Welcome!

This morning’s service is a Poetry Potluck – in which you are all invited to join the feast by bringing your favorite dish – in this case poetry – and sharing the poetic nutrition that feeds us – feeds our sense of wonder and mystery, feeds our soul, feeds our sense of shared community: sacred and profane, moving us to tears or making us laugh.

Robert Frost wrote that great poetry “begins as a lump in the throat . . a homesickness, a lovesickness.” Poetry stirs something you can’t explain. When it comes, you just know that it is given out of nowhere. That’s when you experience radical grace. Poets try to find the perfect word to name the inner experience. The goal of great poetry is to get right to the heart of the experience so that it resonates with your own inner knowing and you can say, “Yes! That is
true!”

Our Poetry Potluck is like any other potluck – You take a chance – a risk – that whatever is available – and that whatever you bring will prove to be good or acceptable, and that sharing what you love will be enjoyed by others. So even if you didn’t bring a poem this time, enjoy the feast!

Chalice Lighting – Chuck Dickinson

This morning I light the chalice to honor our collective spirit of hope and resilience. I’m going to read a speech by a royal Duke from “As You Like It”, a play by William Shakespeare. The Duke has been living through a great deal of adversity – deposed and exiled by his evil brother – he is forced to live in the woods, away from everything he knew before. But – much to his surprise – what he thought was going to be a disaster, is not. As you listen, remember in those days some people thought that toads had magical jewels in their heads. The Duke says,

Sweet are the uses of adversity,
Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,
Wears yet a precious jewel in his head;
And this our life, exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in everything.

Those who wished to share poetry were recognized by virtual hand raising

Closing Meditation

We give thanks for this time together, to see each other’s faces, to hear and share our poetry, to laugh, to feel our sadness, to appreciate the richness of our shared community. For all the ways we have learned to cope and are still learning.

And help us to continue to find tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything.

Lynn Bratley

Lynn has been a member of First Parish since 2005, and is a retired theater director.