Tag Archives: religious service

7/12/2015 Service, Hephaestus

Altar: Hammer and anvil front center, UU Chalice center, god and goddess candles left and right center, Lunation deity jar candle and Aphrodite jar candle left and right rear.

Music intro: Devo, Working in a Coal Mine

Standard church welcome

Quarters

Earth: We dig the ores from the ground that are refined into the metals we use at the forge

Air: Blow inspiration through our minds as you fan the flames of the forge.

Fire: The power of transformation made physical in the forge.

Water: Quench and harden our works as they come from the forge.

Chalice: The stability of the earth, the inspiration of air, the transformation of fire, the emotions of water, all combined with the spark of spirit. Join with me as we read our affirmation. (read affirmation from the wall poster)

God candle: Welcome Hephaestus, from whom we draw inspirations and instruction for today’s service in your honor.

Goddess candle: Welcome Ghisallo, who guards us and guides us on our travels.

Lunation candle: Welcome Zeus as we learn from you this lunation. You whose very thunderbolts are created in Hephaestus’ forge know well the value of a good smith.

Aphrodite candle: Welcome our patroness for the year, and wife of Hephaestus, Aphrodite, whose marriage proves that love does not require possession, nor a leash, but merely the thought in the heart of those who love you. Let us take your love with us as we learn today.

Greetings and welcome again to the July 12th service at SJF UU. Today’s service is on Hephaestus, the greek god of the forge and one of my personal deities.

First a little about Heph. Heph is the son of Zeus and Hera, but unlike his brothers and sisters came out looking like five miles of bad road. We are talking a baby that even his mother couldn’t love he was so ugly, so they grabbed him by the leg and threw him from the heavens to the earth, which besides not doing anything to improve his looks caused him to have a lame and withered leg. Naturally this did nothing to dispose him towards the rest of the Olympian gods, and after residing on the earth for a while as he grew up he created a golden throne for Hera with invisible bindings. When Hera sat upon this throne (because it was very beautiful and very finely crafted) she was unable to rise from it. After determining that this was Heph’s work and only he could release Hera the other gods came and begged him to release his mother, to which Heph replied, “I have no mother.” Harsh, but to be honest if your mom had ordered that you be cast out of the house and it was done in such a way as to cripple you forever, would you be kind to her? anyway after Dionysus got him drunk and dragged Heph and his tools back to Olympus where they built him a palace with a workshop, he cut Hera loose from the throne. This was not to be his last temper tantrum, but that is a tale for another sermon.

“Hephaestus crafted much of the magnificent equipment of the gods, and almost any finely-wrought metalwork imbued with powers that appears in Greek myth is said to have been forged by Hephaestus. He designed Hermes’ winged helmet and sandals, the Aegis breastplate, Aphrodite’s famed girdle, Agamemnon’s staff of office, Achilles’ armor, Heracles’ bronze clappers, Helios’ chariot, the shoulder of Pelops, and Eros’ bow and arrows. In later accounts, Hephaestus worked with the help of the chthonic Cyclopes—among them his assistants in the forge, Brontes, Steropes and Pyracmon.” And that is a direct quote from Wikipedia.

But as fine as all the works of Hephaestus are there is something they all share and something we can all lend. All of them started as… an idea.

Yes, before the first fire was lighted in his forge to heat the metal, he first had the spark of an idea in his mind, blown alight by the breath of inspiration. And that is something we can all do, is create an idea.

One of the followers of Hephaestus greatest rules is to make things that help other people, because if you make something that isn’t any help to anyone, have you really made anything aside from a lump to look at? So today, we are going to make an idea of something to help the church. What can be built that would help the people of the church both now and in the future? This idea will be presented to the Facilities committee this evening as something the congregation thinks would be a good thing to do.

[15 minute brainstorming session]

Write down the idea agreed upon to present to the Facilities committee. or if more than one idea was awesome, present all the awesome ideas to the committee.

In place of cakes and ale, present each person with a nail, and do this story.

Before man had nails all he had was wooden pegs to hold things together. Since each peg had to be carved by hand to fit the holes made in whatever they were building, this took a while and things were built slowly as a result. The someone discovered that you could drive a heavy piece of wire into wood and it would stay in there and hold things together better than hand-carved pegs in drilled holes, and things could be made much faster because nails could be made much more quickly than carving wooden pegs and could be made ahead of time instead of stopping and carving the pegs after drilling the holes and finding out how big the pegs needed to be. While people built things with nails other people could make nails without ever needing to know what kind of thing was being built. I give this to you so that you can carry the idea with you that you don’t have to know the whole of a thing to make an awesome part of it.

Closing song: Anvil Chorus ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3x-pwJGsgU )

Dismissal: Water, fire, air, and earth, you have all contributed to this service, and we thank you for that. Go now in peace with our gratitude.

