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Memorial Observance for Vern Barnet

Few may know the hour and the manner of one’s death.
For decades I have encouraged others to provide their loved ones
with their wishes for their obsequies in some detail.
My doing so publicly may serve as a reminder,
though perhaps not as a model since my own wishes
are shaped by a fairly unusual interfaith career.


FORMATS 
2017 May Draft 2 PDF
2017 May Draft 2 PUB

CLOSING HYMN
CMD. (8686.8686) The Hymnal 1982 (Episcopal) #692 Tallis, The Third Tune

The sacred is this place and hour
for holiness is here
within the universal heart
and every eye and ear
as we awake in faith and grace
and find ourselves in all;
expanse of time each moment brings,
the infinite in small.

Each death is but a spreading light,
a journey's star made swift
from cosmic start that made the world,
transforming void to gift.
Each change becomes a dwelling place
yet still we travel long
remaining as we pray and move
and find ourselves in song.

--Vern Barnet
Notes and Instructions PDF
(names omitted)

Interfaith Waters
 




text below frame


 
 


Kansas City headquarters 
a global water non-profit: 
http://water.org/

Water —
A Kansas City Interfaith Symbol

Water, used for its spiritual significance in many faiths, has become a symbol of interfaith cooperation here, drawing on our “City of Fountains” designation. (Kansas City is said to have more fountains than any city in the world except Rome.)
     For years I have been collecting water, from my journeys and from friends as they travel. Into a jar I have poured water drawn from the Rhine, Seine, Tiber, Danube, Nile, Jordan, Thames, Mekong, Amazon, Ganges, St Lawrence, Yangtze, Volga, Colorado, Mississippi, Missouri, Euphrates, Kaw, the Bosporus, the Sea of Japan, and many other rivers, lakes, puddles, and such around the world. This collection has been the basis of the waters described below.

In 2001, at Kansas City’s first interfaith conference, “The Gifts of Pluralism,” water was collected from 14 area fountains — from Independence to Lenexa — and 14 representatives of different faiths poured the waters together to emphasize that our many faiths make one community. These were added to the collection of waters of the world noted above, just as folks from around the world have come to Kansas City and blessed us with their traditions. 
     When the 250 participants unanimously adopted a Concluding Declaration, and came forward to sign it, each person received a vial to dip into the mingled waters to take home to pour on something to grow, as a reminder of the growth we experienced by mingling with one another. This added meaning to the logo for the “Gifts of Pluralism” conference.

On the morning of September 11, 2002, members of many faiths gathered for an observance on the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks by pouring waters from their own religious centers into the pool at Ilus Davis Park, between City Hall and the Federal Justice Center, to represent the tears we have offered for those who have suffered because of the violence, and for all who have been injured in any way. CBS-TV showed a portion of the ceremony in a nation-wide broadcast.
     The waters thus joined were taken to Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral where the city’s central observance was held that evening. There each Council member accepted a portion of the mingled water to take to each respective religious community.
     It was said, “Peoples of many faiths were killed by the terrorists. Tears are an honorable part of our response to the horrors. In our common grief, we are united. But now it is time to transform the water of tears into waters of purification, renewal and refreshment. Holy waters can extinguish the fires of hatred, wash away our self-righteousness, and well up as healing fountains of the heart.”
     The waters were also taken to sites around the metro area for use in other interfaith services that evening. For example, St Mark’s Catholic Church liturgist Susan Walker, with her interfaith ritual team, used the water to speak the best of America at the Community of Christ Auditorium.
     The fountain on the rostrum was silent until Independence Mayor Ron Stewart and Raytown Mayor Sue Frank received buckets of water being passed the entire length of the north aisle, hand to hand, by more than 50 uniformed police officers, fire fighters, emergency medical personnel and others. As the fountain filled, the water began speaking, circulating and spilling from an upper basin to the larger lower pool.
     With the physical act of handing off buckets, the brigade volunteers became members of each other, and those who were witnesses gazed deeper into the best of humanity, and found comfort and consolation.
     Something as ordinary as water, transformed by the intentions of those of many faiths in ritual reminder, can speak to us as words cannot. A simple action like handing a bucket of water to another person, deepening community, helped us face a tragedy that is unspeakable.
     In observing the tenth anniversary of 9/11, Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral used the mingled waters to recognize our shared humanity and the sacred in every faith.
     Water as an interfaith symbol speaks of cleansing, renewal, rebirth, and refreshment. But it also recalls the countless people who found ways to respond to the tragedy, including the emergency workers. (It evokes memories of frontier America: if the barn caught fire, the entire community came out, formed a bucket brigade from the nearest water source, and did their part to put out the fire.)

