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Ouroboros Worship Service (March, 28, 2012)

This is the detailed order of service for a worship service I created for NOVO, the contemplative worship series I created with Pastor Steven Sinclair.

This order of service is available here as an Adobe Acrobat file (will open in a new tab or window).



Instrumental Music

Invocation/Chalice Lighting

Chant – “Gather Us In”

Reading by Rumi
If we are not together in the heart, what’s the point?
When body and soul are not dancing,
There is no pleasure in colorful clothing
Why have cooking pans when there is no food in the house?
Is this world full of fresh bread, amber and musk,
So many different fragrances,
What are they to someone with no sense of smell?
If you stay away from fire,
You will remain sour, doughy, numb, and raw.
You may have lovely, just-baked loaves around you,
But those friends cannot help.
YOU have to feel the oven’s fire.


Reading by Rumi
Look at love
How it tangles with the one fallen love
Look at spirit how it fuses with earth
Giving it new life
Why are you so busy
With this or that or good or bad
Pay attention to how things blend
Why talk about all
The know and the unknown
See how the unknown merges into the known
Why think separately
Of this life and the next
When one is born from the last
Look at your heart and tongue
One feels but deaf and dumb
The other speaks in words and signs
Look at water and fire
Earth and win
Enemies and friends all at once
The wolf and the lamb
The lion and the deer
Far away yet together
Look at the unity of this
Spring and winter
Manifest in the equinox
You too must mingle my friends
Since the earth and the sky
Are mingled just for you and me
Be like sugarcane
Sweet yet silent
Don’t get mixed up with bitter words
My beloved grows right out of my heart
How much more union can there be?



Some you may have noticed that I wear this pendant almost every day. It’s an ouroboros…the image of snake eating its tail. It’s a very old symbol found in many cultures and countries … India, Eygpt, Mexico…it’s been found on nearly every continent. Sometimes it’s a snake, sometimes a dragon.

The ouroboros is a symbol of life’s perpetual cycle of life, death, and rebirth. I wear it to remind myself that creation and destruction exist in balance. To remind myself that I must let go of things in order to make room for new growth. I love it so much that I’m actually considering getting it tattooed on my inner arm. I haven’t quite worked up the courage yet.

But I’ve been overlooking something about that symbol… something quite obvious and quite revelatory. The serpent is simultaneously being devoured and created. The same act—eating—is destroying it AND nourishing it.

Huh! THAT’s got me thinking and wondering about what is it that is consuming me and simultaneously creating me. And the simple answer is…everything.

The car I drive … it makes it possible for me to travel to my office and my church where I connect, work , worship, and seek to build my community… But it is a machine that devours resources and spews destruction upon my Mother, the earth.

The food I eat … it makes it possible for me to live and appreciate the abundance and generosity of this planet … But its production often endangers the web of creation that I call kin.

The relationships with my family … they are the reason for my birth, for my love of music, for my love of Spirit, for my sense of humor and biting sarcasm … But they are also where I learned to swallow anger and isolate myself when I’m in pain.

My relationship to this church community … this place has been a source of joy, a hub of longtime friendships, a blessing to my children, and a center for music-making and spiritual growth … but it’s also sometimes been a tedious and uncivil battleground that tears at my heart.

All these things and more … they nourish me and help me nourish the world.

All these things and more… they destroy me and they destroy the fabric of my world.

This awareness is power. It helps me think critically about the choices I make for myself, for the earth and for my communities … as I surf the space between to find right living and right relations.

But mostly, I am trying to hear the wisdom of Rumi in all this. To see how these apparent opposites are fused together … to not be “so busy with this or that or good or bad.” I’m trying to pay attention to how things blend and how things can be friends and enemies at once. I’m trying to pause in the space between … that rest between outbreath and inbreath.

And I’m trying to remember that the magic of the beautiful baked loaf of bread is first in the mingling of unrelated ingredients followed by heat of the oven. May we remember that it is in the heat of our comingling that we must be consumed. It is in the heat of our comingling that we must be created.





© 2012 by Pam Blevins Hinkle