Monday, December 17, 2012

The Heart of Christmas is Love (Sunday, December 16, 2012)

The Heart of Christmas is Love

At the heart of this sacred season
is love,
pure and simple;
and the essence of this season
is the sacred life that abides in love,
whether long ago in Bethlehem,
or where we are,
right here, right now.

This is the whole reason
for the splendor and the miracle;
it is the whole reason
for our being here, in this church,
on this Earth, together.

We are here to love:
not just when it warms our hearts;
but even (perhaps especially)
when the fires of love seem to have gone out,                                                                                                         or when not loving would warm our hearts
quite sufficiently with that roaring fire of anger and rage.

But it is only through love
that the world is made new again,
and the purpose of Creation
brought to its completion.
Hatred and anger do not build
the holy stable where the blessed one is born:
only love does.

Even when the command to love
leaves us cold, the miracle of Christmas reminds us
we must love even in our deepest winters
if the flowers of new life are ever to blossom
in our hearts, and in our lives, and in our world.

1/24/05     12/19/05     12/16/12

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Choicest Blessings (Sunday, November 11, 2012)

The Choicest Blessings

So often, instead of striding across the face of earth
with confidence and contentment,
we instead stumble through the hours of our lives
with that vague feeling of dissatisfaction;
a craving in our souls; hungering perhaps
for the empty calories
that pride, possessions, and position bring.

While all along, we have been graced
by the choicest blessings these days of living bring:
gifts of life so simple,
yet so profound and true.
There have already been given unto us

everything that will abide when our lives are finally reckoned
in God’s great book of days;
all that survives when we are gone,
or when even those we love are taken from us.

The remnant of our love that remains
tallies the true worth of our lives.
If this cup of life is bitter sometimes,
so, truly, its sweetness lasts forever.
To drink from this cup of life to the full
is the deepest and truest calling
for all of us, children of the earth, to answer.


4/17/02       4/15/07       11/11/12

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Come to the Feast! (Sunday, October 21, 2012)

“Come to the feast!”

The real work of heaven is joy,
and our work here on Earth is to rescue
the children of God—and that means all of us—
from those sullen saints who
would have us mired forever
in despondency and fear.

So, let us open the doors wide
to these lives we lead; open them
and welcome all souls
to this, our banquet of love and joy!

You are invited as a guest
to my House of Love;
all you need to bring is
a ready smile, a laugh,
and a joyful heart;
bring along a hearty appetite, as well,
that yearns to taste the holy.

Come and feast at the banquet
life have set; provisions loaned to us
from the hand of the Eternal One,
who meets our needs so lavishly, and leaves us asking
and asks but a few crumbs of service in return.

So let us share this feast of joy!
Open your hearts and let the music burst through:
the music of heaven, forever guiding your steps
in this holy dance of life.


5/13/04        10/10/04        1/27/08        10/28/12

Monday, October 15, 2012

"The Smile of God" (Sunday, October 14, 2012)

The Smile of God

 The simplest smile upon a human face
is intimation enough of God;
all holiness radiates from there;
it is the holy foundation of our joy.
There would be no smile
were it not for the spirit that lay behind it;
there would be no reason for the joy that bursts forth
from the very heart of life.

Were there not really something deeper
that smile would not draw us close,
and set these wellsprings of love

flowing once again.
This is our purpose here:
to find the worth and goodness
of everything that dwells here with us:
to liberate all to the glory of God

and the service of the world.

This is our choice:
to dance, in joy, as part of all eternity,

or to cling rigidly, trying to control
the moment that is already dead and gone;
to dwell in the presence of the Eternal, 
or to spend our lives moving just a bit closer to death
with each passing day.


1/3/05          2/26/06          3/29/09         10/14/12

Friday, September 28, 2012

"Of Body and Soul" (Sunday, September 23, 2012)


Of Body and Soul

Doing all those big and very important things that are ours to do,
means doing well those little, closer things
which open our hearts and hands and minds
and set these love-catching soul in motion.

That means paying attention to these bodies of ours,
for whatever we think of them, they are, after all, the vessels of the soul.
We need to mind them, and honor them,
even when we might rather disengage and run,
and see ourselves jetting through the cosmos
as pure air and light and spirit,
which is, of course, something that we're not.

So Mary now meets Martha
and soul meets body and bliss befriends duty.
And in the holy union of the two
                 that who we shall be can yet be born                                                        
and through these selves of ours, both earthy and ethereal,
Holy Love can flow in all its forms,
a living spirit upon this living Earth.

11/28/98      10/16/05     9/23/12

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

"In Praise of Humility" (Sunday, September 16, 2012)

In Praise of Humility

Sometimes, our souls
are like watering cans full of holes:
holes where the humanness, the humility, and the humor
shine through.
But make no mistake about it:
there shines through as well
the most holy light, the very face of God.

