For the past few weeks in my sermons at Unity Church, I have been meditating on parts of our weekly unison affirmation. This past Sunday I spoke to the kids about the phrase “so that we and our children may be fulfilled.” First I asked what it means to be “fulfilled.” They came up with answers like being happy, joyful, sharing, giving and whole. We have great kids at Unity Church. We agreed it means all of those things, plus feeling like you are being all you can be.

For the past few weeks in my sermons at Unity Church, I have been meditating on parts of our weekly unison affirmation. This past Sunday I spoke to the kids about the phrase “so that we and our children may be fulfilled.” First I asked what it means to be “fulfilled.” They came up with answers like being happy, joyful, sharing, giving and whole. We have great kids at Unity Church. We agreed it means all of those things, plus feeling like you are being all you can be.


Then I asked if every person, of every age, finds fulfillment in the same way. I kind of expected them to say “no,” but the wise children of our congregation said “yes.” How? Well, we worked our way through the affirmation, asking what it tells us about how to make a church where everyone feels like they are being all they can be.


We started with the words “we pledge,” which the kids said means to promise something. We talked about how making promises and keeping them helps us be fulfilled because it helps us become better people. When other people make promises to us, that helps us feel safe and that leads to fulfillment as well.


The whole first phrase is, “We pledge to walk together in the ways of truth and affection.” To be honest, I kind of lost the kids here because of preaching to them rather than talking with them. Our affirmation tells us we find fulfillment by speaking the truth as we see it. However, it’s not enough just to walk around saying what we think is true, because our ways have to be both true and affectionate. If we want everyone to be fulfilled, then everyone needs to speak his or her truth in loving ways.


The next phrase is, “As best we know them now or may learn them in days to come.” We learn better truths by listening with an open mind, and are willing to change our ideas. I asked the kids if they had ever tried to say something when the other person was not really listening. Yes, they had. “So was that fulfilling?” No, it was not.


Then I asked if they had ever had somebody really listen to them, and maybe even change their ideas because of what they said. The kids said yes, and that this was fulfilling. Indeed! So fulfillment means not just speaking our truths in loving ways, it also means listening to one another with open minds and kind hearts.


Our affirmation concludes, “That we and our children may be fulfilled, and that we make speak to the world in words and actions of peace and goodwill.”


The last piece of wisdom in our covenant is that when we keep speaking truth in love, listening in friendship, learning and growing together, we fill up with feelings of peace and goodwill that spill over into our community. For instance, the food drive the kids are doing for the local pantry is an action of peace and goodwill.


Taking the good we build here together and sharing it with others in our town and neighborhoods is really fulfilling. It fulfills the promise we each carry inside us and the promise our church gives us. We agreed that this is a wonderful thing to do. To underscore this message, we had a very Unitarian ritual called the Flower Communion.


Norbert Capek created this ritual for his Czechoslovakian Unitarian church during the Nazi occupation. He used it to symbolize the rich gifts people brought there, and the rich gifts they took away. Each person brings a flower to create a big display, then during the service each person comes up and chooses a different flower to take home.


For the meditation after our Flower Communion this past Sunday I started with from the poem, “I Tell You” by Susan Glassmeyer. In one part, she talks about days when there are too many flowers for the vases to hold. You know those days —- when things come together just as you thought they were falling apart.


These are the days when people treat each other gently and reverently even when someone is snarky, even if it is you. They are days when you can take criticism with a grain of salt, but receive praise and positive feedback with a thankful, open hand.


These are the days when exactly the right thought word or action occurs to you at exactly the right moment, and you think it, or say it, or do it — then witness something opening up inside you, or in another person, or in the garden spaces between you, so that compassion flows in and floundering relationships flourish.


These are the days when new people come into your life, and you watch them unfolding, blooming into treasures you can hold forever in your heart. They are the days when illness does not diminish those we love, and death does not defeat those who loved the deceased. These are the days when people take the lead of adversity and, in the alchemical places of their hearts, transform that lead into the gold of wisdom, courage, strength, and kindness.


Days of too many flowers are the days when we come together in our beloved church and share the heartbreaking difficulty and the heartbreaking joy of this life. They are the days when we watch each other and our children unfold and bloom into our full potential, including service to one another and the larger world.


May this be a day of too many flowers for all of us. In the coming weeks and months, may such days grow in number and frequency. May we find fulfillment in the hours of our working, and our resting, of our going out and our coming in. May we rejoice in the abundance of days of too many flowers.


The Rev. Tess Baumberger, PhD, is minister at Unity Church of North Easton, Mass. For more information and links to this and other Unitarian Universalist churches, please visit www.uua.org. She can be reached at easton@cnc.com.