Sunday, October 15, 2017

Words from the Pulpit, Oct 15, 2017

The Road Ahead or The Road Behind by George Joseph Moriarty
Sometimes I think the Fates must
Grin as we denounce and insist
The only reason we can’t win
Is the Fates themselves that miss
Yet there lives on an ancient claim
We win or lose within ourselves.
The shining trophies on our shelves
Can never win tomorrow’s game. [but]
You and I know deeper down
There’s always a chance to win the crown
But when we fail to give our best
We simply haven’t met the test
Of giving all, and saving none
Until the game is really won
Of showing what is meant by grit
Of fighting on when others quit
Of playing through, not letting up
It’s bearing down that wins the cup
Of taking it and taking more
Until we gain the winning score
Of dreaming there’s a goal ahead
Of hoping when our dreams are dead
Of praying when our hopes have fled
Yet losing, not afraid to fall
If bravely, we have given all
For who can ask more of a man
Than giving all within his span
Giving all, it seems to me
Is not so far from victory
And so the Fates are seldom wrong
No matter how they twist and wind
It is you and I who make our fates
We open up or close the gates
On the road ahead or the road behind

John Wooden, UCLA Basketball coach, described success not as winning but, he said,


Quiet Time/Meditation/Prayer
 Fond Words by Andrew M Hill

Hard words will break no bones:
But more than bones are broken
By the inescapable stones
Of fond words left unspoken.

So, let us in the quiet of our minds speak fond words:
for those to whom we are close and who are close to us;
for those whose presence is now a memory;
for fond friends and helpful neighbors;

And let us in the quiet of our minds speak fond words for those we too often forget:
for those who are struggling with poverty, with tyranny, or with disasters
for those who seek work, a home, or better health
for those who are discriminated against because of who they are.

And let us in the quiet of our minds try speaking fond words for those for whom we find it difficult to speak fond words:
for those who we never see but on whom we depend
for those who irritate us because they are only doing their job
for those with whom we are out of sorts

And let us in the quiet of our minds just hope that someone else is speaking fond words:
for those who we love to hate
for those who we cannot love and who are unlovely to us
for those who we have forgotten.

Hard words will break no bones:
But more than bones are broken
By the inescapable stones
Of fond words left unspoken.

Reading: Ysabel Duron
For this reading, I would like to share the story of one of the many Purpose Prize winners. The purpose prize was founded in 2005 by Marc Freedman, CEO of Since that time, the Purpose Prize has generated nearly 10,000 nominations and produced more than 500 winners and fellows. Marika and Howard Stone became Purpose Prize fellows early in the program. In 2016, the program transitioned to a new home at AARP. The AARP Purpose Prize™ award honors extraordinary individuals who use their life experience to make a better future for all. These are extraordinary stewards who make a difference in the lives of others

One of the Purpose Prize winners is journalist and cancer survivor Ysabel Duron. In 1999, Ysabel Duron’s gynecologist discovered a golf ball-sized cancerous tumor in her pelvic region. The diagnosis: Hodgkin lymphoma. She is an inspirational cancer survivor.

After she recovered, she was haunted by how few other Latinos she had seen receiving treatment. Questions about how, and where, Spanish-speaking cancer victims got help plagued her. She had survived. But how many did not?

In September 2003 she founded Latinas Contra Cancer (Latinas Against Cancer), an organization committed to educating, supporting, and providing essential services to low-income Spanish speakers suffering from the disease.

The call to action answered by Ysabel Duron has had an impact far beyond the Bay Area where she lives. Her passionate commitment is helping Latino communities across the U.S. gain access to cancer support, information, and treatment about cancer. Duron’s game-changing networking, partnerships, and legislative advocacy have been the hallmark of an encore career with significant social impact.

The social need is great. Cancer is now the leading cause of Latino deaths in the U.S., killing one in five, a rate higher than heart disease. And for Duron, framing the message of cancer prevention and helping organize social and psychological support for those most in need has become her mission.
I don’t have time to share her entire story today but here is her message:
“I knew I had a responsibility to represent this community of color, that I had to operate with integrity and shine a light. All the challenges kept preparing me to stand up for something.” To stand up for something.

Duron is now committed to reshaping federal policy, law, and funding. An advocate for extending the Affordable Care Act to cover more immigrants, Duron believes “everyone deserves the best treatment they can get when they’re ill.”

After her own experience fighting, surviving and “putting a human face on the big C,” Duron’s great empathy for cancer patients has made her absolutely clear on her bigger purpose in the second stage of her life. “I was meant to do this — to be a voice for an underserved, underrepresented population without a voice.”

Ysabel Duron exemplifies what it means to stand for something.



Adapted from words by Tom Schade
There is a power at work in the universe.
It works through human hands,
but it was not made by human hands.

It is a creative, sustaining, and transforming power and we can trust that power with our lives and with our ministries.
It will sustain us whenever we take a stand on the side of love;
whenever we take a stand for peace and justice;
whenever we take a risk.
Trust in that power.
We are, together, held by that power.
May we stand for what we believe in.
May we seek thrive-ability for our environment, our Congregation, and for ourselves; moving from surviving to thriving.
May we never shirk our responsibilities to ourselves and the universe
May we strive to be, not so much the best in the world but, the best for the world.
May it be so.

Words spoken by Paul Ward from the 1stUUPB pulpit on Oct 15, 2017. (His sermon follows.)

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