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**Good Morning, it is always a privilege to serve each of you as speaker. As I was preparing for this morning, I came across my notes from the first time I spoke here, almost exactly one year ago… some of you may remember what I spoke on that day it was titled “NEW BEGINNINGS”. It was Beltane and it WAS cold! I started that morning by saying “spring has come at last” and with freezing drizzle coming down outside that morning we all laughed. My, oh my, what a difference one year makes… It’s like a whole new beginning, no even more than that, what we’ve been given is a new Creation! And it happens every year. ** **Man and Woman, from the earliest of times have asked the big questions, and longed for the answers: How did it all happen? Where did Life start? The beginning, what’s it all about, anyhow? ** **Well, let’s take a look, in the beginning there was Spring. And that first beginning, like every other Spring to follow, would have had all the excitement of thunderous change complete with lightning and torrents of water. Seed defying all odds and growing! All with the help of the Sun with its heat, offering needed fermentation, and warmth. The heavens watched and coaxed out that beginning, the Spring of creation. ** **And humankind have watched and wondered ever since. Our answers have been varied and many. Confusing? Can be, but not everyone is Unitarian Universalist.** **This morning if we were attending a mainstream Church of any belief set, the answers would be easy.** **If this was an Islamic mosque, we would be taught that in the time before time, God was. And when God wants to create something, all he needs to say is "Be", and it becomes. So it was that God created the world and the heavens. ** **If this was a Hindu Temple, we would be taught that in the beginning was Self alone, Self in the shape of a person. Looking around Self, saw nothing but his Self. But Self felt no delight. He wished for a wife. Self was as large as man and wife together. And so Self then made his Self, fall in two, and stood up husband and wife. And from their love everything was born in pairs.** **If this was a Taoist Temple we may believe that, with Tao, nothingness gave rise to existence, existence gave rise to yin and yang, and yin and yang gave rise to everything. Or attending that same Temple we may believe that no myth exists, providing any evidence or making any attempt to explain the world's origin.** **If this was a Christian Church we may believe that in the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth. God said, "Let there be light". And there was light. God divided the day from the night, naming them ' day' and 'night'. This was the first day and God saw that it was good. By the end of six days God has finished his creation. And so God looked at everything he had made and was very pleased. On the seventh day, God rested.** **If only… we were a Christian Church, Taoist Temple, Hindu Temple or a Islamic Mosque, if only! The answers would be clear and not open to debate or discussion, we could be sure, we would know without question. But within this Sanctuary, while we come together and celebrate the wisdom of all faiths, we also celebrate the questions, and know that the answer is not found in just one book, indeed there is simply not just one way. Instead of settling, we are always looking for the signs of Spring… we are Unitarian Universalists. ** **If you go to beliefnet.com and look under the heading ****_what Unitarian Universalists Believe? _**** You will find this said; ****Origin of Universe and Life? **** Diverse beliefs, but most believe in ****the ****_[Bible_**](http://www.beliefnet.com/index/index_10052.html)** as symbolic and that natural processes account for origins. Well, I don’t really know just how true, use of those words “most believe in the Bible” is, but I know some of us do. I also know that others follow different paths. ****Unitarian and Atheist, Frank Lloyd Wright had this to say, “I believe in God, only I spell it Nature.” And ****Unitarian and Humanist, Thomas Jefferson spoke these words, “Nature intended me for the tranquil pursuits of science by rendering them my supreme delight.”** **And so, it is that, I am led to ****say with reasonable certainty, we all believe in Spring.** **Yes, it is not simple for us, we come from many paths and many beliefs but as Unitarian Universalists, I believe, that in the end, in the long view, we have capacity to understand and lift up our eyes toward the Creation story of mankind’s great faiths and at the same fully embrace “nature” as seen through the eyes of a Atheist Frank Lloyd Wright or a Humanist Thomas Jefferson. And that makes Spring all the more beautiful and all the more alive. ** **But seeing Spring as beautiful and alive brings us no final answer to the great questions of what is it all about? And how did it all begin? Those answers lie within each of us and not in the Spring. The Spring is just visible wonder of the mystery we seek. And we all arrive at the moment of creation in our own individual way. ** **Think of it this way, this great life is a sporting event and creation is our team… without exception we all get to go to the game. Yes with our very breath, we have earned our ticket to the big game. The stadium has many entrances, many ways in; we each find our way to our place, to our seat. Some of us have all the stuff… we the hat, the jersey, foam finger and the flags, all of it. We picked this stuff up at the Mosque, the Temple, the Church store of our choice. And we look good! Oh yes we do! For others we come to the Big Beginning, the big game, through a different ramp, we have comfortable clothes on, but we don’t need to buy any special stuff for the game, but rather just give us the stats please! We’ll bring and study our charts, our histories and our projections to the big game we know those Beginnings frontwards and backwards… we celebrate with understanding and knowledge, that’s what we do! Creation is cheered by great faith and by scientific study! But as the stadium fills mingled here and there throughout the crowd is yet another group, and they don’t buy special stuff either in fact they may not even have comfortable clothes on! They paint themselves blue and red, yellow and green all the colors of spring and nature. They lead the chants they beat the drums they got it going on! They are the Pagans! And we need them at the big game every bit as much as the other two groups. ** **When the stadium is full, the sound is intoxicating! Each of us cheering in our own way, each of us sure of the rightness of it all, each of us sure of the rightness of it all… And while our cheers are different we are all cheering for the same team.