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Once again we meet as we leave one week and face another; we come here because we identify with one another, and our meaning of the world within us is projected into the world without - because we see the void and recognise it and fill it to recreate value again. The recreation starts here in this communal fellowship, for we always live in this social world.
Let us throw away the week's skin of falseness and put on a new coat for the next, let us recreate a world of colour and fun, of pleasure and hope, and know that these are possible even when the rough times return and are with us. For it is upto us to be sincere, brave and resolute - if possible.
Not only we ourselves face life, but so do all others. Let us think in silence of those we know - our colleagues, friends and family - and how we may be when we meet them again.
Some silence follows.
Let us now stand ahead of time and see us as we are and may be so that we may live life now in greater inner harmony.
As babies we began from our mothers' body into a dependence on parental love, a love that saw our future and nursed our first days and weeks so that we could be established as new life for the world.
As children we had the chance of the fun of life, the freedom and protection to enjoy without most worries. Even those moments of woe had their silver lining within the cradle of the family. The parents gave discipline and care for future growth, and we were fascinated by friends.
As youths we saw the pangs of self-expression with only inklings of any responsibility, and we set off in adventures of discovery of comrades and lovers of the sexes. We took to learning and early career with those who could teach us new skills and learnt life along with our peers.
In meeting a partner we found deep companionship for future life and sowed the seeds of new life. We were propelled to our partner by ways mysterious and deepened the relationship in the mystery of love.
In the maturing of life the perils and rewards of decisions came to us, in our deepest relationships, with our friends and in the work that became ours.
In retirement we look to a further fresh experience of activity, when interests can happen to the full on the earnings of previous effort. Learning and doing become a pleasure, and idleness can be put to one side whilst rest is always available.
In death comes the quiet sleep that brings all to an end, but what a legacy is left! Much has been given and done. Children carry on through their stages of life and see the product of what we have done.
And so we can say, from where we really are, a Yes to Life!
Praised be the fathomless universe for life, whose gifts outrun our farthest fancies; for love, sweet love; for all things beautiful; for wisdom, work and wit.
Every child that wakes with a smile and laughs with the dawn;
Every young soul, ardent and high, rushing forth into life»s hot fight;
Every worker who works as may do and takes the reward;
Every thinker who strikes with voice or with pen for the triumph of right;
Every home of happy content, lit by the mystical light of love;
All these know that life is good; all these with a constant mind read the legend of time with a light in their eyes, and that which they read is "Rejoice"!
Exult and rejoice, O my soul! Rejoice and be sure! Be at peace with thyself and at peace with the Infinite All.
(Non-sexist; Youlden, H. (1914), Manual of Ethical Devotion, Liverpool: Committee of the Liverpool Ethical Church, 69-70)
From the Guru Granth Sahib 61
That person [having achieved salvation] who in the midst of grief is free from grieving.
And free from fear and sense of joy and considers gold as dust,
Who is neither a back-biter nor a flatterer nor has greed, attachment and vanity.
Who is unaffected by good or ill fortune and is mdifferent to praise and blame.
Who discards desire and longing, accepting his lot in disinterested manner.
Who is undisturbed by lust or wrath in such a man God dwells.
The person on whom the Guru bestows His grace understands the [Guru's] way of right living.
His soul, O Nanak. is merged in the Lord as water is mingled with water.
Mansukhani, G. S. (1994), Hymns from the Guru Granth Sahib, New Delhi: Hemkunt Press, 143.