God’s new day
from these tired, eager eyes.

9/11/01 - 9/16/01

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Children's Sunday Meditation (Sunday, June 12, 2011)

It is not just we that drink from earth;
we nourish her as well.

To know the earth within oneself
is to know everything there is to know.

The past that is within us bends eagerly
forward to embrace our future.

The future smiles back at us and
kisses the present moment in all its joy.

All distance is compounded in every cell;
the sense of aging is often but illusion.

Young and old in each of us
greet each the other cheerfully:

There is within each wise old soul
a beautiful child who would come out to play.

In every child’s heart there lies unspoken
all wisdom we could ever hope to hear.

10/2/00          6/13/04          6/12/11

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

"Who We Can Become" (Sunday, June 5, 2011)

Who we can become

We do not know our power,
any of us-- except perhaps those
who bathe in the power of others,
commanding armies to march
where they would never dare tread

Our power (the power that comes
from within) is so much more humble
(and, let us hope, so much more abiding):
slow to anger, yes-- but too slow at times
to act and know itself, as well.

We can transform the moment,
and in so doing, begin to change
the world.
We can live in truth,
as much as that costs us,
(though, if truth be told,
its sacrifices pale when compared to the suicide
of giving oneself away endlessly
to the forces of death and taxes).

This is the miracle of our birth,
the miracle of our being here:
that in our radical dependence,
our utter insignificance,
we are called to uniqueness as well—
that our responsibility to the world
births the freedom of the soul.

We are called, all of us:
Called to live our lives,
Called to share our gifts,
Called to love one another,
in the continual shedding of old skins,
in the continual sacrifice of our old lives
for new ones.

2/20/03          6/1/03          6/5/11

Monday, April 25, 2011

An Easter Prayer (Sunday, April 24, 2011)

The eye of faith looks out upon the mundane
and sees that which is divine;
the holy eye cast upon the merest stone
reflects back a diamond or a jewel;
everywhere we look we see choice miracles
when the Holy Lord of Easter walks with us.

To let the soul rise to meet its true level
one must stand back, be still,
put aside the ledger book and balance
and listen, heart open, for the essence of life.

All that we torment ourselves with shall pass away in time;
only the Voice of God remains eternal:
singing with the birds; humming softly in the breeze;
crashing and flashing across the sky
in the most awesome cascade of the changing seasons.

O Spirit of Life,
We are surrounded with your wonders on this Easter day.
You are the fount of joy that surges upward in our hearts;
yours is the springtime that makes our spirits glad.
May we learn ever to live in the light of your love;
may we adorn our lives with truth, with gentleness and kindness.
May we, too, blossom forth in beauty once again,
that new life may rise up within us, as well,
and winter turn to spring again within our fragile human hearts,
and the miracles of Easter echo forth within our souls.

7/6/01          3/31/02          4/25/11

Monday, April 18, 2011

Easter 2011

Easter 2011

The Universalist Parsonage
Stoughton, Massachusetts

Dear friends,

The story of Easter is not just another historical myth. It is not even just a matter of religious speculation of what awaits us when we die.

The spirit of Easter is a real, living presence, here with us today. The hope of Easter is for this life. It is a call to push aside the boundaries of this life. To reach deeper and gain more meaning from this life. Easter declares that, wherever death exists in our lives, there is a power of which we can become part, which can overcome it. We experience many deaths in these lives we lead. Faith tells is that we can experience countless resurrections, as well.

Resurrection can be hard work sometimes. It can be soul-wearying and heart-breaking (not to mention back-breaking) work. Resurrection never comes on the cheap. It requires the full engagement of our hearts and minds—and of our hands. Human hands reaching out to do all that needs doing. To heal all that needs healing. Human hands, sometimes, folded in prayer, seeking the help and guidance we will need to choose wisely the next moves we must make on our road toward eternity.

This Easter may we, too, stand as disciples of tireless and timeless ideals:

the ideal that life has meaning;

the ideal that life is worth living;

the ideal that love can transform the world;

the ideal that love is more powerful than even death itself.

That first Easter long ago kindled within us the miraculous ability to hope and to dream. Let us dare to hope with courage. Let us dream, and let us act, wisely and lovingly. Let us choose, here and now, our own special place on the tree of eternal life.

Elizabeth joins me in wishing all of you the choicest blessings of this Easter season.

                                                                                    Faithfully yours,

Rev. Jeffrey B. Symynkywicz

Monday, April 11, 2011

Embracing the Darkness (Sunday, April 10, 2011)

Embracing the darkness

The darkness is deep and beautiful,
truly holy, nothing to fear.
It is the source of all rest and peace,
eternal sleep, ravishing insights,
deeper and hidden reasons for our being here.

The darkness is our bridge
deep inside ourselves;
it is where we climb back
to the eternal from where we came.

Soon enough, the sun will smile (or scowl)
its way into our lives again,
and depending on our circumstances
we will scowl or smile back.
There will be the din of business,
visiting neighbors, the cry of children,
laughter and shouts of anger and pain:
there will be the sound of holy laughter,
and music so beautiful our ears will hurt.

But the eternal night, the darkness,
will abide forever,
always there as refuge and escape,
source of wisdom, haven of hope,
ours for the taking, to enter into deeply as we may,
waiting there for us,
when we need to know ourselves once again.

9/10/00          1/7/01          4/10/11

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Sunday, April 3, 2011 "When we are most alive"

When we are most alive

We live life’s message most deeply
by living it most simply;
not in ostentatious gesture
nor in grand design,
but honestly, directly, by being ourselves
to the very depths of our souls.

We are most alive
when we answer
the call of our souls,
and the admonitions of our hearts.
Then we will finally know who we truly are,
and who our Creator intended us to be.

In the meantime, we may drift about
on the surface of things,
or fumble about
amidst the clutter—
feeling so well the confusion, the separation,
the very complication of it all.

But then there comes a time
when we awaken again to that deeper peace;
in that deeper place.
Awake again with God,
in love, in life, in the holy simplicity face to face
with the simple miracle of who we are inside.

5/2/02          2/18/07          4/3/11