** **As a Pagan, but more importantly as Jeremiah, the cheer you hear from me goes like this:** ** ** ** ** **In the time before time, She was… ** **In the darkness and void…** **She became aware of being alone…** **She screamed…** **Her voice traveled faster and became breath…** **Pushed out deeper against darkness…** **Her voice traveled faster and became fire** **Pushed out deeper against the void…** **Her voice traveled faster and became water…** **Pushed out deeper into the last of the void** **Her voice took form and became Mother Earth** **Our voice travels faster and returns to Her** **The Circle of creation is complete!** ** ** ** ** **That’s my cheer, every time Pagans come together and a circle is cast we tell the creation story. The same questions we all ask. For and when it comes to the really big cosmic level questions we are all asking the same ones? I am reminded of a line from one of my most favorite movies “Joe versus the volcano”. Joe floating out in the middle of the ocean on top of his luggage, lost at sea, weak, dehydrated really having a bad day. And then moon comes up. Full and huge, magnificent, Joe struggles to his feet and raises his arm high above his head and says: “I forgot how big you are, I forgot” and then sinks to his knees. ** **Sometimes we do forget, we are so busy collecting our stuff, making sure we have all the right gear, double checking our stats, or going sunwise three times three with candle and stone, we do forget.** **And so here we are today, on this Spring day, not any closer, to any answers. But I invite all of us to take perhaps this one truth home today. And that is this, that every Spring day is the first day of creation… and while complete understanding of the power of creation may elude us… we can ****together****, always celebrate Springs creation! ** ** ** ** ** ** **

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1 Sahil Badruddin = ""Navroz is a Persian word, meaning new day of the year. The Arabs pronounced it as Niruz or Nairuz. The Sogdians called it Nau-Sard (the new year), and also is called Nishat Afroz Jashan in Iran. It is a spring festival, beginning with the first day of the Persian solar year, corresponding to the vernal equinox and the entry of the sun into the sign of Aries, and continued until the 6th day of the month. The last day was known as the Great New Year's Day (al-Niruz al-Akbar)." Source: http://ismaili.net/heritage/node/10667"
2 Korin Robinson = "Beltane is the second principal Celtic festival (the other being Samhain)At Beltane the Pleiades star cluster rises just before sunrise on the morning horizon, whereas winter (Samhain) begins when the Pleiades rises at sunset. The Pleiades is a cluster of seven closely placed stars, the seven sisters, in the constellation of Taurus, near his shoulder. When looking for the Pleiades with the naked eye, remember it looks like a tiny dipper-shaped pattern of six moderately bright stars (the seventh can be seen on very dark nights) in the constellation of Taurus. It stands very low in the east-northeast sky for just a few minutes before sunrise.Beltane, and its counterpart Samhain, divide the year into its two primary seasons, winter (Dark Part) and summer (Light Part). As Samhain is about honoring Death, Beltane, its counter part, is about honoring Life. It is the time when the sun is fully released from his bondage of winter and able to rule over summer and life once again.Beltane, like Samhain, is a time of "no time" when the veils between the two worlds are at their thinnest. No time is when the two worlds intermingle and unite and the magic abounds! It is the time when the Faeries return from their winter respite, carefree and full of faery mischief and faery delight. On the night before Beltane, in times past, folks would place rowan branches at their windows and doors for protection, many otherworldly occurrences could transpire during this time of "no time". Traditionally on the Isle of Man, the youngest member of the family gathers primroses on the eve before Beltane and throws the flowers at the door of the home for protection. In Ireland it is believed that food left over from May Eve must not be eaten, but rather buried or left as an offering to the faery instead. Much like the tradition of leaving of whatever is not harvested from the fields on Samhain, food on the time of no time is treated with great care.When the veils are so thin it is an extremely magical time, it is said that the Queen of the Faeries rides out on her white horse. Roving about on Beltane eve She will try to entice people away to the Faeryland. Legend has it that if you sit beneath a tree on Beltane night, you may see the Faery Queen or hear the sound of Her horse's bells as She rides through the night. Legend says if you hide your face, She will pass you by but if you look at Her, She may choose you..Beltane has been an auspicious time throughout Celtic lore, it is said that the Tuatha de Danaan landed in north-west Connacht on Beltane. The Tuatha de Danaan, it is said, came from the North through the air in a mist to Ireland. After the invasion by the Milesians, the Tuatha faded into the Otherworld, the Sidhe, Tir na nOg.The beginning of summer heralds an important time, for the winter is a difficult journey and weariness and disheartenment set in, personally one is tired down to the soul. In times past the food stocks were low; variety was a distant memory. The drab non-color of winter's end perfectly represents the dullness and fatigue that permeates on so many levels to this day. We need Beltane, as the earth needs the sun, for our very Spirit cries out for the renewal of summer jubilation.Beltane marks that the winter's journey has passed and summer has begun, it is a festival of rapturous gaiety as it joyfully heralds the arrival of summer in her full garb. Beltane, however, is still a precarious time, the crops are still very young and tender, susceptible to frost and blight. As was the way of ancient thought, the Wheel would not turn without human intervention. People did everything in their power to encourage the growth of the Sun and His light, for the Earth will not produce without the warm love of the strong Sun. Fires, celebration and rituals were an important part of the Beltane festivities, as to insure that the warmth of the Sun's light would promote the fecundity of the earth.Beltane marks the passage into the growing season, the immediate rousing of the earth from her gently awakening slumber, a time when the pleasures of the earth and self are fully awakened. It signals a time when the bounty of the earth will once again be had. May is a time when flowers bloom, trees are green and life has again returned from the barren landscape of winter, to the hope of bountiful harvests, not too far away, and the lighthearted bliss that only summer can bring.Beltane translated means "fire of Bel" or "bright fire" - the "bale-fire". (English - bale; Anglo-Saxon bael; Lithuanian baltas (white)) Bel (Bel, Bile, Beli, Belinus, Belenos) is the known as the bright and shinning one, a Celtic Sun God. Beli is the father, protector, and the husband of the Mother Goddess."