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Ritual for Abundance and Emptiness
Complete Service

Overview: A Soulful Sundown worship on abundance, exploring the interwoven nature of emptiness and fullness

Theme or Background: spiritual abundance and the cyclical paradox of emptiness and fullness

Materials Involved/Altar:

  • set in our usual way with fabric and strips.
  • we will have bowls around the perimeter - half of the bowls will be filled with fountain water during the service, half of the bowls will remain empty.
  • the side of the fountain whose bowls are empty will also have pitchers of water.
  • the Tibetan singing bowl will be on the altar

Music:

  • various CDs of meditative chant and flute music
  • or live flute with soft drums 

 

Opening Reading:

"This Clay Jug" by Kabir
reading #608, Singing the Living Tradition

Ritual Filling of the Bowls:
play a few minutes of meditative music; fill half the of the bowls with water from the fountain.

Storytelling

This evening we are going to share two stories with you from Everyday Sacred, a powerful collection of spiritually reflective vignettes written by Sue Bender. The first is called "Overflowing Tea" and was written in response to a flash of insight where she thought to herself, "I am empty."

"Overflowing Tea" from Everyday Sacred, p. 15-16

Meditation:
How do we begin in emptiness? In the business of our lives, the complexity of this world, and in our own fears we can get incredibly over-full. We invite you into a time of meditation, into the central portions of your being, into that knowing that is found in deep quiet, to find those places which feel over-full. Those places which are so laden that they leave no room for newness, for blessing, or for abundance. What needs emptying?

We will ring the bell, and enter into five minutes of silent reflection. Let the sound of the bell and the soft notes of the flute draw you deep into your center.

Ring the Tibetan Bell

Play five minutes of meditative music

After five minutes: Ring the Tibetan Bell

Storytelling:
The second vignette from Sue Bender's Everyday Sacred is called "Offerings."

"Offerings" from Everyday Sacred, p. 40

Singing:
"Return Again," Singing the Journey #1011

Return again. Return again.
Return to, the land of, your soul. (2x)

Return to who you are,
Return to what you are,
Return to where you are,
Born and reborn again.

Bowl Ritual

Now we will walk, and pour, very carefully. You are invited to come to the fountain as the spirit moves you to enact the emptying of something that which is a burden or filling up with wisdom, to allow greater spiritual abundance into your life.

On one side of our altar there are bowls that are full. If you are feeling full, laden with something very heavy. Please speak just a few words about that thing, and empty a little bit of water from one of the bowls into the fountain. The other side of our altar has bowls that are empty. If you are feeling the need for renewal, for refreshment, for an indwelling of wisdom, please share just a few words and pour a little bit of water into one of the bowls.

playing a CD track of meditative flute or chant.

Singing:
We will briefly reprise, "Return Again."

Closing Reading:
Our closing reading is "The Fountain" by Denise Levertov.

Thank everyone for coming, leave to another soft, meditative piece of music.

About the Author

For more information contact worshipweb@uua.org.

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