By the Wayside of the Celestial Lands Liberal Religious Faith… and the occasional political musing.

In the light of truth and in the warmth of love

“In the light of truth and in the warmth of love we gather to seek, to sustain, and to share.” — from the First Unitarian Church of Orlando in Orlando, Florida. (Wikipedia)

O creative flame, Quicken our spirits when we fear

O creative flame, Quicken our spirits when we fear, and warm us where pain resides, as we celebrate the new, and the eternal, Chalice of our faith, Challenging, and healing. –from the Unitarian Universalist Church in Concord, Massachusetts. (Wikipedia)

We light this chalice to remind ourselves to treat all people kindly

We light this chalice to remind ourselves to treat all people kindly because they are our brothers and sisters to take good care of the earth, because it is our home and to try to live lives, filled with goodness and love because that is how we will become, the Read more →

We light our flaming chalice To illuminate the world we seek

We light our flaming chalice To illuminate the world we seek. In the search for truth, may we be just; In the search for justice, may we be loving; And, in loving, may we find peace. — Rev. Elizabeth M. McMaster

May this flame, symbol of transformation since time began

May this flame, symbol of transformation since time began, fire our curiosity, strengthen our wills, and sustain our courage as we seek what is good within and around us. — Rev. Bets Weinecke

The first spoken words in the Hebrew Bible

The first spoken words in the Hebrew Bible are “Let there be light.” Let there be light today as we once again gather in community. Let us feel the light within each of us burn brighter. Let us feel the light of each others’ lives surround us. Let us feel Read more →

We light our chalice flame to start our worship period

We light our chalice flame to start our worship period. The light of the flame represents our unending search for truth; the heat of the flame represents the warmth of love; the beauty of the lighted chalice represents our religious quest to bring the best into our lives and our Read more →

We light the Chalice as a symbol of our unity

We light the Chalice as a symbol of our unity, of our common search for truth and meaning, of our wish to stay and struggle for those things that we have chosen to share with love and responsibility. We also spread these rose petals as a symbol of our spiritual Read more →

Hope, respect and love – three important treasures of spiritual life

Hope, respect and love – three important treasures of spiritual life. May they always be in our hearts, may we always give them generously. The light of this flame is a symbol of them too, as hope, respect and love are the cornerstones of our free spiritual path. —Petr Samojsky Read more →

When we light the chalice, may the world be filled with God’s holiness

Today, when we light the chalice, may the world be filled with God’s holiness. May we feel His presence, His love, His compassion, His bounteous blessings. May we always be ready to be grateful to Him, to glorify Him and to pray to Him, with holy hearts and with thirst Read more →

We come to this solemn assembly bringing along the flame

We come to this solemn assembly bringing along the flame of fire within us. May our flames blend together in the lighting of this chalice, the symbol of our commitment to bring warmth to our fellows through service to all. We pray that we may not be burned out, but Read more →

We are the generation that stands between the fires

We are the generation that stands between the fires. Behind us the flame and smoke that rose from Auschwitz and from Hiroshima, Before us the nightmare of a Flood of Fire, The flame and smoke that consume all earth. It is our task to make from fire not an all Read more →

We light this chalice To honour those brave souls

We light this chalice To honour those brave souls Who spoke their truth, Who questioned authority, Who defied orthodoxy. Their courage speaks to us through this chalice And encourages us all To think strongly To love fully In our shared quest for truth, beauty and meaning. —Derek McCullough from the Read more →

Life is an art, it requires practice to achieve greatness

Life is an art, it requires practice to achieve greatness, but greatness is always waiting, ready to be attained. May the light of this chalice remind us of the possibility for everyone to achieve truth and goodness in our lives, if we only seek it. —Beth Bullmer from the ICUU Read more →

We light this chalice to bring light and warmth

We light this chalice to bring light and warmth; The Light and warmth that shows us the way; The way to Compassion; The Compassion that is unconditional; The Unconditional that does not demand; Demand to be alike in our faith and beliefs; The Belief that Liberates from Human Tensions; Fears Read more →

Lighting this chalice, we invoke the presence

Lighting this chalice, we invoke the presence of Love in our hearts, to share it today among us and then spread it to the world. Therefore, let nobody feel a stranger in this circle and may all feel welcome. —from the ICUU and the Sociedad Unitaria Universalista de España

We light this chalice by giving thanks

We light this chalice by giving thanks for the fire of love that burns within our hearts, to remember that when fire meets fire there aren’t many, but one fire. And now we want to worship GOD the source of fire in all hearts, so that we may all be Read more →

We light this chalice in remembrance

We light this chalice in remembrance of our forebear Michael Servetus, who died in the month of October, more than 450 years ago, defending his right to think and believe independently. He said: “I wish that everybody was freely allowed to speak in our churches”, and so we recognize in Read more →

As we light this chalice, we recollect

As we light this chalice, we recollect the power enlightenment brings to the shadows of ignorance, the hope compassion brings to the heaviness of oppression, the warmth community brings to the loneliness of isolation. May this chalice inspire us to embody in our own lives enlightenment, compassion, and community, that Read more →

The Silence of the Season — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last Preached on December 22nd, 2013 Yesterday, I had the wonderful privilege of attending a performance of a new musical, being developed right here in Ventura at the Rubicon theatre, titled “Little Miss Scrooge”.  Now, you all know how much I love theatre… I try to bring at least one Read more →

Barbara Brown Taylor

“God is greater than my imagination, wiser than my wisdom, more dazzling than the universe, as present as the air I breathe and utterly beyond my control.”  ~from The Preaching Life

Audrey Hepburn

“People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone.”

