CELEBRATING COMMUNITY: SACRAMENT OF (FLOWER) HOLY COMMUNION
The Flower Communion service had its origins in 1923 when Dr Norbert Capek, a former Baptist and founder of the Unitarian Church in Czechoslovakia, introduced it to his congregation. Our liturgy this morning is shaped by sections of two other modern liturgies, written by Dr David Bumbaugh.
v1 Enter into this sacred time.
Enter with joyful hearts.
Enter with reverent thoughts.
v2 It has taken long months beneath cold ground
for flowers to prepare their blooming.
It has taken each of us long times of growth,
through sorrow and joy,
to prepare for our living now.
v1 The blooming season is short.
Flowers stay only a brief time.
We are travellers upon the earth:
travellers through all too brief life times.
v2 Therefore let our moments together be bountiful.
And let us rejoice in our unique colours, aromas, and sounds.
Our offerings, and gifts of flowers, bread and wine, shall now be received
Presentation People stand, as they are able, for the presentation of the bread, wine, flowers and money
Creating God, the landscape of life and your presence is near:
a daffodil in bloom,
a single green leaf,
the red and green flash of a parrot.
May we too be a people of adventure and life,
grace-filled companions, offering
courage and hope in unexpected places.
Have you considered the flowers, the lilies of the fields?
All They spin not, neither do they sew,
yet Solomon, in all his glory
All was not arrayed as one of these.
Say what you will about the economy of life,
flowers are irrefutable proof of nature’s extravagance.
Flowers do not bloom for us.
They do not care whether or not we see them.
They grow and bloom because they are full of life.
They are a gift of grace.
They invite us to seek the beauty in each moment.
They encourage us to find fulfilment in life and the living of it.
As you came into this sacred place this morning,
you brought with you a flower,
from your yard,
from along your street,
from a florist,
from your neighbour’s flower bed,
from the basket in the entrance.
From many different sources
these many different flowers have come.
Together on this table they symbolise
the extravagance of nature,
for as various as these flowers are,
they do not begin to exhaust nature's inventiveness
in creating forms and colours and beauty.
And what nature has done for flowers, nature has done for us.
Bread and wine
v1 In all the colours and scents and tastes and sounds of the world,
we see the beauty of the universe.
v2 In this season of spring it is fitting we should celebrate
the renewal of life and hope using
the symbols of bread and wine and flowers.
Time out of mind we have watched
grain buried in the dark soil.
Time out of mind we have watched sprouting seeds
break through the soil, reaching towards the warm sun.
Time out of mind we have watched grain broken,
ground into dust-like flour.
Yet mixed with water and leavening,
it stirs, rises, becomes bread,
the sustainer of our lives.
For longer than we can remember
the fruit of the vine has been our companion.
It’s clustered fruit is harvested
and crushed, and juice is stored and fermented
saved for festive occasions.
We have shared the fruit of the vine in moments of joy and sorrow,
and to mark momentous turnings. (David Bumbaugh)
Remembering the tradition surrounding Jesus…
we break this bread and fill this cup.
Bread broken. Wine poured out
We give thanks
All And seek to live in harmony with all about us.
We give thanks
All And take our place in the human story,
struggling for the unity of humankind.
We give thanks
All And join with all in a quest for justice.
We give thanks
All For all that Jesus, human like us, means to us.
Bread and wine served in pews
And now we prepare to leave this place.
As you do, you are invited to take one of the flowers.
Take a different one than the flower you brought.
Take it not to keep forever and forever.
Nothing is forever.
Take a flower as a symbol of gratitude
for beauty we did not create,
for joys which come when unexpected.
Take a flower as a symbol of your participation
in the community of this congregation,
in the community of human kind,
in the community of all living things,
in the universal community.
Take a flower as a symbol that beauty and grace
and joy and love
are not matters of reciprocity.
In this world we cannot earn or deserve
that which is most important.
It comes to us as a gift. (David Bumbaugh/hc)
Primary sources. “Flower Communion service” and “A Springtime Service” by David E Bumbaugh, in The communion book. 1993. (ed). Carl Seaburg. MA: Boston. UUMA.
The St Hilda Community. 1996. The new women included. A book of services and prayers. GtB: London. SPCK.
UUA Worship Web. MA: Boston. <www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/>