The waters have also been part of interfaith explorations of students. For several years, high school students gathered at the Kauffman Foundation for a day of encountering students from other schools and other faiths. American Indians, Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Muslims, FreeThinkers, and others have brought water collected from their institutions to share with the others, and taken a vial of the mingled waters home with them as a reminder of the shared experience of growth.
     One more example, an important one, a national one. In 2007 Kansas City hosted the nation’s first Interfaith Academies, with international scholars and students. As they assembled here to learn about doing interfaith work, they brought water. And each also brought a rock.
     Ceremonially, one by one, they poured their water into the 3-gallon clear glass jar, dropped their rocks into it and voiced their hopes as the Interfaith Academies began. At the end of the fortnight, the participants retrieved a rock someone else had brought, washed but undiluted by the mingled waters gathered from previous KC interfaith events and from the waters each of them brought here, and celebrated the gifts of learning from one another and from the spiritual richness of Kansas City, to take home, and beyond.

Jews may bathe in a mikvah, Christians practice baptism, Muslims observe ablutions, the Shinto tradition includes misoge —  almost every faith has some way of using water to develop a sense of transcendent reality. While the different ways the various faiths use water should not be confused, water is a natural symbol of the spirit in interfaith settings. Without water, we die.
     About misoge —At the Tsubaki Grand Shrine in Mie Prefecture some years ago, I came to understand what encountering kami might be like. After dressing in a white loincloth and headband, clapping and bowing, some physical exercises, and a drink of sake with salt, I was placed under a waterfall so strong that I felt I merged with the stream, itself considered kami. My skin vibrated as much as the water, it seemed. This ritual cleansing aims to restore the union of kami and human.
     The rush of the water and the loss of my sense of personal identity in its flow helped me understand why sometimes kami is considered more a verb than a noun. The divine is not so much a being as a process. Kami is less a way of saying that there are gods and more an affirmation that the universe is “god-ing,” like water flowing onward, outward, inward. 

—VERN BARNET ON HOLY WATER 


Some Favorite Water Quotations

Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. . . . I am haunted by waters. —Norman Maclean, A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT

You could not step twice into the same river; for other waters are ever flowing on to you. —Heraclitus

And he showed me a river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God . . . . —Revelation 22:1-2

How do you preserve a drop of water? Throw it back into the ocean. —the Buddha

The best is like water. Water is good; it benefits all things and does not compete with them. It dwells in [lowly] places that all disdain. This is why it is so near to Tao. —Lao-tzu 

The fall of dropping water wears away the stone. —Lucretius

Even foul water will quench fire. —British proverb
 

Global water concerns 
headquartered in Kansas City: 
http://water.org/

Water — A Kansas City Interfaith Symbol

Water, used for its spiritual significance in many faiths, has become a symbol of interfaith cooperation here, drawing on our “City of Fountains” designation. (Kansas City is said to have more fountains than any city in the world except Rome.)
     For years I have been collecting water, from my journeys and from friends as they travel. Into a jar I have poured water drawn from the Rhine, Seine, Tiber, Danube, Nile, Jordan, Thames, Mekong, Amazon, Ganges, St Lawrence, Yangtze, Volga, Colorado, Mississippi, Missouri, Euphrates, Kaw, the Bosporus, the Sea of Japan, and many other rivers, lakes, puddles, and such around the world. This collection has been the basis of the waters described below.

In 2001, at Kansas City’s first interfaith conference, “The Gifts of Pluralism,” water was collected from 14 area fountains — from Independence to Lenexa — and 14 representatives of different faiths poured the waters together to emphasize that our many faiths make one community. These were added to the collection of waters of the world noted above, just as folks from around the world have come to Kansas City and blessed us with their traditions.
     When the 250 participants unanimously adopted a Concluding Declaration, and came forward to sign it, each person received a vial to dip into the mingled waters to take home to pour on something to grow, as a reminder of the growth we experienced by mingling with one another. This added meaning to the logo for the “Gifts of Pluralism” conference.