Lunation (Zeus): Mighty Zeus, hurler of thunderbolts crafted by Hephaestus and ruler of the gods of Olympus, we thank you for your presence and lessons you may have taught us while you were her. Go now in peace.

Aphrodite: You are the boss’s wife and we thank you for your presence in our circle today and for whatever lessons you may have left with us today. Go now in peace.

Ghisallo: You who protect travellers and who was so revered by your followers that your shrines continued to be built and honored even as another god ruled your lands, we thank you for your presence and any lessons you may have left while you were here. Go now in peace.

Hephaestus: You were the boilerplate for the unfairly dismissed family member, and the inspiration for hundred if not thousands of stories and inventions. We thank you for your inspiration in our service today. Go now in peace.

Chalice: We extinguish this flame, but not the warmth of community, the light of truth, or the spark of commitment. These we hold in our heart until we meet again. Merry meet, to merry part, to merry meet again.

Pass basket and do announcements.

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The case of the missing boots on a Wreck-Free Sunday

Tonight’s evening service was in honor of the Veritan archetype Trickster, and the archetype was definitely in play. One of the female congregants took her boots off because her feet were hurting, and because this is a normal behaviour for my church. The person sitting behind her moved her boots to a hidden location, then another person moved them while the first person was looking away, somewhere along the way the house ghosts got in on the act and the location of the boots was lost to everyone for a while, then they were found (but not by the owner). Finally the boots were placed in the passenger seat of the owner’s ride home, which I was not able to witness… And which I will relate next week after I hear the results.

Something else I have been watching on the idiot box this weekend was the Long Beach round of Formula E. While I’m heavily biased towards liking this kind of contest, I’m conflicted. One thing was there were two drivers that had to switch to their second car way early and even though the race was very short neither was able to finish, even with substantially reducing speed and acceleration from the rest of the cars. The race was over a distance of only about 80 km which is only 50 miles +/-, and they did not use the full Long Beach street course with the long curving “straights” and two tight hairpin turns, which they said on the pre-race were judged to be too harsh a test of the battery system because of the high speed of the straight. That was what triggered me, race cars that couldn’t race at top speed are not race cars. I think the culprit is a combination of the controller and the battery that just sucks the energy out of the system.

And this has been a long day, so I’m packing up and going to bed.

PSA, Opus

Happy 50% off chocolate day, on a Wreck-Free Sunday

Today and tomorrow are the days that are usually the best for getting cheap chocolate candy, most of the grocery stores in my area have hacked prices by half or more. Just stay outta my way. I WILL run you over.

The RPG group did not have a good night last night, as we lost two players to personality issues. My warlock could not hit the broad side of a barn with his eldrich blast, I had a bad case of bad dice. My perception and listen checks came out great, I could see and hear all kinds of things that the rest missed. So it averaged out. Also I finally had a chance to use my “you ain’t dead” cantrip spell, twice. Of course had I been able to hit my targets better that would not have been necessary.

I did the service this morning, as some of you may have surmised from the post from last Saturday entitled “Sermon”. I had some technical difficulties with my laptop in that while I could expand my active screen to both the laptop screen to the HD TV we have on one wall, and get audio out through the HDMI cable, I could not get the videos to play on the TV while leaving my sermon up on the laptop screen. They would not drag over to the TV and nothing I did would cause anything I had open on the laptop screen to move to the TV. The workaround was to mirror the display on both screens, have the remote for the TV at the podium with the lap top, and switch the TV off when I had to read the sermon and back on when I had a video to show. The problem with that was I could not read the sermon while the video was showing so I had to read stuff before that I was supposed to read during.

Now I have to get my head together for a sermon due the end of next month, for April Fools’ Day. My previous services on that day have varied in quality between legendary and Stoopid. My Banishing Chaos services tended towards the Stoopid, but some of my embracing chaos services tended to the legendary. The one where I used children to call the elements as Yakko, Wakko, and Dot Warner with one of the mothers in the church to be Hellooo! Nurse was one of the more legendary services I have performed. And the Meditation that turned into a game of Dodgeball also falls under that legendary tending to Stoopid or perhaps Legendarily Stoopid. So I have a high hurdle to surmount of my own creation.

I leave you with this link to a very pleasant video of people bicycling during a steady snowfall. What it Feels Like in Winter Cycling Paradise See, it can be done with the right equipment. Notice that most of those bikes were equipped with studded tires for getting traction on ice.

PSA, Opus

What a party, and the Feed

Actually that should be “what parties”, because there were two of them this weekend. OK so “party” is less accurate than “extremely exuberant religious service”, but what is the difference between “strictly enforced theme party” and “religious service”? And the Sumerians know how to party with their deities, masculine and feminine. They have a service that celebrates the divine gift of making beer by consuming lots of beer in service, fer cryin’ out loud. The White Elephant exchange was a bit of a madhouse, and the present I thought was going to be fought over didn’t go until the last round and hardly anyone got to see it. The gift I got was a deck of meditations to shuffle through for relaxation purposes, and the other person that went with me from the house got a trio of wrought iron candlestands.