Into the Silence We Breathe — by David Pyle

Into the silence, we breathe Breathe in, breathe out Through that breath, we feel the spirit of life Life that has been with us since that first breath When we first come into this world A miracle is always at our beginning A miracle is our life upon this earth Read more →

Miraculous Birth — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last preached on December 8th, 2013   A child is born. That child grows up to change the world. Those who follow the teachings of that child look back upon the life that was lived, and see that it expanded horizons, that it changed hearts and lives, and look to Read more →

Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan

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Managing Polarities in Congregations: Eight Keys for Thriving Faith Communities by Roy M. Oswald

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Straight: The Surprisingly Short History of Hetrosexuality by Hanne Blank

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The Business of the Church: The Uncomfortable Truth that Faithful Ministry Requires Effective Management by John W. Wimberly

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The Sacred Depths of Nature by Ursula Goodenough

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Sacred Ground: Pluralism, Prejudice, and the Promise of America by Eboo Patel

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Michael Wolfe

“Conservatives cannot govern well for the same reason that vegetarians cannot prepare a world-class boeuf bourguignon: If you believe that what you are called upon to do is wrong, you are unlikely to do it very well.”

Mohandis Gandhi

“An armed conflict between nations horrifies us. But the economic war is no better than an armed conflict. This is like a surgical operation. An economic war is prolonged torture. And its ravages are no less terrible than those depicted in the literature on war properly so called. We think Read more →

Francis of Assisi

“Preach the Gospel at all times; if necessary, use words.”

Rutilio Grande

“I am fully aware that very soon the Bible and the Gospels will not be allowed to cross the border. All that will reach us will be the covers, since all the pages are subversive, it is said. If Jesus crosses the border at Chalatenango, they will not allow him Read more →

John W. Wimberly

“A leader is a visionary. She has a dream of what her congregation can be. He is a motivator. She can mobilize church members and staff around a vision. • A manager is a person who can transform a vision into reality. She is a master at implementation. He gets Read more →

Thomas Jefferson

“To the corruptions of Christianity I am indeed opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself. I am a Christian in the only sense in which he wished any one to be; sincerely attached to his doctrines, in preference to all others; ascribing to himself every human excellence, Read more →

Eboo Patel

“The great fault line in the world is not between Americans and Arabs or Muslims and Christians.  It is between the moderates of all traditions and the extremists who belong only to one — the tradition of extremism.”

Julia Ward Howe

“Any religion which will sacrifice a certain set of human beings for the enjoyment or aggrandizement or advantage of another is no religion. It is a thing which may be allowed, but it is against true religion. Any religion which sacrifices women to the brutality of men is no religion.“

Waiting Upon One Another — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last Preached December 1st, 2013 This is the first sermon I have written in my office here at the church.  Actually, it may be the first sermon I have ever written in any church office I have ever had.  Usually, I write my sermons in the early morning hours, sitting Read more →

We Light This Chalice as a Symbol of the Light

We light this chalice as a symbol of the light that shines in the human heart. —Unitarian Universalist Society of Spain suue.org (from the ICUU)

We Light this Chalice

We light this chalice to mark the commencement of our Unitarian and Universalist service of witness. By this simple act of lighting a flame we are activating a symbol of our solidarity with a noble line of freedom of thought that is relevant today and necessary for the future of Read more →

When Life Seems Heavy and Dark — Lene Lund Shoemaker

When life seems heavy and dark, and you feel very sad – Light a candle! When life seems light and wonderful, and you feel like hugging the world – Light a candle! Let this flame represent precisely the candle you need to light at this very moment. —Lene Lund Shoemaker Read more →

May this Flame Go Up and Remind us that our Faith is Good — Petr Samojsky

May this flame go up and remind us that our faith is good: every one of us can bring love to the world. May this chalice burn with clear flame as a symbol of our path: every one of us can have joy, peace and harmony in our hearts. May Read more →

Just as the Sun Bathes Us in its Light — Derek McCullough

Just as the sun bathes us in its light, its warmth and its love, so may the spirit of this chalice bless us with truth, life, and love. —Derek McCullough from the ICUU and the Australian and New Zealand Unitarian Association anzua.org

Breath of the Divine — Janet Vickers

Breath of the divine, light a flame of reflection in all that we do. Breath of creation, light a flame of connection in our circle of care. Breath of wonder, light a flame of inspiration to cultivate participation. Breath of fear, light a flame of courage to be who we Read more →

As we Gather in the Shadow of our Mountain — Karien van der Walt

As we gather in the shadow of our mountain, The ocean laps around our feet. We reach deep for the silence within……….. Feel the rhythm of the ancient drum………… We light our flame, it lifts us high. Our rainbow seems alight. Diverse as we are Together as one! Our flame Read more →

We Light this Flame — Lillian Burlando

We light this flame that represents the light of Truth, the warmth of Love, and the energy of Action. —Lillian Burlando From the ICUU and the Peace and Harmony Center, Argentina

We Light our Chalice of Freedom — Judith Crompton

We light our chalice of freedom, our Unitarian symbol, In the spirit of faith, hope and love. As we do so, we reflect for a moment, In this place of simple beauty, On the meaning of these three things in our lives. And we think of those not here, Blessed Read more →

May This Flame Burn — Petr Samojsky

May this flame burn and remind us that each of us can offer goodness and love, and that each of us can be a blessing to the world. —Petr Samojsky from the ICUU and the Religious Society of Czech Unitarians

Oh God We Light This Chalice in Your Name — Inderias Dominic Bhatti

Oh God, we light up this chalice in your name. May the lightening spread in your name break all the bounds of Darkness, the bounds of prejudices, doubts, and anger. Bring us understanding, acceptance, tolerance, pluralism and mutuality so that your light may shine. The light of love that rather Read more →