On the morning of September 11, 2002, members of many faiths gathered for an observance on the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks by pouring waters from their own religious centers into the pool at Ilus Davis Park, between City Hall and the Federal Justice Center, to represent the tears we have offered for those who have suffered because of the violence, and for all who have been injured in any way. CBS-TV showed a portion of the ceremony in a nation-wide broadcast.
     The waters thus joined were taken to Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral where the city’s central observance was held that evening. There each Council member accepted a portion of the mingled water to take to each respective religious community.
     It was said, “Peoples of many faiths were killed by the terrorists. Tears are an honorable part of our response to the horrors. In our common grief, we are united. But now it is time to transform the water of tears into waters of purification, renewal and refreshment. Holy waters can extinguish the fires of hatred, wash away our self-righteousness, and well up as healing fountains of the heart.”
     The waters were also taken to sites around the metro area for use in other interfaith services that evening. For example, St Mark’s Catholic Church liturgist Susan Walker, with her interfaith ritual team, used the water to speak the best of America at the Community of Christ Auditorium.
     The fountain on the rostrum was silent until Independence Mayor Ron Stewart and Raytown Mayor Sue Frank received buckets of water being passed the entire length of the north aisle, hand to hand, by more than 50 uniformed police officers, fire fighters, emergency medical personnel and others. As the fountain filled, the water began speaking, circulating and spilling from an upper basin to the larger lower pool.
     With the physical act of handing off buckets, the brigade volunteers became members of each other, and those who were witnesses gazed deeper into the best of humanity, and found comfort and consolation.
     Something as ordinary as water, transformed by the intentions of those of many  faiths in ritual reminder, can speak to us as words cannot. A simple action like handing a bucket of water to another person, deepening community, helped us face a tragedy that is unspeakable.
     In observing the tenth anniversary of 9/11, Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral used the mingled waters to recognize our shared humanity and the sacred in every faith.
     Water as an interfaith symbol speaks of cleansing, renewal, rebirth, and refreshment. But it also recalls the countless people who found ways to respond to the tragedy, including the emergency workers. (It evokes memories of frontier America: if the barn caught fire, the entire community came out, formed a bucket brigade from the nearest water source, and did their part to put out the fire.)

The waters have also been part of interfaith explorations of students. For several years, high school students gathered at the Kauffman Foundation for a day of encountering students from other schools and other faiths. American Indians, Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Muslims, FreeThinkers, and others have brought water collected from their institutions to share with the others, and taken a vial of the mingled waters home with them as a reminder of the shared experience of growth.
     One more example, an important one, a national one. In 2007 Kansas City hosted the nation’s first Interfaith Academies, with international scholars and students. As they assembled here to learn about doing interfaith work, they brought water. And each also brought a rock.
     Ceremonially, one by one, they poured their water into the 3-gallon clear glass jar, dropped their rocks into it and voiced their hopes as the Interfaith Academies began. At the end of the fortnight, the participants retrieved a rock someone else had brought, washed but undiluted by the mingled waters gathered from previous KC interfaith events and from the waters each of them brought here, and celebrated the gifts of learning from one another and from the spiritual richness of Kansas City, to take home, and beyond.

Jews may bathe in a mikvah, Christians practice baptism, Muslims observe ablutions, the Shinto tradition includes misoge —  almost every faith has some way of using water to develop a sense of transcendent reality. While the different ways the various faiths use water should not be confused, water is a natural symbol of the spirit in interfaith settings. Without water, we die.
     About misoge —At the Tsubaki Grand Shrine in Mie Prefecture some years ago, I came to understand what encountering kami might be like. After dressing in a white loincloth and headband, clapping and bowing, some physical exercises, and a drink of sake with salt, I was placed under a waterfall so strong that I felt I merged with the stream, itself considered kami. My skin vibrated as much as the water, it seemed. This ritual cleansing aims to restore the union of kami and human.
     The rush of the water and the loss of my sense of personal identity in its flow helped me understand why sometimes kami is considered more a verb than a noun. The divine is not so much a being as a process. Kami is less a way of saying that there are gods and more an affirmation that the universe is “god-ing,” like water flowing onward, outward, inward.
                                         —VERN BARNET ON HOLY WATER
 

Some Favorite Water Quotations

Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. . . . I am haunted by waters. —Norman Maclean, A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT

You could not step twice into the same river; for other waters are ever flowing on to you. —Heraclitus

And he showed me a river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God . . . . —Revelation 22:1-2

How do you preserve a drop of water? Throw it back into the ocean. —the Buddha

The best is like water. Water is good; it benefits all things and does not compete with them. It dwells in [lowly] places that all disdain. This is why it is so near to Tao. —Lao-tzu

The fall of dropping water wears away the stone. —Lucretius

Even foul water will quench fire. —British proverb