Sunday, May 11, 2008

Beautiful Chaos!

Mother's Day started out awfully early this morning, as most mornings do. But I'd gotten to bed quite late last night after spending the evening at a local bistro listening to a couple of friends (Deja Blooz is their group name). We stuffed ourselves on appetizers and desserts, compliments of my darling brother's Christmas gift, which was a generous gift certificate to this place in Langley. But it meant I was late going to bed, which makes NO difference to the cats, who are up and at my door by 5:15 a.m. without fail.

So the morning started off a little bleary-eyed anyhow and the day was going to be a full one. I had a wedding consult at 1 p.m. with a couple who are being married in July, and then our DRE Lorie and I had to prep our meeting space for the Big Production---a intergenerational service with Flower Communion, Child Dedication, and Re-creation of the Simple Gifts Still Life all rolled into one.

Whenever you're working with kids to put together an intergenerational service, you can count on its being chaotic and unpredictable. However, you can also count on its being absolutely adored by the congregation---at least here on the island.

We were dedicating six kids, which is quite a passel of parents and children all up front. And we didn't really have a chance to rehearse any of the program, other than the music. So we just had to go forward hoping for the best.

Well, it was marvelous. There were all kinds of goof-ups but none of them mattered much. The dedication brought tears to people's eyes, the re-creation of the still life was lovely, and the Flower Communion seemed to touch people's hearts as well.

What I like about the child dedication I've worked out is the words I use with each child and parent. I ask the parent(s) the child's name, then I repeat the name, dip a rosebud in the "holy" water and touch the child's head with it, saying "I touch your head that you might learn to think clearly", touch the lips, saying "I touch your lips that you might learn to speak truth", touch the heart, saying "I touch your heart that you might learn to love deeply", touch the hands, saying "I touch your hands that you might learn to serve others", and touch the parent(s), saying "I touch your parents that they might always remind you how deeply you are loved". Then I say, "welcome, Zoe, (or whoever) to the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Whidbey Island.

Our DRE gives each child a little bag with a sugar lump (for the sweetness of life), bitter herbs (for the sorrow of life), a Susan B. Anthony dollar (for UU ancestry), and I forget the other items, but each is significant in some way.

To watch the children's faces is truly wonderful. One little boy kissed the rosebud as I touched his lips. The sigh from the congregation was audible.

We have really worked hard to build up an RE program that works. Our meeting time of 4 p.m. is really difficult for families and it's been a slow go. But we are hopeful that when we move to a morning service, things will change for the better. Lorie, bless her heart, has managed to build the program immensely since she came two years ago. She is absolutely a gem and has recruited her whole family to be part of the congregation. We have dedicated five children from her immediate family!

Anyhow, tonight I'm going to bed a bit early and bask in the memories of a wonderful day.

On top of it all, the Favorite Son called and we had a great conversation. Their Fellowship in Reno has just had candidating week for their new minister-to-be. He didn't know yet if the new guy had been voted in, as they are not yet members and didn't stay for the vote, but they were optimistic. The FS is more than just my son; he's also my friend, which is a lovely relationship to have with a person whose face I used to have to scrub!


Lizard Eater said...

Oh, your service sounds so lovely. I love the part about touching each with the rose. Touch is so important, and it seems like a word we're afraid to use anymore.

And you are a very respectful parent. Any other mom would have referred to it as "whose butt I used to wash!" :)

Lilylou said...

Thanks, LE. Actually, I started to write something about body fluids but changed my mind. I'm afraid he might remind me of things I did as a not-so-respectful parent that would embarrass me too.

Sounds like your little one is hanging in there. Someday she'll be the age of the FS and having adult conversations with you.

Anonymous said...

I like your description of the child dedication service. It's one thing I'm really looking forward to after our little one is born.