Four Part Water Communion
The following is a creative format for a water communion, but most other worship elements have been removed to highlight they way that the communion is structured. Note: this service, as written didn’t include a Joys and Sorrows component; its creator hoped for the larger container of the water communion to provide a place to lift up joys, sorrows, concerns, and the quiet everyday moments of life. Be imaginative with the way you create your own invitation or calling forward for each part!
Reflecting on the Water
Each year as we gather in the fall, it is our custom to offer water as a symbol of our connection one to the other. This morning we will have 4 periods of sharing whatever water we have brought. We want to share with one another not only where our water comes from, but share what it means to us—what it symbolizes in our own lives.
First we will have a chance to share water that reminds us that while some have abundance, others struggle in scarcity.
Second we will share water that symbolizes travel, movement and change.
Third we will share water that reminds us of life’s storms: our concerns, worries, frustrations and losses.
Finally, we’ll share water that reminds us of the wellsprings of our lives.
Please don’t worry about which time for sharing is the right time; the great thing about symbols is that they are always open to many interpretations.
Water Communion, Part 1: Drought
This container, empty of water, reminds us of all who lack access to safe and affordable water.
I dedicate this first water [water from last year’s water communion] to begin our water communion with this symbol of our solidarity with UUSC and all those around the world who are calling for the human right to water.
I also pour out water for all those farmers in California who lost crops and livestock this summer because of the drought there- one of the worst they have ever had.
If you would like to share water representing an awareness of scarcity in our community or our lives, please come forward using the side aisles bringing your water and pour a little of your water in the common bowl. If you like, to say a word or two about the significance of this water into the microphone. If you did not bring any water with you today, we invite you to pour some from the glass pitcher into the bowl. You are always welcome to share silently – you do not need to speak to share.
[Invite forward water of drought/scarcity.]
Hymn or Choral Anthem (suggested: “Welcome Back to the Rain” by Diane Baker)
Reading (suggested: “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” by Langston Hughes)
Water Communion, Part 2: The Waters That Carry Us
Now I invite you to share water that reminds you of the changes and transformations in your lives, your journeys whether spiritual or physical. [Invite forward water of change/transformation.]
Hymn (suggested: “The Ocean Refuses No River”)
Water Communion, Part 3: The Water of Storms
Now it is time to share water symbolizing the storms in our lives: the concerns and sorrows, confusion and frustrations. Allow this vessel to be one of receiving and healing as it absorbs your "storm." Again, you're welcome to say a word or two about the significance of this water—or pour in your water without saying anything at all. [Invite forward water of storm and sorrow.]
Hymn (suggested: #210, Singing the Living Tradition, “Wade in the Water”)
Reading (suggested: “Domestic Poem” by Eileen Moeller)
Water Communion, Part 4: The Waters that Sustain Us
As we conclude our water communion, I invite you to bring water that reminds you of the wellsprings of your life: the water that sustains you when you are feeling empty, the joys that give you hope and buoy you up. [Invite forward water of hope and sustenance.]