Looking at Life

Address by Rev. Geoff Usher :

I suspect that most people pause now and then to look at l i f e . And I suspect that
at least some people think that, on the whole, l i f e is pretty grim.

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Celebrating Earth and Wonder in Early Spring

A talk given by the Rev. Rex Hunt on the 17th of September, 2017.

 

In 2005 when I was on a Study Tour in England I was fortunate enough to have a side-visit to ‘Down House’, the country home of naturalist Charles Darwin and his family. Few properties can claim to have been as central to the life  and work of its owner as this house.
I remember very well standing in his old studyand being engulfed by its history and its significance. For it was in that house and in that room that Darwin wrote  his most famous book, On the Origin of Species…, published in November 1859.A book which stands as a wellspring for what we now call ‘evolutionary biology’.
In the last paragraph of the book, Darwin wrote: “It is interesting to contemplate a tangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent upon each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us.” (Darwin 2008:362)
Interesting indeed… For the debate it ignited not only led to the denial of the creation stories of the western religious tradition, it gave us the beginnings of an immensely richer, longer, more complex ‘story’,  rooted not in “the history of a single tribe or a particular people”,  but one “rooted in the sum of our knowledge of the universe itself”.
A scientific ‘doctrine of incarnation’ as one person has described it, which suggests “that the universe itself is continually incarnating itself in microbes and maples, in humming birds and human beings, constantly inviting us to tease out the revelation contained in stars and atoms and every living thing.”  (Bumbaugh 2003)
Yes, a ‘religious’ story…   that invites us to awe and wonder;       that demands a vocabulary of reverence.

The complete talk can be found here.

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The Perfume of the Trampled Flower

A sermon by the Rev. Geoff Usher given on the 20th August, 2017.

A puzzle. Within congregations that are supposed to be loving, caring, mutually supportive communities of like-minded people – especially in our liberal, tolerant Unitarian tradition – why is it that so often people remain unforgiving about some long past event, or remain unforgiving of the way that other members of the congregation reacted to that event?
Why is it that the health of the whole congregation – the health and well-being of the whole church community – can become lost in petty arguing, lost in what seems to be a stubborn unwillingness to mend the rips in the fabric of community?

The whole talk can found here.

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Nostalgia

“NOSTALGIA”

by Geoffrey R Usher
Sermon delivered to Spirit of Life Unitarian Fellowship
on 22 January 2017
Ten years ago my son Andrew and his then girlfriend Stephanie returned to England after a holiday of nearly three months in Australia, which included Christmas in Sydney with my wife Ann. As the weather in Sheffield got colder and darker, and I-thought of them enjoying the late spring and then early summer in Australia’s warmth — meals outside, long days of sunlight, swimming at the beach — I tried to persuade myself that I was not jealous. I have to confess: I was not very successful in that attempt to persuade myself that I was not jealous, and I kept finding myself remembering, remembering.. .

The sermon can be found here.

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Two Travel Stories

Rev. Geoff Usher asks us to think about what impression we make on on other people as we travel life’s journey.

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