This blog all began with a sermon on the subject ‘Embracing Failure’ at my father’s church, the Northshore Unitarian Universalist Church in Danvers, Massachusetts. Shortly after that Sunday, I got so much feedback and ideas from people that listened, that I decided to explore the topic in greater depth setting up my own web blog here specifically dedicated to the subject (later I extended it to ‘Leadership and Management’). That was 5 years ago and there is still no shortage of insights, illustrations and inspirations in this topic.
So when word went out that the church our family now attends, Rosslyn Hill Unitarian Chapel, was looking for volunteers to help out with services during the interim period transitioning between ministers, I offered to step up to the pulpit once again. At first I thought that I might do a reprise of the sermon I gave 5 years ago, but on reflection I decided to take a fresh, new look at the topic.
My first piece, ‘Embracing Failure’ really looked at what we can bring to failure. I looked at how Forgiveness, Learning and Persistence allow us to refine the silver linings from the clouds of adversity. This time I took a look at what failure can bring to us. I had plenty of possibilities to choose from, many of which I have touched on in previous postings, but I chose two of my favourites – Humility and Creativity.
One of the hymns I chose for the service was “Every Night and Every Morn” which sets Blake’s poem “Auguries of Innocence” about fortune and misfortune in life to Ralph Vaughn Williams music and includes my favourite line sumptuously apropos…
Joy and woe are woven fine,
A clothing for the soul divine.
Under every grief and pine
Runs a joy with silken twine.
I also had the delight of sharing the pulpit with my wife Lori who sang La Boheme’s ‘Donde Lieta’ (about humbly accepting the failure of a relationship without bad feelings or regrets), and my daughter Isley who reprised ‘The Race’ and read two of her own poems – ‘Short Doubt’ (about fear of failure going to university) and ‘The Typewriter’ (about the charms of creating on a dilapidated typewriter). The complete sermon and Isley’s poems are available here.