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Youth Programming
   

Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Sangerville and Dover-Foxcroft

Sunday, February 15, 2004

[Note: This service ran 45 minutes when done in Sangerville. Things that can be added: Additional music of humorous nature, including suggestions at the end. A time for children can be added, using a humorous story]

WELCOME AND ANNOUNCEMENTS

For the Community

Youth Conferences coming up

            Social Justice Con, March 12-14, First Parish, Portland

            Junior Youth Con, April 2-3, Sanford

            Spring Con and Bridging, April 30-May 2, Ferry Beach

 

PRELUDE

OPENING WORDS

Chelsea: Laughter is an affirmation of our humanness, a face-saving way to express our anxieties, fears, and other hidden emotions. It breaks the ice, builds trust, and draws us together into a common state of well-being. Laughter is called "inner jogging." A robust laugh gives the muscles of the face, shoulders, diaphragm and abdomen a good workout, and sometimes even the arms and legs. Heart rate and blood pressure temporarily rise, breathing becomes faster and deeper, and oxygen surges throughout the bloodstream. We become alive!  Please join in our exploration of humor and Unitarian Universalism this morning as we sing the Introit.

 

INTROIT #188 "Come, Come, Whoever You Are"

CHALICE LIGHTING

Hearing that a great flood was coming, the Catholics said their rosaries and the Buddhists used their beads, the Congregationalists joined in prayer, and the Unitarian Universalists formed a class to try to learn to live under water.

Please join in reading the Covenant that is on the cover of the order of worship.

 

COVENANT (on the cover of service leaflet)

HYMN  "Holy Is Our Humor"

Holy, holy, holy! Holy is our humor.

Early in the morning light, life's laughter do we hear.

Holy, healthy laughter we offer to each other,

Cel'brating humanity, the joy through all the tears.

 

Holy are the hurts that cutting humor brings us,

Healing is the love we need to set our humor right.

Holy are the Principles that help to guide our laughter.

Inherent worth and justice inform our humor's might.

 

Holy, holy, holy! Holy is our humor.

Though trouble hides the laughter, it lives within our souls.

Holy, healthy laughter always will be with us.

Humor was and is, and evermore is ours.

            Helen Zidowecki

 

CANDLES OF COMMUNITY

            Greetings from the churches

            Sharing with the Community

SPECIAL MUSIC  "Unitarian Universalist Rap"

OFFERING (Followed by #402)

A little girl became restless as the preacher's sermon dragged on and on. Finally she leaned over to her mother and whispered, "Mommy, if we give him the money now, will he let us go?" Which is a good reason for having the offering before the sermon.

We will now collect the offering for the ongoing of this congregation and its larger

[Who takes up the offering?]

RESPONSIVE READING

(Leader) You might be a Unitarian Universalist if:
Congregation) You are unsure about the gender of God - or even if there is a God.

(Leader) You might be a Unitarian Universalist if:
(Congregation) You study the "ten suggestions" instead of the "Ten Commandments."

(Leader) You might be a Unitarian Universalist if:
(Congregation) The only time "Jesus" is mentioned at church is when someone falls down the stairs.

(Leader) You might be a Unitarian Universalist if:
(Congregation) You have trouble singing hymns because you're always reading ahead to see if you agree with the words.

(Leader) You might be a Unitarian Universalist if:

(Congregation) You are not even sure if you are Unitarian Universalist. That removes all doubt.

 (Leader) And so, to whom it may concern, these thoughts, prayers, good vibes, karma, cosmic forces, or whatever, we offer to you, if there is a 'you'… Or not.

Please read in Unison:

UNISON: How many Unitarian Universalists does it take to change a light bulb?

(Reader 1) We choose not to make a statement either in favor of or against the light bulb. However, if you have found in your own journey that light bulbs work for you, that is fine. You are invited to write a poem or compose a modern dance about your personal relationship with your light bulb and present it next month at our annual light bulb Sunday service in which we will explore a number of light bulb traditions, including incandescent, fluorescent, three-way, long-life, and tinted, all of which are equally valid paths to luminescence.

(Reader 2) None, UU's aren't afraid of the dark!

(Reader 3)  One to write a solemn statement which will affirm the following:

1. This light bulb is natural, a part of the universe, and evolved over many years by small steps.
2. There must be no discrimination against bulbs in any form, and means must be found for bulbs of all colors and intensities and shapes to work on a basis of equality.
3. UU's seek for each light bulb the fullest opportunity to develop itself to its full electrical potential.

HYMN #301 "Touch the Earth, Reach the Sky!" Rev. Helen Zidowecki

MESSAGE  "Humor for Unitarian Universalists"

[Use the sermon as is, or include other personal illustrations.]

Humor is big business in the country! I searched on the web and found 800,000 references on humor and health. There was humor for occupations and ethnic groups and religious groups. There are several sites of Unitarian Universalist humor.  

 

How do Unitarian Universalists look at humor? How do we ensure that our humor is not damaging to individuals or groups - or do we? What do we use as guidelines? In November, thirty youth and adults at the Junior Youth Conference explored the connection between humor and the Unitarian Universalist Principles. Examples of good humor and harmful humor were identified for each Principle.

