Water Ceremony

Laine Young
September 10, 2017
First UU Church of Austin
4700 Grover Ave., Austin, TX 78756

We bring water to share from a place that is meaningful to us. Into this ritual we bring our love, hope, and courageous faith, and through it we seek to renew our covenantal commitments with one another. We remind ourselves of the church home we share.

Call to Worship
by Barbara J Pescan

For the beauty of the earth, this spinning blue green ball, yes! Gaia, mother of everything, we walk gently across your back to come together again in this place to remember how we can live, to remember who we are, to create how we will be. 


Water Makes Its Mark
By Matt Alspaugh

A glass of tea sweats a circle of droplets on an old table
Drying, they pull dirt and stain from the wood, leaving a ring
Water makes its mark

Deep in the earth, in a cave, a drop falls each minute
Where it lands, a great pillar of white rock has grown up
Water makes its mark

On the surface above, a stream burbles and flows
carving out potholes in the granite of its bed
Water makes its mark

Along a highway cut, a geologist points out the layers of tan slate
each penny-thin sheet,
the memory of a torrential rainstorm eons ago
Water makes its mark

In its network of veins, the blood-
-salty like-the sea water- from-which -we -sprang
flows on in cycles, giving life
Water makes its mark

The dark clouds pass on, yielding no rain
Crops wither, and drought comes
Famine, migration, violence, and death soon follow
Water makes its mark

A space probe turns its camera toward whence it came
Imaging one solitary pixel of light
Its color the pale blue of oceans
Water makes its mark

A solitary tear slides down the cheek
A tear of abiding joy,
a tear of unending grief
We see, and share the depth of feeling at its true core
Water makes its mark


When I started thinking about today’s service, I thought, “What better way to start today’s water communion than with a Story For All Ages! I am a religious educator, after all” Once I had this realization I knew the perfect story. I’ve told it here before, although not in a while. It is one of my kiddo’s favorite stories, so it is told more frequently around our house.

Since it is Water Communion, today’s story is about a drop of water.

Once upon a time there was a drop of water named Higgins. Higgins was no ordinary drop of water. He was a drop with a dream. Higgins lived in a valley where it had not rained in a very long time, so all the lovely green grass was turning brown, all the beautiful flowers were wilting, and all the trees were starting to droop.

Higgins had a dream that one day the valley would be a beautiful place again. But what could he do? After all, he was only a drop of water.

One day Higgins decided to travel and tell others about his dream. All the other drops listened very politely, but no one believed that his dream would come true. “Higgins,” said one, “get your head out of the clouds. You can’t spend your whole life dreaming.”

Higgins decided that he had to do something to make his dream come true. So he began to think and think and think. One day, as he was walking by a rusty old bucket, he got an idea.

“If enough of us drops of water got together in this bucket,” Higgins thought, If there would be enough water to sprinkle on a few flowers to help them grow and become beautiful again!”

Eagerly, Higgins told everyone his great idea. But everyone thought he was being foolish. “That Higgins is nothing but a dreamer,” they said.

Higgins decided he had to do something to convince the others that he was right. So he said to them, “I don’t know about you, but I’m getting into the bucket! I hope some of you will join me. Then there might be enough water to help at least some flowers grow beautiful again.”

So Higgins ran as hard as he could, hopped way up in the air, and landed with a kerplunk in the bottom of the bucket.

And there he sat … JUST A DROP IN THE BUCKET.

For a long time Higgins was very lonely. It seemed like no one else was going to join him. But after awhile some of the other drops could see that the grass was dying and the flowers were wilting and the trees were drooping. They all agreed that something must be done.

Suddenly, one drop shouted, “I’m going in the bucket with Higgins!” And he leaped through the air and landed- kerplunk -in the bucket.

Then two other drops yelled, “Wait for us!” And they hopped through the air and landed in the bucket. Then ten drops jumped through the air into the bucket. Then thirty. Then fifty! And then hundreds of drops came from all around just to hop in the bucket!

Soon, the bucket was completely full of water. But there were still more drops that wanted to join, so they found another bucket and hopped in. Before long, there were two buckets of water-then three-then four-then ten-and then hundreds-and then thousands of buckets of water!

Along came a powerful breeze that blew over all the buckets, and all the water flowed together to make a mighty stream. Everywhere the water flowed, the grass turned green again and the flowers bloomed and the trees stood tall and straight once more.

All this happened because Higgins had a dream and his dream came true. Because he knew that although he was just a drop in the bucket, enough buckets with the wind behind them, then justice will roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

How many of you have felt like Higgins before? Sometimes it can seem like we are all alone and that our dreams of a just and loving world will never become reality. This has never been more true than in our current political and environmental climate, where we may feel like only a drop in the bucket compared to the many crises affecting our world today.

But then we find a community like First UU Church of Austin that shows us that we are not alone on our journey. Every year as we come back from whatever we have done over the summer we gather in community to remember that together we can do more than we could ever do alone. We celebrate our reunion each year in a ritual we call water communion.

Into this ritual we bring our love, hope, and courageous faith, and through it we seek to renew our covenantal commitments with one another. We remind ourselves of the church home we share, a home that we come back to, a home we welcome all to make their own, a home of love, hope, and faith.

We gather this morning carrying reminders of our summer. The water we share may call to mind light summer showers, thunderstorms, dewy mornings, or misty evenings. Or it may remind us of moments at ocean sides, poolsides, riversides, lakesides, or even our own backyard. Perhaps we found ourselves in the presence of water during a moment of sadness or joy. As we blend our waters together, we reflect upon what we did in these places and moments.

And now, we will begin our Water Communion. Remembering that the sounds of children are part of the silence, please come forward and add the water you have carried with you silently and reverently.

Blending Waters

May our gathering together this morning be a blessing for one and all. May it inspire us to make this coming year a year of hope, love, and courageous faith. And may we walk in the full awareness – as often as possible – of the blessed ties that bind each of us together in community. Amen.


It starts with a drop, Then a trickle …
A burble, a rush of water, bubbling toward its destination;
And finally the wide, endless sea.
All rivers run to the sea.
Today you brought water
Poured it into a common bowl.
Though our experiences have differed,
These waters mingle, signifying our common humanity.
Today you came
And shared in this sacred community.
May you depart this sacred space,
Hearts filled with hope for new beginnings;
A fresh start.
Go forth, but return to this community,
Where rivers of tears may be shed l
Where dry souls are watered,
Where your joy bubbles,
Where your life cup overflows,
Where deep in your spirit you have found in this place a home.
All rivers run to the sea.

Blessed be.

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Most sermons delivered at the First UU Church of Austin during the past 17 years are available online through this website. You will find links to them in the right sidebar menu labeled Sermons. The Indexes link leads to tables of all sermons for each year listed by date (newest to oldest) with topic and speaker. Click on the topic to go to a sermon.