“Be grateful, my soul—
life is worth living.” -Norbert Čapek
This month we celebrate the Flower Communion. The service was initially designed and carried out by the Reverend Dr. Norbert Čapek, a liberal Czech minister martyred by the Nazis at Dachau. His idea was for everyone coming to services that day to bring a flower, all of which would be contributed to the altar display early in the worship hour. Later, as everyone leaves for coffee, they take another flower home. The imagery, it seems to me, is very appropriate to the life of a healthy church.
Such a community welcomes and has room for the contributions of all its members and friends, no matter how new or different or unknown. There’s always room for more, too: more energy, more ideas, more activities and outreach. The net result is beautiful, if a little haphazard from time to time. And the whole in such a community is always greater than the sum of its parts. What each person gets out of the congregation is different, too. The more welcoming and universal a church is, the more it has to offer those who draw from it. These ideas are implicit in all unifying rituals. Indeed, all spiritual and communal life is based on them. For any community of faith to grow it must first grow in ways of communion; that is, in ways of generosity and openness. “Seek ye first the Kingdom, and all these other things shall follow.”
How can ESUC help itself to become more generous, more open, and more growing? It was Norbert Čapek’s idea that liberal congregations needed shared principles and shared rituals. And that they also needed to practice clear thinking and collective action when it came to social critique and uplift. Most liberal congregations, slow to recognize the Nazis’ evil intentions, quickly capitulated to their bullying. In no time their moment to confront them successfully had passed—to the world’s horror. Beloved Communities—communities of congruence in the face of cultural degeneration—are democracy’s greatest strength in the face of tyranny. Please come to service on June 9th. Bring a flower from your garden or home centerpiece for our communion, symbolic of your particular gifts to be shared—and gladly received by all.
In faith, Steve