When our (so-called) “lower traits”
are used for God, to glorify our Creator,
they, too, become holy.
God takes the most lowly among us
and raises us to a kingly priesthood;
God takes our limitations
and sanctifies them to divine service.

In this transcendence (this transformation),
the true miracle of life abides:
small daily miracles that warm our hearts,
and remind us of what a joy life can be;
great soul-stretching (sometimes heart-wrenching) miracles
that open wide the gates of our souls
to the heaven that dwells within (and beyond).

So, don’t be ashamed of your humbleness,
for it is your bridge to the holy.
Don’t be afraid of your humanness,
for in that image you reflect, every day of your life,
the love of God made flesh, and bone, and body.

7/30/04          10/3/04          9/16/12

Monday, June 11, 2012

A Prayer for Our Church School (Children's Sunday, June 10, 2012)

A Prayer for Our Church School

Now, another year in the life of this church family is hurrying to a close. So now, may we pause in quietness and peace, and think about the lessons we have learned, and maybe even get a glimpse of the road that is still before us.

.We are thankful that here, we have been able to open our eyes: to see the beauty and good in other people, and to help them see the beauty in themselves. We are thankful that we have been able to look beyond the small faults and limitations people have on the surface, to glimpse the real and true, deeper, divine beauty within.

We are thankful for the opportunities we have had to come to know ourselves better, as well: our strengths, as well as our weaknesses; to discover something of what we believe, and what we don’t.

We are grateful for having had the chance to hear the stories of those who have come before, those who have added light and warmth, wisdom and love, to this world that always needs those things. Though they are gone, may they live forever in our hearts, and walk with us, every step of our own journeys.

We are thankful for this Church—and this Church School-- this precious incubator of our spirits. A place where no one is too young and no one is too old, and each and every one is cherished as the great gifts of life that he or she truly is.

So, may we sing our songs, and sing them always at full voice. And even when we are absent from one another, may the music we have made together ring always in our ears and in our memories, till we are together once again.



The call of conscience (Sunday, June 3, 2012)

The call of conscience

Conscience can make heroes of us all;
but that demands that we listen.
Conscience demands that we open our eyes,
look, and see what is around us.
Answering the demand of what we witness
is even another choice unto itself.

We are not automatic angels,
responding on cue to the signal of the Almighty;
nor are we mere groveling beasts
answering our bellies, organs, instincts,
and nothing more.

We are embodied spirits,
owning the blessings and the curses
of both body and spirit.
We are singular, unique beings,
yet intimately interconnected
one with another, and with all that is.

Our soul's realization comes through
accepting, then accentuating,
both that uniqueness and that interconnection--
not in some schizophrenic balancing act,
but in all ways and always,
in the very days we live
every season of our lives.

2/13/99    11/7/99       6/3/12

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Easter Greetings 2012

Easter 2012

The Universalist Parsonage

                                                                       Stoughton, Massachusetts

Dear friends,

Jesus may have died on that cross in ancient Palestine more than two thousand years ago; but he lives still in the hearts of all of those who seek to live out the eternal lessons of the life he lived. That lesson reverberates to the examples of all great souls; all men and women of goodwill and sacrificial spirit; all of those whom we have loved and held close, whose lives have blessed ours, but who are no longer with us. Even though they’re gone, their lessons live on in our hearts, as much as when they were alive.

            That is one of the great miracles of Easter: that the deeper meanings inherent in our human living transcend our physical existence on this planet.

            Another is the miracle of nature. “Lo, the earth awakes again,” we sing—and isn’t it wonderful? Isn’t it about time, too? Such a timeless miracle it is that this earth, which such a short time ago seemed locked in the grip of winter—which seemed all but dead—is now about to burgeon forth with the full refulgence of life. That we are there to witness that miracle each and every year—what a blessing that is! Who can but rejoice at this Easter miracle of springtime come again?

Then there is also the springtime of our souls, which abides as well. That springtime is hope—which perhaps we sense most clearly at Easter. This hope is not always an easy thing. Sometimes, it is a tough hope, a defiant hope, which spits in the face of these badlands which this world puts forth. “If one tries to break new ground, or to walk in a new path, one walks straight to Calvary,” Teilhard de Chardin reminds us. But then, he continues: “Those who spread their sails in the right way to the winds of the earth will find themselves borne by a current towards the open seas.”

Hope is not easy. It can be hard to keep up hope. But hope is that sacred wind which lifts us from the dreariness of the world as it is, toward the resurrection of our spirits and the new life that can be. Hope is the doorway toward the rising that lies in wait, the resurrection in our souls, which yearns to usher forth at Eastertime.

Elizabeth joins me in wishing you all a Happy Easter and the choicest blessings of this season of new life.

