The God of Chocolate
What you are about to read is not fiction. It is an actual story of a Unitarian Universalist worship service. If you are not familiar with who universalists are, they are a “church”, and I use that term loosely, that accepts people of all faiths, your basic all roads lead to Rome church. They deny absolute truth which is in itself and absurdity. Think about it. The statement “There is no absolute truth” is a self-defeating statement. If there is no absolute truth, then that statement cannot even be verified. The group that I got the following from cautions people that when we begin the slippery slope of compromise in our churches, we can end up like these intellectual nuts. Now, while I doubt that most churches would go as far as the following, I do recognize that moral erosion has been creeping into the church as a whole for decades. Let’s hope that the church can turn that around before we resort to worshipping chocolate. You probably laughed or at least chuckled at what I just wrote, but that is exactly what happened in this UU service. Consider the following…
Author: Christine Susalski
Published on: July 27, 1999
Related Subject(s): Not Indexed
This past Sunday was a busy one for our CUUPS group. CUUPS stands for
Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans, and our group is a
relatively new one in the church. One Sunday a month, and various
times during the year when our minister is either unavailable or on
vacation, the Sunday services are led by church members. Our CUUPS
group offered to do a service, and so it was.
Recorded music was played as people were seated. Someone in the
church donated a tape of CUUPS chants and drummings, and this was
what we used. Then the opening words, and Lesley read a short guided
meditation from the hymnal.
==Fragile and Rooted==
See a blossom in your mind’s eye. Allow it to fill the interior of
Greater perfection of form in nature cannot be imagined. With inward
gaze absorb each wondrous fluted petal.
Slide down its humid surface until you drop as the dew into its
Immerse your senses in this safe chamber.
Such fragile beauty gives impulse to weep.
Slowly reverse the journey; as you ascend the shaft toward wider
light, turn your imagination around and around to see its many
facets. Stored within is the memory of all flowers.
Marvel that this creation, while utterly fragile – yet undaunted,
boldly buds forth turning resolutely toward the sun.
We, too, shimmer with expectation, exuding our own illumination,
color, pulse, and scent.
Vulnerable, still we venture our lives courageously toward hope and
light, at once fragile and rooted.
– Carolyn S. Owen-Towle
After the “Welcome & Introductions” part of the service, Lesley asked
Raymond to light the chalice and everyone joined in reading the words:
This chalice is a symbol of our community;
No single belief includes us here,
No disbelief excludes us.
It is our heritage of freedom,
The unending search for truth,
And a promise to respect one another,
That binds us together.
A sharing of joys and concerns was next. I love this part of the
service. “There are always joys and concerns that go unspoken, but
shape our togetherness. Let us also remember those who are not here
this morning, but are with us in community.”
We then stood, and as lively as we could, sang (by the way, all songs
and readings listed are from the UU Hymnal, Singing the Living
Tradition ) O God of Stars and Sunlight.
==O God of Stars and Sunlight==
O God of stars and sunlight,
whose wind lifts up a bird,
in marching wave and leaf fall
we hear thy patient word.
The color of thy seasons
goes gold across the land:
by green upon the treetops
we know thy moving hand.
O god of cloud and mountain,
whose rain on rock is art,
thy plan and care and meaning
renew the head and heart.
Thy word and color spoken,
thy summer noons and showers –
by these and by thy dayshine,
we know thy world is ours.
O God of root and shading
of boughs above our head,
we breathe in thy long breathing,
our spirt spirited.
We walk beneath thy blessing,
thy seasons, and thy way,
O God of stars and sunlight,
O God of night and day.
– Words by John Holmes, 1904-1962
– Music: Johann Christian Storl’s Wurtembergb Gesangbuch, 1710
Michelle wrote the sermon, A View of Paganism, Ritual, and CUUPS. Her
husband Clint read it. We wanted the congregation to have an idea of
what paganism is, and what CUUPS is, and also present our ideas about
ritual. This led to a question and answer time, and although we were
worried that no one would have any questions, it went very well.
Then a song for the Goddess, “Joy, Thou Goddess.”
Joy, thou goddess, fair immortal, offspring of Elysium, mad with
rapture, to the portal of thy holy fane we come! Fashion’s laws,
indeed, may sever, but thy magic joins again, humankind is one
forever ‘neath thy mild and gentle reign.
Joy, in nature’s wide dominion, mightiest cause of all is found;
and ’tis joy that moves the pinion, when the wheel of time goes
round; from the bud she lures the flower, suns from out their orbs of
light; distant spheres obey her power, far beyond all mortal sight.
Words: Friedrick Schiller, 1759-1805
Music: Ludwig van Beethoven, 1770-1827 (Hymn to Joy)
Tanya wrote a wonderful story about the “The Myth of the Origin of
Chocolate” and she read that. Then, as the drumming started up, the
four directions entered, carrying their treats.
North: Turn with me now to face the sacred direction of the North.
From the North we invite the healing, nurturing bounty of the element
of Earth. We welcome dark, rich chocolate to our circle of
bittersweet delight. (The treat was a basketful of Hershey’s dark
chocolate nuggets candy.)
East: Turn with me now to face the sacred direction of the East. From
the East we invite the knowledge, understanding, and wisdom of the
element of Air. We welcome soft, creamy chocolate to our circle of
luscious delight. (Chocolate mousse pie)
South: Turn with me now to face the sacred direction of the South.
From the South we invite the courage, creativity, and inspiration of
the element of fire. We welcome warm, liquid chocolate to our circle
of sensual delight. (Chocolate fondue – we’d already placed cubed
angel food cake and strawberries on the “altar.”)
West: Turn with me now to face the sacred direction of the West. From
the West we invite the emotion, intuition, and cleansing of the
element of Water. We welcome cool, milky chocolate to our circle of
smooth delight. (Hershey’s Kisses)
Invocation (read by the entire congregation):
Ye Gods of Chocolate and
Goddesses of sweet desire
With your succulence you woo us.
Our lust not sated,
We yearn for you evermore.
At this point, the congregation came forward to the altar to take and
partake of chocolate, and also to leave their offerings of money.
Then, the closing words:
Thank you all for sharing in this special time. Whether it is making
coffee in the morning, a mass in a grand cathedral, or calling down a
special blessing on our favorite foods, ritual has always been and
will continue to be an important part of human life. It allows us to
set aside daily cares and create a sacred space. In this space we can
more easily focus on the uniqueness and the wonder not only of our
actions, but of ourselves. This is the true gift of ritual, honoring
the Divine within.
Our final reading, a prayer by Starhawk, also speaks to that Divinity.
Earth mother, star mother, You who are called by a thousand names,
May all remember we are cells in your body and dance together. You
are the grain and the loaf that sustains us each day, And as you are
patient with our struggles to learn So shall we be patient with
ourselves and each other. We are radiant light and sacred dark – the
balance – You are the embrace that heartens And the freedom beyond
fear. Within you we are born, we grow, live, and die – You bring us
around the circle to rebirth, Within us you dance Forever.
The chalice was extinguished as we sang –
Carry the Flame
of Peace and Love
Until we meet again. (twice)
Announcements followed, and then some of us met afterwards for lunch.
I started out a bit nervous, but was SO GLAD to see my friend, Jake
at church! Having his support meant a lot to me. Everything went
really well, and people seemed to enjoy it. In the wonderful UU way,
I felt as if I were an important part of a great, diverse family.
Mmmmmm…makes me wonder if the Peanut-Butter god was jealous.