Ironicschmoozer’s Weblog


Personal Reflection for Lighting of the Chalice — UU Worship Service

As an invocation in our UU worship services, we light a flame in a sculpted metal chalice.  In our particular church, the lay leader of the service gives a short personal reflection–an anecdote, memory, etc.  Often they are from childhood or–if the speaker is middle aged or retired–from young adult years.  Here is one that arises from life in the Central Valley, by Lonon Smith.

PERSONAL REFLECTION 01/29/12

When I get within about seventy feet of the fence, I’ll begin my last turn and be done for the day.  Behind me the wide drag on the back of the tractor will leave a perfectly straight cut across fifty acres of field that I’ve crossed repeatedly as I scraped the earth free of  milkweed and other unwanted vegetation ahead of the next planting.   In my sixteenth summer, this is all I’ve done from the cool of the morning to the high heat of the day, ride an unmuffled tractor through a cloud of dust.  I pull close to the gate, turn off the engine, drop down into the soft earth that I’ve so loudly disturbed.

 And suddenly the silence seems deafening.  I can hear sounds of trucks on the road, out beyond where the dust is settling, but they seem incredibly far away.  I am struck by what feels like the turning of the earth.  The slight curve away of the land into the giant ball.   The spin of a globe on its axis.  The hurtling through space of a planet.    For a brief moment I can fell the galactic carnival ride.  Aw, jeez!  And then I’m a kid standing in an empty field again.

I light the chalice for the moments when the big blue marble reaches out and takes our hand.

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I love this beautiful reflection! It reminds me of Carl Sagan’s message “The Pale Blue Dot” (with the photo taken by Voyager), which hangs on my office wall.

Comment by Erika Hewitt




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