Today I got an email invitation from Keith Kron, a friend and colleague here in the PNWD who coordinates worship presenters for our UUMA retreats. We have a retreat coming up April 15-18 and he needed someone to present worship on Wednesday morning of the retreat.
I said yes because in our chapter it is our professional duty to say yes when asked to do something for the chapter (unless it's impossible). But I did so while quaking slightly in my boots.
It's not easy to present worship for the colleagues. It's different from presenting worship for congregants; there's a sense of needing to say something different from what you might say to a congregation of laity. The faces looking back at you from the chairs have all got the same kind of expertise and they're probably better at it than you are! or so it feels.
I've presented worship in the past but I called on a raft of others to help me and presented a modified Taize service, with lots of singing and chanting and reading and silence. Piece of cake.
This time I need to find a way to say something fresh to my colleagues, something they might not have thought of, something that may be unique to my experience but has commonalities for them.
The line "No man is an island" popped into my head and I realized that's what I have to say that is unique-----since moving to the island, I've learned a lot about what it means to live on an island, to be separate from the mainland, and to resist returning to the mainland, preferring to be isolated from the mainland. I think we UUs do that to some extent, finding our religion to be a safe little island, resisting having much to do with other religious folk, preferring to be isolated and different.
I think that's where I'm going to go. I'll use John Donne's ancient words as a springboard and find some songs that fit. I'll let you know how it goes.