 

For the first principle, "inherent worth and dignity of every person," the importance is on using jokes that can make everyone feel good, that focus on life, on developing the ability to laugh at ourselves without put downs.  For example, it takes me at least three tries to actually leave when I am going somewhere. I get everything in the car….Then I think of something that I forgot, so go back to get it, then there is something else. Eventually, I do get going.  Even my family and dogs understand that and stay out of my way and probably mutter to themselves about how stupid or disorganized I am. They must all sigh in relief when the garage door finally closes and the car goes down the driveway. I have learned to accept this part of me, and we laugh about it.

 

So how do we take jokes about Unitarian Universalists? I find myself getting defensive when I hear other people telling jokes about us. I guess that's because there is usually at least a little bit of truth in jokes. What jokes do we tell on ourselves? Are the jokes that we tell ways of holding up some of our characteristics and, yes, quirks?  In holding up these characteristics, do we ridicule ourselves or celebrate who we are?

 

The second and sixth principles consider "justice, equity and compassion" and "peace, liberty and justice for all". In the topical listings for humor on the web, I don't recall seeing any listings related to these topics. The junior youth considered "compassionate humor" as including "stories of endearment", memories of laughs that have been shared - truly shared, stories that remind us that humor is part of a community and a relationship.

 

This "compassionate humor" is set against the jokes that are harmful to a group of people, from 'dumb blond' jokes to those with ethnic, racial and religious overtones, jokes that make assumptions that may not be true. The junior youth developed guidelines for using humor.

            Remember that people have feelings.

            Develop the ability to laugh with and not at another person.

Be willing to be surprised at how well your own ideas and those of others might turn out.

            Think before you speak.

Make jokes that expand rather than impose on a person's right to search for what they believe.

Accept, honor and celebrate rather than make fun of differences.

"Compassionate humor" - I like that term!

 

The major realm of Unitarian Universalist jokes may fall under the principles of "acceptance and encouragement to spiritual growth" and "a free and responsible search for truth and meaning". 

 

Some of the youth have examples of this:

 

(Reader) In trying to figure out whether there was an afterlife, a Unitarian Universalist saw a signs on a bulletin board for a lecture on "The Way to Heaven" and for a presentation on "Avoiding Hell" and for a discussion "About Heaven and Hell." Of course he went to the discussion.

 

(Reader) Arguing with a Unitarian Universalist is like mud wrestling a pig. Pretty soon you realize the pig likes it.

 

(Reader) What is an insomniac, dyslexic Unitarian Universalist? Someone who stays up at night wondering if there is a Dog.

 

So we like thrive on discussion, on searching in community - that is really what we are doing with groups and committees. In our groups, our committees, our discussions, are we searching or trying to get others to assume our views?  If we really take this searching in community seriously, we will be learning from hearing the opinions of others in the community. But you know, we have a tendency to use comparison with other religious groups in order to make a point, like

 

(Reader) A Unitarian Universalist woman was driving to church. As she passed a little girl standing in front of the Catholic church with a large cardboard box with a number of kittens. There was a sign that read, "Catholic kittens free to a good home."  The next Sunday the woman noticed the girl and the kittens in front of the Methodist church with a sign, "Methodist kittens free to a good home." And the third Sunday, the woman saw the girl and the kittens in front of the woman's own church, with a sign, "Unitarian Universalist kittens free to a good home."  She remarked to the girl that she had seen her with the sign for Catholic kittens a couple of weeks before, and Methodist kittens last week. "What makes them Unitarian Universalist kittens now?" she asked the girl. The girl responded, "This week their eyes were open."

 

(Reader) What do we get when we cross a Unitarian Universalist with a Jehovah Witness?  Someone who knocks on your door asking what you believe in.

 

Yes, we like to think of ourselves as soooo different. I wonder if there are any jokes about how we are similar to other religious traditions, jokes that extol the values that we hold in common, jokes that celebrate how we interact with other faiths to make the world a better place…..Let me know if you find jokes that focus on wholeness rather than differences. But maybe that is the nature of jokes - to point out differences.

 

Back to the Principles, for "the rights of conscience and the democratic process" brings an entirely different perspective. The junior youth mentioned that poking fun at the weaknesses of government might make us more aware of the need to be active in addressing concerns and injustices. The focus here needs to be humor based on accuracy and objectivity and the human condition. Maybe this is the hardest principle. It calls us to be active and to use humor to express concerns without reinforcing stereotypes, attacking opponents, or putting down a person's right to beliefs. The humor or the people. 

 

Now comes a favorite principle - the interdependent web of all existence. Just look at all of the incongruities between humans and the world around them. At home, I have a menagerie of 2-3 dogs, 3-5 cats, and occasionally a bird, depending who is at home or visiting. A couple of years ago, I started writing "Dawg Notes" to keep various people current with life at my house. The dogs took over the writing, from their perspective, without making them into 'humans.' I started looking at the events of the day and the patterns of behavior as stories to be told. And, even in the sad events, I see sparks of humor. As the youth at the Junior Conference put it, "We're all in this together!"

