Easter Day

Apr. 17th, 2017 12:13 am
lillibet: (Default)
Lately, Sundays have become especially busy. If I only have two or three events on my calendar for a Sunday, that's a pretty easy-going day--sometimes there are five. Perhaps because of that, today felt only moderately busy.

I was surprised to find, as Easter approached, that I was thinking of my mother more than usual. It felt so strange to be planning for the day without figuring out how to include her. Perhaps it's because for her it was still a very religious holiday, or just because I have so many memories, so many pictures of us all gathered in the sunshine in our Sunday best, with her tucked between her giant girls.

This year I actually wondered if we had to celebrate Easter as a family. And then I thought sure, keeping the tradition of getting the family together a few times a year is no bad thing. I wondered if I might turn to my sisters and ask what plan they might come up with that didn't involve my house, or me cooking. And I thought about hiring a chef, which I've done a few times, or going to a restaurant. But in the end I decided that I did want to cook and to gather family and friends around the table.

The day started early, getting to First Parish by 8am so we would have time to eat breakfast there and practice our skit before the choir gathered at 8:30. Jo and I were performing a piece based on The Yellow Tutu, with narration by our fabulous DRE and some mean-girl assistance from members of the choir. It was short and sweet and involved the indelible image of the two of us dancing in front of the congregation wearing tutus on our heads.

Our minister had asked us to wear silly hats and I'd decided to get this blue fascinator, which was an utter hoot to wear. The adult and children's choirs collaborated on "Easter Bonnet" and we sang lots of joyful hymns. We also did a responsive reading that I found really moving, adapted from a sermon by Nadia Bolz-Weber:

Some Modern Beatitudes )

During her invocation for communion, Marta also gave us a chance to speak the names of the dead who were in our thoughts today and I was so grateful for the chance to say my mother's name, to invoke the presence that has been hovering over me this week.

Alice had a grand time in the Easter Egg Hunt--her first year in the graveyard with the big kids. We stayed for the first part of the second service, in which Alice was one of the readers, while Jason and I reprised our performances, and then snuck out. The car said it was 82F as we pulled out and I was dreading turning on the oven for dinner. But while I took a nap, Jason turned on the AC and it was actually pleasant inside throughout the day. Alice found her Easter basket and seemed to enjoy the various treats and toys I'd included in it.

While Jason de-cluttered and got the dining room set for dinner, I roasted the lamb that had been marinating since yesterday, on top of potatoes, onions, mushrooms and garlic, which I seved with a very tasty demi-glace. I made way too many deviled eggs, with the help of Lisa, Paulo, and George at various points. Beckie & Neil brought the traditional too-much-nosh (shrimps and cheeses and summer sausage and pate and olives, oh my!). Anne & G. brought Greek-style braised green beans and I made a chopped Greek salad and heated up some Hawaiian rolls that miraculously survived several months in the freezer to be wonderfully soft and tasty. Dave and Jo collaborated to decorate the spiced carrot chiffon cake I had made yesterday with honey-cream cheese ice cream and pecans. By the time Hatem got out of work and could join us, we were just about ready to put it all on the table.

The food was reasonably good (not the best I've ever managed, but no one complained) and it seemed like an especially good group of people and conversations. Jo and Beckie helped enormously with the clean-up and by the time everyone had left around 5:30, another half hour got the kitchen to a state where I felt I could leave it. So I took another short nap, rising in time to be awake when the Mourning Becomes Electra arrived for a line-thru of the whole show.

I was able to do the whole thing without my script, though I did get confused and have to call "line" a couple of times. I felt pretty good about it and most other people are also in pretty good shape. This is going to be a really powerful show and there are a lot of dark moments, but we had fun together and it was really nice to be in a room with most of the cast, since that hasn't happened much yet. Jason got Alice to bed during one of the stretches when he's not on stage, but I was able to pop up and kiss her goodnight.