The next service/party was the Veritan service with good food and no booze, but still lots of fun. And yes, we have two groups that do services at SJF for us. The “bread” for the Veritan Yule service was made with cranberries and nuts, and there was mulled cider for the cup. Add in a bunch of seasonal songs sung by the congregation and you have another religious service that feels like a party. And it was a party in a manner of speaking, we were celebrating the return of the sun from its descent into darkness. We moderns understand that the change in the seasons is caused by the 23½° tilt of the Earth’s axis and the sun will return regardless of what we humans do or don’t do. But our ancestors thought the seasons were caused by the interference of gods with the travels of the sun since they made the sun move across the skies anyway, why not make the sun go higher or lower at a whim? So those whims must be appeased to bring the sun back from wherever the gods took it. That’s what makes Winter Solstice services so vital to most European peoples, from their perspective lives were on the line if they didn’t get it right. Nowadays we just see it as a reason to party because, “Hey Party!” but back then they were celebrating continued survival of the planet, so more like “Thank the Gods, Let’s Party!”

Up first is a story I got through several links. Remember that Volvo story I had yesterday about the phone app? There is more to the story. Volvo To Introduce A Cyclist Anti-Collision Warning System and ‘World’s first’ smart bike helmet alerts drivers and cyclists, aims to reduce accidents And again I’ll say, what if you don’t have a compatible mobile phone? You’re basically screwed.

Second big story is from Oz. From mosque to memorial: Sydney cyclists’ tribute ride and Sydney cyclists hold commemorative bike ride for Martin Place siege victims Yes, cyclists can have human sympathy with people that are not cyclists. But you guys knew that already.

Trying to make a difference in the infrastructure in Houston. Pedal forward Seriously they need to get the laws and the attitudes changed to make cycling in TX safe without spending about a billion dollars on infrastructure. And then they need to go ahead and spend that billion dollars because even those laws and attitudes are not going to make people feel safe riding a bike on the roads with multi-ton killing machines inches away from fragile bodies. You can ask Dave Hembrow about “subjective safety” .

NYC still refuses to see the elephant in the room. NYPD: 1,295 Pedestrians and Cyclists Injured, 14 Killed in Traffic in November How many of those were killed or injured by bicycles? Zero killed and an unknown (but low) number injured that are not included in this report. But in spite of this information they are still dedicating way too much time and manpower to writing tickets to cyclists. And they still don’t investigate all the wrecks. NYPD Still Doesn’t Investigate All Fatal Traffic Crashes

And not far from NYC (just across the river) car people take away the only safe bike infrastructure in the entire city of Newark. Newark Mayor Ras Baraka to Rip Out City’s First Protected Bike Lane Right, they tore out the bike lane because people couldn’t park illegally. Who does a guy have to kill to get and keep bicycle infrastructure?

The SF cyclist killed by a truck turning right across her lane had earbuds in her possession at the time of the wreck. Cyclist Killed In 2013 SoMa Collision With Truck Being Blamed For Wearing Earbuds No evidence she was wearing the earbuds when the truck turned across her lane and into her, but there was a lot of video evidence the truck turned and ran the vehicle in the next lane over killing the operator.

Still in the SF area of CA, it is hard to ride a bike you no longer have. BART + Bike East Bay Theft Prevention Program This is a lesson I have learned first hand.

Still in CA, the woman who deliberately rammed a LEO on duty as a bicycle cop was out of jail less than 4 hours after she was sentenced. Woman who rammed sheriff’s officer released after serving half of jail sentence She somehow managed to get credit for time served after she violated her probation and was put back in jail. As I pointed out in the BikingInLA post that mentioned this story assaulting an officer goes right out the window when the officer is riding a bicycle.

Speaking of BikingInLA, here’s today’s Daily Ted. Morning Links: CicLAvia sued over Wilshire hit-and-run; LaBonge keeps Glendale-Hyperion Bridge dangerous

Infrastructure! news from America’s Amsterdam. The Life and Times of Clinton Street’s Guerrilla Diverters Nothing like a little DIY documentation of DIY infrastructure.

Still in Portland, the only city with a full-time unicycling bagpiper with flaming bagpipes. Unicyling Darth Vader Santa Claus Plays Flaming Bagpipes at Night There should be a program that pays people to ride unicycles playing flaming bagpipes in every major city…

And my daughter’s new home town alerts cyclists that it’s dark out and drivers can’t be expected to actively watch out for them. Five things you need to know today Edinburgh!

And those were all the links I could find that didn’t give me flashbacks to wrecks.

Billed @€0.02, Opus the unkillable badass Poet