 

Humor touches us to the very core of our existence, as individuals and as Unitarian Universalists. Holding humor up to the light of our Principles brings it into the ethical arena where our lives are lived out.  There is so much within and around us that is good humor! Look for it, celebrate it, live it.

 

Before we close, there are a few more jokes that just need to be told.

(Reader) A Unitarian Universalist child was asked, "Can you tell me what happened on Easter?" The child knew the answer: "Jesus rolled back the stone, walked outside and saw his shadow, so we have six more weeks of winter."

 

(Reader) A huge fire was ablaze in the town square and it looked as though everything would burn down. The Catholics rushed into their church to save the crucifix. The Baptists rushed into their church to save the historic Bible. The Unitarian Universalists rushed into their church to save the coffee pot - and the Equal Exchange Coffee. (Hold up a bag of coffee) 

 

(Reader) It is show-and-tell day at school, and all the children are requested to bring in an item which illustrates their religious beliefs.
One child stands up and says, "This is a Star of David and I am a Jew."
Another child stands up and says, "This is a crucifix and I am a Catholic."
Another child stands up and says, "This is a coffeepot and I am a Unitarian Universalist."

And this brings us to our last hymn.

 

CLOSING HYMN: Coffee, Coffee, Coffee," words by Christopher Raible

Coffee, Coffee, Coffee,
Praise the strength of coffee.
Early in the morn we rise with thoughts of only thee.
Served fresh or reheated,
Dark by thee defeated,
Brewed black by perk or drip or instantly.

Though all else we scoff, we
Come to church for coffee.
If we're late to congregate, we come in time for thee. Coffee our one ritual,
Drinking it habitual,
Brewed black by perk or drip or instantly.

Coffee the communion
Of our Uni-Union,
Symbol of our sacred ground, our one necessity.
Feel the holy power
At our coffee hour,
Brewed black by perk or drip or instantly.

CLOSING WORDS:

(Ben)  Why did the Unitarian Universalist cross the road? To support the chicken in its search for its own path.

POSTLUDE


Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Sangerville and Dover-Foxcroft

Sunday, February 15, 2004 Order of Worship

 

WELCOME AND ANNOUNCEMENTS

PRELUDE

INTROIT #188 "Come, Come, Whoever You Are"

CHALICE LIGHTING

COVENANT (on the cover of service leaflet)

HYMN  "Holy Is Our Humor"

Holy, holy, holy! Holy is our humor.

Early in the morning light, life's laughter do we hear.

Holy, healthy laughter we offer to each other,

Cel'brating humanity, the joy though the tears.

 

Holy are the hurts that cutting humor brings us,

Healing is the love we need to set our humor right.

Holy are the Principles that help to guide our laughter.

Inherent worth and justice inform our humor's might.

 

Holy, holy, holy! Holy is our humor.

Though trouble hides the laughter, it lives within our souls.

Holy, healthy laughter always will be with us.

Humor was and is, and evermore is ours.

 

CANDLES OF COMMUNITY

SPECIAL MUSIC  "Unitarian Universalist Rap" Tad Walk

OFFERING (Followed by #402)

 

RESPONSIVE READING

 (Leader) You might be a Unitarian Universalist if:
(Congregation) You are unsure about the gender of God - or even if there is a God.

(Leader) You might be a Unitarian Universalist if:
(Congregation) You study the "ten suggestions" instead of the "Ten Commandments."

(Leader) You might be a Unitarian Universalist if:
(Congregation) The only time "Jesus" is mentioned at church is when someone falls down the stairs.

(Leader) You might be a Unitarian Universalist if:
(Congregation) You have trouble singing hymns because you're always reading ahead to see if you agree with the words.

(Leader) You might be a Unitarian Universalist if:

(Congregation) You are not even sure if you are Unitarian Universalist. That removes all doubt.

 (Leader) And so, to whom it may concern, these thoughts, prayers, good vibes, karma, cosmic forces, or whatever, we offer to you, if there is a 'you'… Or not.

UNISON: How many Unitarian Universalists does it take to change a light bulb?  HYMN #301            "Touch the Earth, Reach the Sky!"

MESSAGE "Humor for Unitarian Universalists" Rev. Helen Zidowecki

 

CLOSING HYMN "Coffee, Coffee, Coffee," by Christopher Raible

Coffee, Coffee, Coffee, Praise the strength of coffee.
Early in the morn we rise with thoughts of only thee.
Served fresh or reheated, Dark by thee defeated,
Brewed black by perk or drip or instantly.

 

Though all else we scoff, we come to church for coffee.

If we're late to congregate, we some in time for thee.

Coffee our one ritual, Drinking it habitual,

Brewed black by perk or drip or instantly.

 

Coffee the communion Of our Uni-Union,
Symbol of our sacred ground, our one necessity.
Feel the holy power at our coffee hour,
Brewed black by perk or drip or instantly.

CLOSING WORDS:

POSTLUDE



All materials copyright © 2008-2017 by Helen Zidowecki unless otherwise noted. - hzmre@hzmre.com - http://www.hzmre.com

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