The cast and crew took off and after a break, it was time to finish up the kitchen and get the garbage, recycling, and compost to the curb. And now, I think I can say that I am well and truly done. I'm very excited that Alice doesn't have school in the morning.
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On Sunday morning I attended services at First Parish, as usual. The sermon was given by Aisha Ansano, a young woman of color who is a member of our congregation, as well as a staff member working with our Youth Group, and also a candidate we're sponsoring for ordination as a minister. Her sermon was excellent: it shared some of her personal history, her excitement at discovering Unitarian Universalism, her deep call to the UU ministry...and how hard it is to be a UU of color. She was very honest, though she did pull some punches (talking about "sitting in UU congregations," rather than specifying ours, for example) but also encouraged us to think more deeply about how our race impacts our relationship with our religion. I hope we will hear her voice from our pulpit often.

On Sunday afternoon I attended the CAIR Massachusetts Rally to protest the new Muslim ban and immigration restrictions. I hadn't thought I could go, but then I was reminded that someone else was spending the afternoon with my daughter, so I could go, but having previously passed on joining various friends and groups, and still having fairly tight timing, I went alone. I ran into a couple of people I know coming out of the T and we marched up Boylston together before splitting up, at which point I immediately ran into my next door neighbor (not the one I saw at the Women's March, the one in the other direction) and we chatted for a few moments before I decided to wade deeper into the crowd, where I quickly found an old friend from MIT and stood with him and his daughter until they had to leave. I kept moving slowly, but steadily toward the center, where I could hear the speakers more clearly. I got to be part of the People's Microphone for the first time and was moved by the inspiring words passing through my voice. I especially loved the MC, Rana Abdelhamid, leading us in various chants, but always returning to "What do we do? STAND UP. FIGHT BACK." While friends on the outskirts reported a majority white crowd, there at the center I found myself surrounded by a sea of different shades of people. The sense of connection and community and common purpose was palpable. When the speeches ended I made a beeline for the street and walking toward the bus passed the Boston Marathon Finish Line, site of the bombing, and thought how beautiful it was that we could gather near that fateful marker without fear of each other, strangers though we are in so many ways.

On Sunday evening I attended an Active Bystander Training workshop hosted by Theatre@First and run by Cassie Luna, a young Asian-American representative from the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center. They and their partner, Nate, led eighteen of us in a discussion of ways to intervene in situations of harassment and attack, laying out a framework for thinking about responses, and putting us through some scenarios. It was great to hear so many people's perspectives and ideas and to get more training on appropriate and useful intervention tools. One of the response categories ("Dedicate") involved thinking of ways to make personal and systemic changes to address the culture of sexual violence around us and one of our participants shared that she has made a commitment this year to attend at least six events led by women of color and I suddenly realized that I had attended three that day.

I feel really fortunate that I live where this is possible, pleased that the spaces where I am putting myself are bringing me these opportunities, and grateful to these people for stepping up and speaking out. At a time when so much feels terrifying, I am lifted by their voices, excited to learn from them and to follow where they lead.
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People often ask me about my church and about why I belong to a religious community and regularly attend services there. It's not a very common practice among my friends and there's certainly been enough evil done by organized religions to make people reasonably wary of them. Some of my reasons apply only to my congregation and to my denomination, but others are more widely applicable. Proselytizing is pretty uncomfortable for me, but I figured it would be useful to have my answers gathered in one place. I'm also interested to come back to this post and see how my answers, or the priority they have for me, change over time.

First, a little background. I'm a Unitarian Universalist of relatively recent vintage. My father was a United Church of Christ minister. The two denominations are closely related, both descending from the Pilgrims and splitting in the early part of the 19th century. Most village greens in New England have a big church that is one or the other, depending on who kept the building after the schism. So while the theology of each have changed significantly since the split, there are still many traditions they hold in common, which is probably part of why the UU feels so comfortable to me. Jason was not raised in a church, but when I said that it was something important to me, he agreed to come along and has been surprised by how meaningful it is for him, particularly singing in the choir.

