This Sunday we’ll have our annual celebration of the Czech Unitarian Flower Communion – a recognition of the beauty and diversity of our congregation. Bring a flower for the bouquet! To further recognize transitions in the membership of our congregation, this service will include bridging our youth into young adulthood, child dedications, and a welcome to new members.
Centering Thought: Diversity is the magic. It is the first manifestation, the first beginning of the differentiation of a thing and of simple identity. The greater the diversity, the greater the perfection. – Thomas Berry
Share the plate: Mid-Valley Literacy Center
Celebrant: Arrhiannon Kirkpatrick, Anchor: Ann Hanus
Music: UUCS Choir
If you were a flower, what kind of flower would you be? I know that now, in June, we’re thinking about all kinds of flowers that come out when there’s plenty of sunshine, and warm days, and good company from all the OTHER flowers that have bloomed. June is a nice time for flowers.
Let’s remember some of the first flowers that bloom. The very first flowers I see each year are crocuses. Sometimes I wonder what it’s like to be a crocus – to be the first flower to come up and open your face to the sun, to be brave enough to push up through the ground when it’s still cold, and maybe there’s even a little snow!
This spring I saw a poem about that.
Adapted by Kim Crawford Harvie from the work of Jo Carr
It takes courage to be crocus minded.
. . .I’d rather wait until June,
Like wild roses,
When the hazards of winter are
Safely behind and I’m expected,
And everything’s ready for roses.
Knifing up through hard-frozen ground and snow,
Sticking their necks out
Because they believe in spring
And have something personal and emphatic
To say about it.
. . .I am not by nature crocus-minded.
Even when I have studied the
Situation, and know there
Are wrongs that need righting,
Affirmations that need stating,
And know that my speaking out may offend,
For it rocks the boat –
Well, I’d rather wait until June.
Maybe things will work themselves out,
And we won’t have to make an issue of it.
Wrongs won’t work themselves out.
Injustices and inequities and hurt
Don’t just dissolve.
Somebody has to stick their neck out;
Cares enough to think through
And work through
Because they believe
And they have something personal
And emphatic to say about it.
Me — Crocus-minded?
Could it be that there are
Things that need to be said,
And I need to say them?
I pray for courage. Amen.
Ninety-four years ago today, on June 4 in 1923, a Unitarian minister named Norbert Capek created a flower communion with his church in Prague, in what was then Czechoslovakia. He wanted to help his congregation understand two things: that each person came freely to join the church, bringing their own gifts and beauty, symbolized by the individual flowers. And that together all the different flowers – each one at least a little different from all the rest – make a gorgeous bouquet that is better BECAUSE of the differences within it.
This year we’ve been living in a time that’s scary for a lot of people. Some folks are afraid that they aren’t safe because of the color of their skin or the religion they practice; some folks are afraid because our planet is hurting; some folks are afraid that they or a person in their family will be deported – that they will have to leave the town and country they live in; some folks are afraid that they aren’t safe because of who they love or how they express their gender. A lot of people are afraid because it seems like things are changing in scary ways and we’re not sure what’s going to happen.
Norbert Capek was crocus-minded, and crocus-hearted, and when the Nazis came to Czechoslovakia they thought his teachings about the inherent worth and dignity of every person were too threatening to their control. He died in a prison camp. I feel very sad and a little scared, when I think about that; maybe you do too.
And yet, the only way the world changes, the only way the world gets a little less scary, is for people to be brave and crocus-hearted. We are being crocus-hearted together, in our new commitment to be a sanctuary congregation: to take a stand for justice in the immigration laws of this country, to say that we believe that the system now is not working and is not fair, and we want it to be better.
There are lots of ways to be crocus-hearted. And just as there are many, MANY other flowers, there are many other ways for our hearts to be that build our bouquet of justice and love. We need all of us, being ourselves, coming together to share in order to make this congregation. Many kinds of flowers, many ways of being, many kinds of work for justice and many ways to love.