Emergence and Resurrection

Sam and Paula Guarnaccia were our visiting speakers, musicians, and readers. Sam is a composer and wrote the music for this mostly music service. Wendell Berry, Joanna Macy, Mary Evelyn Tucker, Brian Swimme, Bill McKibben and poet Rainer Maria Rilke gave permission to use their writings in creating the Emergent Universe Oratorio. Paintings by Cameron Davis and Kate Gridley were on the wall.

Emergence and Resurrection

Awakening to the Super-Natural

We are beings in whom the universe shivers in wonder at itself;

the space where Earth dreams…

   ~Brian Thomas Swimme, Mary Evelyn Tucker

Pre-service Music          Lo the Earth Awakes Again                Kate Gridley

Prelude       The Angel Rolled the Stone Away

                              American Negro Spiritual Arr. By Peter Amidon

CVUUS Choir, Lucy Tenenbaum, Dir.

Welcome and Pathways to Connection                       Becky Strum

Chalice Lighting

Through LIFE –

Earth awakened to itself and the Universe.

Emerging – ‘through a glorious sequence of transformations,’

From the Flaring Forth – to galaxies – to stars – to Living Earth,

Infinitely interdependent – because…

“Nothing is itself without everything else.”

“The universe is holding its breath –

Waiting for us to take our place.”

*Hymn                                             Spirit of Life                              

Music          Fragile Gold by Sam Guarnaccia        Poem by Robert Frost

 Connie Leach, soloist   Sam Guarnaccia, guitar

Today’s Music              An Introduction   by  Sam Guarnaccia

Call to Worship        The Great Flaring Forth, Recitative # 1      

                            Sam Guarnaccia, Tim Guiles, piano

Reading: Life’s Emergence, Recitative # 3 Sam Guarnaccia, Tim Guiles

Lament  Cascade        Narrated by Sophie Mason and Elyse Singh; Carol Harden, viola. Music by Sam Guarnaccia

Recitative # 7 Emerging Earth Community  Sam Guarnaccia, Tim Guiles

REFLECTION           Emergence and Resurrection      Paula Guarnaccia

Recitative # 8       Transformation        Sam Guarnaccia, Tim Guiles

Closing hymn   O’er Every Living Thing

Composed by Sam Guarnaccia. Texts from Teilhard de Chardin and St. Ignatius Loyola. Tim Guiles on piano, Amy Mason on flute, CVUUS Choir

Postlude                             Awakening    The Emergent Oratorio Chorus

Composed by Sam Guarnaccia. Texts by Brian Thomas Swimme, Mary Evelyn Tucker


Recitative # 1

The Great Flaring Forth

In the great silence—before space or time—

A trembling—a singularity of infinite potential—

The first stirring of our shimmering Universe.

In that fertile darkness grew

An unimaginable attraction—

An unbounded possibility—

That the Universe would burst into brilliance,

Flaring forth with inconceivable power.

Impelled by cosmic fire—

An ecstasy of elementary particles and light—

In a micro-instant

The fireball would inflate—Expanding space

As gravity waves shaped the contours

Of the emerging cosmos.

So would begin a journey into magnificence,

The blossoming of our universe,

A single, multi-form energy event,

Ever evolving in beauty and complexity.

Enfolded in the chaos of primordial particles would be

The impulse of matter to bond,

Igniting the promise

Of atoms and galaxies,

Suns and planets, oceans, rivers,

Trees, butterflies, and songs of love.

In the great silence—

The Universe poised—in exquisite—anticipation—


Awaiting the first breath—



The Great Radiance unfurled—

The story of a living Universe

Bringing forth all that we know,

Birthing all that we are and ever shall be.

Asking of us now—

How shall we move into this Mystery?

How may we know and live this story?

                                                          How shall we know and love this Earth?

                         -Peter Adair, with Caitlin Adair, Sam and Paula Guarnaccia

Recitative # 3                                                                   

Life’s Emergence

Across the broad field of space—

The planets—suspended on the

Outstretched arms of our spiral galaxy.

One planet – a fertile mix of

Churning oceans, roiling magma,

And charged atmosphere—

Breathes into being

Single-celled organisms

to become a Living Earth.

Over three billion years ago

The first fragile membrane formed

Separating the cell from its surroundings,

Becoming the first locus of perception, choice, sensation—

Determining what was nourishing, what was safe,

What was to remain.

Within its DNA, life remembered, encoding

Successes, rejecting failures—

Evolving patterns of adaptation and reproduction—

Intertwining spirals of memory mirrored in the unfolding fern,

The spider web, the Nautilus, the snail—

A patient, probing, innovative wisdom,

A single expanding responsiveness.

As these primeval cells

Spread throughout the Earth—

Some bacteria turned toward the Sun,

Their source of warmth and light,

Inaugurating the miracle of photosynthesis—

Sunlight becoming food for the planet.

Preparing the way for

algae, fungi, mosses,

Slime molds, sporophytes, the slithering fishes,

Frogs, turtles, lizards,

Every species of bird

Stretching their bright wings across the sky—

And the skinny shrew,

Small, warm blooded, among

The first of the beautiful mammals.

From the astounding creativity

of the great super-kingdoms Archaea and Bacteria,

Cells engulfed and merged with each other,

Bringing forth Eukarya, a new form of life

powered by oxygen,

Inventing the protective nucleus,

Co-evolving within a single cell

of staggering complexity.