- A Multi-Generational Community - There are very few opportunities in our society to develop relationships across generations. This is one of the things I value from my upbringing--it was very noticeable in college, when people my age would often tell me they just weren't comfortable with children, or old people. I wanted Alice to have that experience and didn't realize how much I had missed it myself. Having women ten-, fifteen-, twenty-, thirty years older than myself as role models has been a wonderful change in my life. And then there are our amazing youth--more than fifty high school kids bring their experiences to our worship and the life of our community and when people complain about kids today, I can honestly say that I look forward to living in the world that they will create. Seeing a path for my daughter to grow up held and challenged by this community is an incredible gift.

- A Focus for Social Justice - Part of our Mission Statement is "to challenge the excesses and injustices of our time." As a congregation we support a wide variety of other organizations within our local community and around the world that I probably never would have known about. There are opportunities to hear from people impacted by the injustices of our society, who are personally struggling with the challenges of our world in ways that never touch my life directly. There are opportunities to learn about issues and calls to action and pointers to ways to live our faith in the world. Yes, I could do most of this on my own, but the truth is that I didn't and probably wouldn't, and that being part of an organization leverages my own efforts in powerful ways. And social justice is the major focus of our program for youth--each year they are led in organizing and fundraising around a particular issue (which they choose) and going on every-other-year service trips (which they research and organize), learning that saving the world requires a lot of work, but that they are capable of learning those skills and making a difference in their own communities and around the world.

- A Support Network - Our congregation fields a team of six Lay Ministers who take on much of the pastoral care of our congregation--visiting people who are in the hospital or shut in by age and illness, listening to people who are going through life's challenges and helping them to find resources, paying attention to who's struggling and could use the attention of our community. They coordinate a Wider Network of Care of over a hundred people who have volunteered to send cards, do errands, provide meals, knit prayer shawls, etc. for those in need. There are also a variety of small groups that provide opportunities for deeper connections within our large community, people who will notice when things get rough, or when someone stops showing up. Many of us have families who can take on this work and many of us have a good community of friends--and I try to do what I can for my friends and members of my other communities, like Theatre@First--but I know what a huge burden crises can be for the one or two people closest and I take a great deal of comfort from knowing that there is a whole community organized to help us, to help my family if I am incapacitated, to help me when I need it. Very few communities are organized around the major changes in our lives and capable of celebrating and supporting us through them from cradle to grave, and being part of one is a source of great reassurance and security for me.

- A Spiritual Home - This is another thing I didn't know that I was missing until I found it. I do think that it's important to figure out what you think about the world, what you believe, what framework you can use to evaluate the events of your life. One of the arguments I gave Jason for attending services was that I wanted give Alice the example that these questions are worthy of at least an hour a week of one's time. What I found is that it is a source of joy to spend that time with other people tackling the same questions, and to learn what other questions different people wrestle with, to be part of a community that isn't afraid to confront serious topics, without taking themselves too seriously. For me, the UU is a great fit--the Seven Principles are all things that I can whole-heartedly embrace, their openness to finding truth from a wide variety of sources fits my own way of thinking, and their focus on Standing on the Side of Love is one of the best filters I have ever found for approaching the world.

First Parish itself is the single best community of people I have ever experienced--I frequently say and am constantly finding that almost every person there is someone I can connect with deeply, if given the opportunity, someone who has their own amazing story and talents to share. Each week I look through the events organized by and for our congregation and realize that if I stopped doing everything else in my life, I could lead a full and fascinating one right there. I don't agree with every perspective offered, I don't resonate with every ritual we perform, and I don't enjoy every activity that we engage in, but I strongly support the variety of voices that we welcome and the freedom we take for ourselves to disagree and to find meaning in wider contexts than any one person can grasp. When I first started attending services, I found myself in tears almost every week, as my heart was broken open and my mind was stretched to wider horizons. Nowadays that's a rarer experience--I think I've adjusted to the radical trust and transformational experience that we strive to achieve--but I can still be surprised by the emotions that well up at the joy of a hymn, the profound resonance of a prayer, the sadness of shared grief, the excitement of shared love. And having a setting where those reactions are valued and welcome, where the point is to challenge us and comfort us, is invaluable to me.
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Each summer our services are led by members and groups from First Parish, while our staff are on vacation. For the service following the two party conventions, Chris DiMeo asked me, Woody Kay, and Lois Fine to weigh in with our thoughts on how our UU faith influences our view of politics. We were asked not to be explicitly partisan and a disclaimer was added to our Welcome & Announcements explaining that while we welcome many voices to our pulpit, the views expressed are those of the speaker, not the congregation as a whole. That's actually going to be repeated each week until November, because the separation of church and state is important to us and there are often opportunities for people to speak whatever is in their hearts. It was an interesting exercise, figuring out how my UU values and my political values intersect. If you'd rather listen than read, or want to hear what the other speakers had to say, here is a link to the recording. This is what I ended up saying:

When I first started coming to First Parish, back in 2010, I attended the New UU class taught by Andrea Winslow and Cindy Kiburz. They taught me a lot—about Unitarian Universalism, about First Parish, about how the seven principles of the UUA can be the foundation of a faith. One of those principles is that we affirm the inherent dignity and worth of every human being.

At some point, we talked about the process that First Parish had gone through in order to become a Welcoming Congregation for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans individuals. I asked if the process had been controversial and she said no, but that it had been a great opportunity for learning within this community. What did you learn, I asked. Cindy said that all her life, LGBT people have been part of every organization she’s been a part of, and she always thought that was fine. What I learned, she told me, is that it’s not fine, it’s better.

I thought a lot about that and it went together in my head with research showing that companies whose boards include women and minorities make objectively better decisions. Having more, different voices at the table isn’t fine, it isn’t just nice for them…it’s better.

Starting before I even came to First Parish, I’ve been working on examining my own privileges and raising my awareness of the racism and other forms of bigotry that are built into our society. As a white woman and a descendant of slave-owners, I know that I have personally benefitted from the labor of black workers while having advantages that their descendants have never enjoyed. I’ve never been turned down for a job, or had my honesty suspected, or feared the law, or had any trouble making my voice heard, simply because of the color of my skin.

Since the murders of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, and Michael Brown, in particular, the Black Lives Matter movement has made me aware of the need to follow—-for white would-be allies to give precedence to the voices and leadership of people of color as we try to join and support their activism around the issues that most severely impact their lives. Current events have brought the work and words of black and other minority voices into greater prominence in my life and while it’s rarely easy reading, it has given me at least the sense that I am paying attention and that is better.

I have read Ta-nehisi Coates’ writing about the idea of reparations, of finding ways to compensate black citizens of our country for the damage that our ancestors inflicted on theirs, for the inequity that we have benefitted from, and the injustice that we have failed to remedy. And I read an intriguing proposal by Theodore R. Johnson, that we give each black voter 5/3 of a vote. I loved this proposal’s echo of one of the most damning compromises in the US Constitution: the decision to count slaves as 3/5 of a person when calculating state population.

Now, I can’t actually imagine this proposal ever being enacted, although I do find it amusing to think of all the people who would suddenly rush to claim African ancestry. But I do like the idea of handing over some of the unequal power that we white people have accrued and continue, all too often, to hoard.

Throughout the primary season, I have been reading posts by a Mexican-American writer named Gabriel Valdez. As state after state voted, Gabriel kept my eyes on how the candidates and their supporters treated black and Hispanic voters: who was actively courting their votes and including their priorities in campaign speeches and policy statements, who was encouraging voter turnout in communities of color, who was supporting the movements started and led by people from those communities—and who was not. These were issues that I had paid only scant attention to in previous election cycles.

And I began to think: maybe I could give them my vote. Now, like any good UU, as soon as I thought that, I began to question it. Wouldn’t that be patronizing? I wouldn’t actually be willing to vote for someone that I couldn’t support for my own reasons, right? And it’s not as if people of color all agree on a single candidate. And isn’t it also important for me to consider other issues—women’s reproductive freedom, for example—that may not align with the priorities of communities of color. And isn’t it awfully convenient that this occurs to me at a point when I think our interests do coincide.

