Looking for an opportunity to “press pause” on a busy schedule and enjoy some spiritually-deep time with others? Rev. Anthony David invites you to “Making Meaning in a Crazy World: A Retreat for Spiritual Renewal” on Saturday, Nov. 17, from 9 am-noon. Participants will walk a labyrinth, worship together, and reflect on spiritual living in a world that is often paradoxical, gritty, and unfair. “What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway.” “Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway.”

Gathering 9:00-9:30am 209-210

Welcome and Introductions
• Name
• Connection with UUCA
• What’s one hope you have for our time together today?
• What’s one gift you bring to help make our hopes come true?
• Question after sharing: having heard what everyone’s said, what do you think? Are you in the right place this morning?

• Quote from storyteller Brian Andreas: “Most people don’t know there are angels whose only job is to make sure you don’t get too comfortable and fall asleep and miss your life.” Sit with this quote for a moment and let its meaning sink in….
• Find someone you didn’t come here with today and talk about how this quote spoke to you. Are there any disquieting angels in your life these days?
• Larger group sharing

Walking the Labyrinth and Silence 9:30-9:50am Chapel

• Why do we take off our shoes when we walk the labyrinth? (More obvious: What is “spiritual” about walking the labyrinth?)
• Pointers: start when you feel ready; allow your body to find its own pace as you walk; it’s common to pass other walkers or to be passed; the single path runs both ways—those entering may meet those on the journey out. Gently make room for others as you pass…
• What about my mental focus? Up to you. If you are experienced with meditation practice, do what feels good. If you’d like to just allow your mind to go limp, do that. If you’d like something concrete to focus on, think about that conversation you just had about angels coming into your life and how they are waking you up to your life…
• When you are done: return to 209-210 and continue in the silence….
• (For people who did NOT bring an object representing something about their spiritual journey—use this time to find one)

Worship 9:50-10:50am 209-210

++Chalice lighting
Blessed is the fire of our longing for love.
Blessed is the fire of our hope.
Blessed is the journey that brings us here and now.

++Building the altar
Each person is invited to bring up the object they brought with them, which represents something important about his/her spiritual journey…

Spirit of Life

Kent Keith: “The Paradoxical Commandments”

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.

++Silent reflection

Single voice this time…

++Vocal reflection

Additional paradoxical commandments:

No good deed goes unpunished. Do good deeds anyway.

Beautiful moments will wash over you, but you won’t be able to hold on to them. Enjoy beauty anyway.

We pray to bear witness to our heart’s truth
We pray to express feelings of deepest sincerity, sorrow, love, hope….
Even if there is no God to hear the words, the depths within ourselves and others hear them, and we are they are thereby changed….
What is your heart’s truth this morning?
What is your desire for yourself and for others in this room, or elsewhere?

++Silent Extinguishing the Chalice

++Passing the Peace

Silent Break 10:50-11:00am

Going Deeper 11:00-11:30am 209-210

Part 1
Break out into groups of three to talk more about the “paradoxical commandments.” Mother Teresa thought the Paradoxical Commandments were important enough to put up on the wall of her children’s home in Calcutta….

Part 2
Brian Andreas: “Anyone can slay a dragon, he told me, but try waking up every morning and loving the world all over again. That’s what takes a real hero.” What releases hero energy in you to face your days? What gives YOU hope and helps you “stay calm and carry on?”

Sharing Our Journeys 11:30-11:50am 209-210

We do not journey alone in this life. Always, there are lovers, friends and companions who support us, and we support them.

Our altar carries objects which represent our separate spiritual journeys. But what would things look like if we were to rearrange our objects in such a way as to reveal how our separate journeys might support those of others?

Make a sculpture to show how our separate journeys come together to form our shared Unitarian Universalist spirituality. (What do we as UUs lead with? What’s central? What’s foundational? And so on….)

Closing 11:50-noon 209-210

Discoveries? Surprises?
One thing you will take with you from this place….