                                                                                         Faithfully yours,


Rev. Jeffrey B. Symynkywicz

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A Prayer for Our Chuch (Membership Sunday, April 1, 2012)

Come, Spirit of Wholeness and Peace, and abide with us at this time and in this place.

May the souls of those departed and those who will come after us crowd with us into this meeting house this day, warming our gathering with the presence of their memory; inspiring our gathering with the radiance of their hope.

The past offers its gifts generously
with strong hands of bold and free-spirited souls
who dared to offer their world (and ours)
a liberating vision of hope and courage.
May we remember gratefully this day
those gifts of this free tradition,
ours for the borrowing in our time:

the gift of a faith that will not rest
until the circle of its community is as wide as the universe,
and human love grows as large as the very heart of God.

May this church ever be
a place of love and caring, for ourselves and the world around us.
May we this day rededicate ourselves to our highest ideals and most noble aspirations; to the call of a faith as expansive as the universe itself.


4/2/2000          4/1/2012

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Living in the symbols (Sunday, March 25, 2012)

Living in the symbols

To treat all things as symbols
and every act as ritual
is to see in every being another manifestation
of the divine.

This is how we can approach life
when we slow down enough
and let go of the need to prove ourselves worthy
by demonstrating how busy we are.

Not merely to stand back, withdraw from life,
or let it flow on past us;
nor simply to throw ourselves into the vortex
of the maddening swirl,
only to find ourselves consumed by it.

But consciously--
for it is in our consciousness that mind and universe meet--
consciously to live
as though all things were symbols
pointing out life's lessons to us;
as though every deliberate act was a ritual
connecting us to the cosmos;
as though every being, every creature, every natural element
was, indeed,
like each of us,
another manifestation of the holiness and godliness
of Life itself.

11/6/98          3/25/12

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Both sides of the wall (Sunday, February 5, 2012)

Of course, this world is but illusion,
a thin veneer, really:
in all its beauty, majesty, and glory,
in all its pain and sorrow, toil and strife.
It is still but an outer shell, occasionally translucent,
over the deeper realm where the Spirit dwells
and all is Being, all is one.

But these little beings which we each are,
though we bear the breath of God within us,
need bodily lives to lead. We need to feel the living
that we do; see the colors that amaze us.
We need to know the tiny miracles of this world,
before we move deeper in our journey toward the Spirit.

Though it may seem a divided domain--
God on one side of the Wall and we on the other--
in fact, of course, all creation is one; we  know that:
the angels inside of us are but God writ small;
writ in a language these feeble eyes can read;
spoken in a language these failing ears can hear;
reflected in our smaller glory, our little games,
that gives us something to hold onto
when the chill of winter has gone on too long,
and we wait impatiently for the springtime of our souls.

1/8/01           2/3/02          2/6/12

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Transforming Our Times (Sunday, January 22, 2012)

Transforming Our Times

Is it best of times, or worst?
Is it a blessing or a curse,
these lives we lead,
this time and place
in which we dwell?
Are our eyes hidden
from the face of God,
or do we stand closer than we know
to the light of divine grace?

We can transform and glorify
these times in which we live
only by listening for the inner voice
and following its ways.
We can be testaments to the energy
and spirit of these days
only by living them fully
in the light of our deepest power.

That means following the seasons of these times
and living where we are,
but always casting that deeper eye
which sees the abundance and growth
of the summertide within.
It means honoring our age
and knowing the road we’ve walked,
but it also means knowing
that new roads always await us,
and new seasons beckon.

When we cast these lives of ours
both in the light of history’s long page
and God’s great grace, we’ll know
how eternally young we truly are--
And how ancient, how wise,
to be able to share in this great drama,
this golden hour
in which we have been called to transform the earth.

7/1/02     9/17/02     11/03/02     1/22/12

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Waiting for the change (Sunday, January 15, 2012)

Waiting for the change

Will the change come (when it comes),
inevitably, flowing like a river,
cascading over the face of the earth,
a raging torrent, battering down
the citadels of reaction?

Or will it be (if it is to be)
a gradual unfolding,  opening like a stream,
slowly, steadily, maybe imperceptibly
making its way homeward
until one morning we awake and we are there?

We live history every day,
but never know its course until it’s run.
But the remaking that our world needs
will at least require all hands to be on deck.

The gentle and the strong, defiant and resilient,
must all find a place to stand and act and hold the line
if this world is to be made new.

There can be no turning back,
unless we would trade our civic soul
for easy baubles and trappings
of an age that is dying;
or unless we would luxuriate
in the dank and brackish waters
of an age already dead.

Our eyes face forward for a reason:
to greet the coming season, and to try
to glimpse some flicker of the future
before it’s here; then we’ll know
if not the total truth of what’s to come,
at least where to stand,
when the glorious winds of change begin to howl.

11/9/02          1/19/03          1/15/12