Not Knowing, But Wondering

Mystery stories are a top genre at the bookstore and the library. We love them, as long as they aren’t our stories. For ourselves, in our own lives, we often want to know what’s coming and know we are prepared for it. This week, we will explore ways to sit with uncertainty and take care of our fear. Through mindfulness, we can become okay with not knowing whether we will be okay. We can even discover joy.

Mary Hillebrand has been studying and practicing mindfulness and meditation in the Plum Village tradition of Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh since 2001. She has practiced with mindfulness communities, called “sanghas,” in Washington, DC, and Madison, Wisconsin, and has attended retreats with the Zen master. Formerly a magazine editor and writer, Hillebrand is now a teacher in therapeutic settings for teenagers and adults. She has recently published the book, Tears Become Rain: Stories of Transformation and Healing Inspired by Thích Nhât Hạnh, with co-editor Jeanine Cogan. Learn more at

  • The Share the Plate recipient for Sunday 12/3/2023 and 12/10/2023 is Four Lakes Welcome Corps. Welcome Corps is a federal program which empowers everyday Americans to welcome refugees arriving through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. Four Lakes Welcome Corps (the Madison area chapter) is a group of neighbors and friends working together to welcome refugees seeking freedom and safety. The group was nominated by Kelly Kearns. 

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Order of Service

  • Gathering Song  “Come, Come, Whoever You Are” #188
  • Welcome
  • Prelude  “What Comes Next,” David Lauth
  • Call to Worship
  • Lighting the Chalice and Musical Response
  • Shared Music “El botón es flor mañana,” verse 1, #59 (purple hymnal)
  • Time for All Ages “The Farmer’s Luck,” a Zen Folk Tale
  • Shared Music  “Just As Long As I Have Breath,” #6 (gray hymnal)
  • Wisdom from the World’s Traditions Excerpts from “Tears Become Rain,” edited by Jeanine Cogan and Mary Hillebrand
  • Reflection
  • Offering  “Let It Be,” by John Lennon and Paul McCartney 
  • Joys and Sorrows
  • Shared Music  “My Life Flows On in Endless Song,” #108 (gray hymnal)
  • Extinguishing the Chalice and Benediction