Sunday Sermon – Returning Home Where Hearts Meet Hearts – November 19, 2017

Ingathering-Water Communion

Returning Home Where Hearts Meet Hearts
Rev. Paul D. Daniel, Minister

Today we come together to celebrate life
symbolized by water. We come to celebrate
community; to celebrate the opportunity to be
with those we love in worship … , Every time we
meet in worship is a time of celebration. Let us
say Hallelujah together. Hallelujah!

We come together once again after being
scattered across the four corners of this globe.
Whether we left to avoid the heat, seek
adventure, find comfort in family and friends, find
a new way of dealing with the challenges of just
living, we welcome you back, old friends and
new. Our religious home is a place where we
offer our hand in friendship, where we open our
hearts to each other in love and compassion,
where we embrace the uniqueness of each of
us. If that is not a reason to celebrate I don’t
know what is. Let us say Hallelujah ….

We celebrate our coming together at the
beginning of each new church year. The clan


gathers, the wandering tribe begins to return;
soon our “snow birds” will begin to wing their
way home. The bringing of water from wherever
you traveled, or from your backyard pool and
kitchen faucet, symbolically represents the joy
we feel at this renewal of our sacred community.

Water is the symbol of ever renewing life.
Kathleen Korb writes, “I suspect that there really
are some theological aspects to the water
communion, although — it may well be true that
ritual precedes theology, and it was started, I
suspect, primarily for community-building and class
participation in show and tell. Water is basic to JifE?
on earth – all life, even the desert plants and
animals outside our windows — and I think it is
symbolic of the connection that we feel with one
another and all living things and the celebration of
life itself.” Perhaps this is an oversimplification of
the concept of the unity of all things, but we can
stretch a bit in our understanding of nature. We do
after all believe in the interconnected web of all

Part of the point of this ceremony, it seems to me,
is recognition that the same molecules of water
from my tap in Palm Desert once washed the
shores of Tasmania …. We know that we are all


connected, there is a unity in our diversity, in the
same way that streams become rivers that merge
into the sea.

Minister: It is written “the same stream of life
that runs through my veins, night and day runs
through the world and dances in rhythmic

Reader: It is the same life that shoots in joy
through the dust of the earth in numberless
blades of grass and breaks into tumultuous
waves of leaves and flowers.

Minister: It is the same life that is rocked in the
ocean-cradle of birth and death, in ebb and flow.

Reader: I feel my limbs are made glorious by the
touch of this world of life. And my pride is from the
life throb of ages dancing in my blood this
moment.“– (Rabindranath lagore).

Perhaps we don’t need water for this service of
renewal. We could just as easily use stones, or
special mementos from our summer to celebrate
our ingathering. What is really important is the
gathering of our beloved community after the
scattering of summer. It is a time to once again


share our life’s experiences. This ceremony calls
us to listen to one another’s story. The merged
waters become a symbol of our merged life
experience. “The water”, writes Sydney Wilde,
“is endowed with the spirit of our stories and
shared experiences of our lives. It becomes a
visible, tangible symbol of our community.

our community, which bestows blessings; and, we
as individuals create that community when we
share who we are, share our wisdom, share our
labor, share our stories, share our pain, our
losses- and share our vacations. We bring
ourselves back to this congregation where the
whole transcends the sum of its parts.

The Water Ceremony is a wonderful example of
the spirituality of humanism. There is no deity
here. The power of the holy resides in people,
people sharing their lives. This grows out of our
renewed awareness of the need for community
versus our traditional individualism.”

Whatever our motivation to gather, this is a service
of celebration. let us rejoice and say Hallelujah
together. Hallelujah!

Blessed be!

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