Through LIFE—

Earth awakened to itself and the Universe.

Emerging—‘through a glorious sequence of transformations,’

From the Flaring Forth—to galaxies—to stars—to Living Earth,

Infinitely interdependent—because…

“Nothing is itself without everything else”.

-Peter Adair, with Caitlin Adair , Sam Guarnaccia


Recitative # 7

Emerging Earth Community

This is our moment—

“The Universe is holding its breath

Waiting for us to take our place.”

Revolutionary discoveries have led us

to an astounding breadth of knowledge—

a phenomenal awareness—

Calling us to responsibility

Reaffirming what we already knew…

What we do to Earth, we do to ourselves!

Perhaps our destiny is

To journey into the depths of things —

To drink so deeply of the powers

Of this living universe,

That we recognize

The profound dimensions of

Our radical mutuality—

And learn the languages of mountains,

of rivers, of trees,

the languages of the birds,

all the animals and insects—

and the languages of the stars.’-

The great new understanding is this:

Our universe — a single,

irreversible, sequential, celebratory event—

Is not simply a place,

But a story in which we are immersed,

To which we belong

And out of which we arose.

We — live — our — lives — forward — into — mystery—

Within the Community of EARTH—

A “magnificent  diversity…

in the coherence of an unparalleled unity”—

where the biosphere and human culture

Are not only emergent

But radically and ceaselessly and astonishingly creative.


How can we find a way to sink into these immensities?

How can we embrace this intimate and

ineffable journey into grandeur?

Cameron Davis, Paula Guarnaccia and Sam Guarnaccia


Recitative # 8


Something of wonder is happening—

We are awakening!!—

to a renewed awe in the presence of mystery—

in the presence of what is.

‘Like the ocean

with its power to pour through boundaries’—

We are capable of ‘a profound intimacy of relationship…’

with the winds, sea, land—

-all the unnumbered forms of life in the great community of Earth

‘Something radically new’ has emerged—

“the capacity to experience the world” through another—


Infused with Empathy—moved by Compassion—

Living within “an undivided wholeness”—

‘a unified, glorious outpouring of being’.

“For just as the Milky Way

Is the universe in the form of a galaxy

And an orchid is the universe

In the form of a flower,

­We are the universe

In the form of a human.

And every time we are drawn to look up into the night sky

Reflecting on the awesome beauty —

We are actually the universe

Reflecting on itself.

And knowing this—changes—everything!!”

Cameron Davis and Sam Guarnaccia

 O’er Every Living Thing

This all embracing host,

This bread our toil,

This wine our pain.

The whole Earth is my altar,

The world our house, our liberty.

The Earth awakes and trembles.

Radiant Word, blazing Power,

Lord Make Us One. This One.

O’er every living thing, Which is to come, to grow, to flower.

Say “This is my body, This is my blood,”

My memory.

The Earth awakes and trembles.

Radiant Word, Blazing power.

May We Be One.



“We are beings

In whom the universe

Shivers in wonder at itself —

The space where earth dreams.”

Brian Thomas Swimme, Mary Evelyn Tucker

Composer:  Sam Guarnaccia

Primary Librettists: Peter Adair, with Caitlin Adair

With contributions from: Cameron Davis, John Elder,

Sam Guarnaccia and Paula Guarnaccia

Inspired by Journey of the Universe by Brian Thomas Swimme and

Mary Evelyn Tucker


Sam Guarnaccia is a composer, performer, scholar, and founder/ director of Sam Guarnaccia Music (SGM) www.samguarnaccia.com.  A classical guitarist, he studied privately at the Royal Conservatory of Madrid, the North Carolina School of the Arts, and received a Master of Fine Arts from the California Institute of the Arts. He created, and for ten years taught and directed the guitar program of the University of Denver’s renowned Lamont School of Music. His cycle of nine peace songs has been incorporated into a children’s peace education curriculum. His Celtic Mass for Peace, Songs for the Earth, a collaboration with Celtic Spirituality scholar, writer, and teacher, John Philip Newell, has been performed all over the United States, Iona and Edinburgh, Scotland, and was featured in a major Peace celebration on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 on September 11, 2011, in New York and in Vermont.  His most recent major work, the Emergent Universe Oratorio, first performed in Shelburne, Vermont in 2013, had its world premiere with full orchestration in Cleveland, June 30, 2017.

Paula Guarnaccia is a creative partner and collaborator for the Emergent Universe Oratorio Project with her husband, Sam Guarnaccia. Her strong administrative expertise provides organizational backing as well as creative guidance for the intellectual and emotional threads that weave through the EUO Project.

Tim Guiles, an accomplished pianist, has collaborated with composer Sam Guarnaccia to write the piano score for both the Emergent Universe Oratorio and the Celtic Mass for Peace. An ardent environmentalist and peace advocate, Tim has a lifetime of experience implementing environmental initiatives. In addition to his experience in musical theater, his engineering and software design background have enabled him to develop many innovative ideas and approaches for living more sustainably. For over twenty years he lived in and built tiny houses in rural Vermont. He now lives in Brandon, Vermont where he is developing a pilot project for a Basic Universal Income for the town.

Cameron Davis is a Senior Lecturer, and Environmental Humanities Fellow at the UVM where she teaches Painting, Drawing, Perspectives on Making, and courses exploring the intersection of Art, Perception & Ecology. Davis is a member of the international ecoartnetwork.org.