Cherry Pickin’s May 2023
Infinite Spirit of Life, we ask thy blessing on these, thy messengers of fellowship and love. May they remind us. amid diversities of knowledge and of gifts, to be one in desire and affection, and devotion to thy holy will. May they also remind us of the value of comradeship, of doing and sharing alike. May we cherish friendship as one of thy most precious gifts. May we not let awareness of another’s talents discourage us, or sully our relationship, but may we realize that, whatever we can do, great or small, the efforts of all of us are needed to do thy work in this world.
~Reverend Norbert Capek, Czech Unitarian Minister
Each year in May we celebrate a special ritual: the Flower Communion. This celebration of the siblinghood of all humanity was first celebrated by Reverend Capek at the Unitarian Church in Prague in 1923. Capek started this Church after World War I as Czechoslovakia gained its independence and as its citizens embraced a new religious freedom. Capek’s liberal Church proved very attractive to huge numbers of people.
For some time Capek recognized that his congregation needed a new ritual which would not alienate people who had intentionally left behind Catholicism and would bind together people with diverse religious ideas. He turned to the natural beauty of the countryside for the central element and created the Flower Communion service. It continued to be a highlight of the year for his congregation, as it has become for many North American UU churches.
We experience the same glory in this ritual: the individual uniqueness of each flower, and the beauty of the complete bouquet. And we share it. And we take it with us from the Church, alive in our hearts and at work in our lives.
Capek did too. And, do you know what, it made him dangerous. It made him dangerous to the Fascists of his day – the Nazis who ultimately occupied Czechoslovakia. And, in 1941 he was arrested by the Gestapo, eventually sent to Dachau, and killed there, on October 12, 1942, by poison gas.
What was so dangerous about embodying a commitment to freedom, reason, and tolerance? What was so dangerous about building a congregation that celebrated that commitment?
Let’s all come to our Flower Communion service on May 14th with those thoughts in mind. And let us celebrate. And let us remember. And let us answer the questions that Rev. Capek’s life asks our own.
In Faith and Service,
Also for May:
A Prayer All on Mother’s Day
There are times when motherhood reflects joy and gladness. If your Mother’s Day is blessed by beauty and love: peace to you.
There are times when motherhood is mostly struggle and chaos. If your Mother’s Day is surrounded by confusion and uncertainty: peace to you.
And, there are times when motherhood is consumed by sadness and grief. If your Mother’s Day is a time of suffering through disappointment, anger, loss, illness, or death: peace to you.
But most of the time motherhood includes all of this, and more. As a mother or as a child, in whatever form parenting took in your life, for good or ill; peace to you.
May all who have known something of motherhood be present to one another in faith on this complicated Day.
Let us find the gratitude that we might, the hope and courage that we can, and the nurturing spirit that is manifest throughout our days.