Cherry Pickin’s May 2024

Cherry Pickin’s May 2024

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 Čapek, Czech Unitarian Minister

Each year in May we celebrate a special ritual at Westminster Unitarian Church: the Flower Communion.  This celebration of the siblinghood of all humanity and the interdependence of all creation was first celebrated by Reverend Čapek at the Unitarian Church in Prague in 1923.  Čapek started this Church after World War I as Czechoslovakia gained its independence and its citizens embraced a new religious freedom.  Čapek’s liberal Church proved very attractive to huge numbers of people.

Čapek recognized that his congregation needed a new ritual which would not alienate people who had intentionally left behind traditional religious movements, 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.

Čapek did, too.  And, do you know, it made him a powerful, transforming – and therefore dangerous – force.  It made him so dangerous that during WWII, after the Nazi’s occupied Czechoslovakia, they arrested him and eventually sent him to Dachau, where he became a Unitarian martyr on October 12, 1942 – killed 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?

Come to our Flower Communion service on May 12th with those thoughts in mind.  We’ll celebrate.  And we’ll remember.  And we’ll explore the ways that Rev. Čapek’s brave ministry calls to us today.

In Faith,
Rev. Eric