Why Balance?

Prelude: Jim Pearce

Chiming of the Singing Bowl: Liz Martin

Words of Welcome and Announcements: John Maynard

Good morning! I am John Maynard, a Worship Associate here at Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Sandy Springs, Georgia. 

Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation seeks to create loving community, inspire joy and spiritual growth, and support courageous action. All are welcome, as together we journey towards justice and equity by learning, caring, and acting together.

We especially welcome any newcomers and visitors we have today. I hope you’ll join us after worship for coffee hour… from the comfort of your own homes. You can just stay right here when the service ends. There is no need to leave this zoom call, we will begin coffee hour as soon as the postlude is over. 

If you haven’t already, now is a great time to grab whatever materials you’ll need to light your own chalice if you’d like that to be part of your worship experience today.

As always, kindly set your phones to worship mode; we won’t know, but I think you might enjoy the hour free from distractions. And feel free to check in on your social media of choice to let your friends and family know about this place of caring you’ve found today. Our congregation is an exciting place to be, and we love it when you share the good news. 

And although we cannot be physically together to greet each other today with hugs, high-fives, smiles, and words of love, we are all together in spirit and each and every one of us is welcome.  

Do you enjoy Coffee Hour each Sunday? Are you willing to host from time to time? We have a real need for more people to volunteer to be the host. It is super easy, lots of fun, and yes, we will train you. You get to talk with lots of people, but without more people willing to do it we might have to discontinue. It’s pretty easy if you have any tech skills at all, so don’t be shy!

And now let us prepare for worship with the song “Come Come Whoever You Are” by Sarah Jebian and Laura Weiss.

Music: Sarah Jebian and Laura Weiss ”Come Come Whoever You Are”

Call to Worship: Liz Martin

Come, you are welcome here
No matter your age, your size,
The color of your eyes,
Your hair, your skin…
You are welcome here.
Whether you come with laughter in your heart,
Or tears…
You are welcome here.
If you believe in God all of the time, some of the time,
Or none of the time….
You are welcome here.
If you come with an open mind, a loving heart, 
And willing hands…
You are welcome here.

And now we’ll have Maggie Davis light our chalice.

Lighting of the Chalice: Maggie Davis

With Love As My Guide
By Cindy Terlazzo

A view of the starry sky at night, straight up, through the silhouette of trees around the edges.
Amidst the swirl of life’s challenges, fears,
and even moments of crisis,
I make time to gaze at the night sky to see the vastness there,
And to remember that this moment in time is but a flicker—
Not an inconsequential flicker—
For what I do and think now does matter.
My work, though, is to let
The debris of this world pass by
While I anchor myself
To what I know is true:
And caring for this precious life—
This precious planet
And all that calls this place home.
This is my North Star.
With love as my guide,
How can I possibly go wrong?

Story Wisdom: Sandy Davis “Meditation 101”

Reading Introduction: John Maynard

For today’s reading, well, I will not actually be reading anything.  We had selected for today the poem, “The Hill We Climb” by Amanda Gorman, our nation’s first Youth Poet Laureate. Many of you will recognize this poem as having been read, prominently, during the inauguration ceremony this past week of President Joe Biden.  

Though the event itself was historic and certainly meaningful for many people, we have chosen to present it today because of its themes of moving forward in a spirit of healing, both personally and as a community.  

Though I had originally planned on reading this poem, after seeing the poet herself read it, I became convinced that I simply could not do it the artistic justice that it deserved.  Instead, we present this recording of Ms. Gorman reading her own words at the inauguration, so that you may all appreciate this incredible poem as presented by this extraordinary young woman.

Reading: Amanda Gorman “The Hill We Climb”

Joys and Sorrows: Rev. Joan

Good Morning. I am Rev. Joan Davis, Northwest’s Affiliated Community Minister, and I am here to bring you the Joys and Sorrows this morning. 

And I invite you all now, those of you with Joys and Sorrows to share with our congregation here gathered virtually, to open the chat box at the bottom of your screen and enter your Joys and Sorrows. Joys and Sorrows is our time in this space to honor these sacred moments and milestones. 

For our Ritual, we have water and we have river stones. Smooth and heavy in our hands, these river stones symbolize life’s pleasures and times of ease and life’s burdens and times of heaviness. The water in our bowl is a precious natural resource. We use it sparingly, reminding us of the preciousness of each life and its unique journey.

Barbara Holmes, the mother of Barbara Dondiego, passed this past Friday, after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease, ultimately succumbing to COVID-19 in her final days. Please keep Barbara and her extended family as well as David Stewart and their three boys in mind.

Rev. Misha shared that both of her parents are COVID-19 positive. Her dad is still in the hospital and has developed pneumonia.  Her mom is at home with relatively mild symptoms. She will get an antibody infusion on Monday.

Kat Benoy shared that both she and David have COVID-19. Both are at home. David is ill and Kat has mild symptoms. While they have been very careful, Kat and David had a contractor to their home for some repairs. There is no contact tracing, but the contractor said that his mother had COVID. It’s a cautionary tale that Kat wanted to share.

I would also add a stone for all of those who are concerned about getting an appointment for the vaccine. There is a lot of anxiety out there and I want to acknowledge that. There is also inequity, certainly racial inequity, and we need to call it as it is.

Please keep in mind those in our congregation who are ill, hospitalized or recovering, as well as those grieving a loss.  Your prayers, healing thoughts, cards and emails are welcome.

Ryan Wilson, nephew of Marti Wilson.
Hugh Fordyce
John Weinert
Cathy Miller

Lastly, we have some birthdays this week.   

Marti Wilson 1/27
Suzy Alford 1/27
Clarence Rosa 1/27

Prayer and Meditation: Rev. Joan

May we be reminded here of our highest aspirations,
and inspired to bring our gifts of love and service to the altar of humanity.
May we know once again that we are not isolated beings
but connected, in mystery and miracle, to the universe,
to this community and to each other.
Caring is a calling… and all of us are called.

And now the song, “Show Us How To Love” by the 2019 UU Music Conference Choir.

Music Interlude: 2019 UU Music Conference Choir “Show Us How To Love”

Sermon: Liz Martin

A Sermon on “Balance” From the Least Balanced Person I Know!

Offering: Introduction by John Maynard

The offering that we take each Sunday isn’t just a stale habit: it’s an opportunity to recommit to this place, and to this people. Our offering is an affirmation—a “yes.” 

When we give, we say yes to something we value. With our gifts, freely given, may we say yes to the values of our faith. Our offering will now be given and gratefully received.

Dedication of the Offering: John Maynard

Now please join me in the dedication of our offering. To the work of this congregation, which is weaving a tapestry of love and action, we dedicate our offerings and the best of who we are.

Benediction: Liz Martin

For our benediction today, we will be watching a video, and then you may choose to stay on the Zoom call for coffee hour if you choose! And speaking of coffee hour, I wanted to tell you that hosting coffee hour is easy! It’s also rewarding!! → Heartfelt endorsement of how much more connected to NWUUC I feel after being the host all last summer 🙂

The video we are watching is a compilation of some of our UU churches participating in the COVID memorial that was held in Washington DC on Tuesday evening in advance of the inauguration events. Churches were asked to ring their bells 400 times, once for every 1,000 Americans we have lost to the pandemic. Please join me in reflection on both our profound losses and our gratitude for all of the frontline workers and caregivers. Blessings on us all.

Postlude: COVID Memorial