But. But couldn’t it be a starting point for me, as a voter? Back in college I took a course called “Race and Ethnicity in Comparative Politics” by Cynthia Enloe. The main thesis of her class was that whenever we consider a situation, any situation, unless we ask the question “what role do race and ethnicity play” we will not have a real, comprehensive understanding of the situation.

So that’s the commitment that I am making, as a person of faith in the inherent worth and dignity of every human being: to ask, in this election cycle and in all those to come, “what role do race and ethnicity play?” Is there a greater understanding that I can gain by considering how the candidates treat the issues of importance to people of color and how they treat the voters from those communities? What are people of color saying about the candidates and is there a way that I can use my vote to lift up their voices? Because I think that by not only accepting, but amplifying those voices, our whole country will be, not just fine, but better.
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I've written before about the Senior Blessing ritual that we do at First Parish as we send our high school seniors out into the world. That was last week. This week was our Coming of Age service, which is my other favorite service of the year. Our eighth graders spend their last semester of Religious Education working toward identifying what is important to them and then writing a credo, a statement about something they've learned, something they believe.

We welcome them into the service through an "Arch of Love," the entire congregation raising our arms over the center aisle as they process in. This year I happened to be sitting closest to the aisle and got to see the look of wonder on their faces as about three hundred of us greeted them with so much love you could feel it radiating through the room. The kids get to choose their own music and had picked 7 Years by Lukas Graham with its refrain:

Once I was seven years old, my mama told me,
"Go make yourself some friends or you'll be lonely."
Once I was seven years old...


It's a small class this year (11, compared with last year's 23 and next year's 22) and one of their mentors said that this group has bonded more tightly than many cohorts do. I appreciated her introduction, and the way she phrased the explanation of this process and ritual: we are meeting them where they are.

These kids are so smart! The things they know always surprise me and I end up thinking about their statements for a long time afterward. This year they are struggling with particularly thorny issues--or perhaps they just found the strength to open up further than in previous years.

One of the speakers has the summer to decide what he will request from the judge at the hearing to determine whether his biological mother has met the requirements DCF set in place after he and his younger sister were removed from her care six years ago. He must decide whether he wants to stay with his relatively affluent moms and their new baby in the school system with his friends, or to return to his working class, recovering alcoholic bio-mom with her new baby and boyfriend...I'm glad that the judge will take the kids' wishes into account, but what a hard choice to be making at 13.

Another speaker talked about her recovery from a suicide attempt last year, about facing her depression and finding her strength.

A third speaker talked about the death of their father last year and their intent to start high school in the fall as a girl. That last one moved me especially because it was not dropped as a bombshell. This kid thinks that they can stand in front of an enormous hall full of adults, most of whom they don't know, and come out as trans and it will be ok. And it is.

Raising our kids with this kind of radical trust feels like such a revolutionary act. Getting to see each of them as individuals, moving from childhood into youth is such a privilege. I've volunteered to be one of the COA mentors next spring and I'm really looking forward to getting to know the next cohort more closely. And I find myself beginning to wonder what the next four years hold for Alice, what transformative experiences she will have, what she will talk about when it's her turn to stand before the congregation and be seen.

At the end of the service members of the high school Youth Group line the center aisle and make a new arch, welcoming them into the next phase of their life within our congregation. They will move from this past semester of focusing on themselves to learning to look outward and to live our shared values, beginning to be the change they want to see in the world. I am so grateful to have the chance to witness their journey.
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I had this whole idea for a sermon this summer, that was about salvation in a UU context and accepting that you are loved and when I went for a walk with [livejournal.com profile] dpolicar to try to refine it into something that might fit in fifteen minutes, he recalled my "swimming lessons" story/metaphor and suggested that I focus on that. And when I shared my title and theme at a meeting of the summer worship leaders, another of them offered me a poem to use as a reading.

So here's the sermon I delivered today. )
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Last night I was trying to write a prayer/meditation for today's service. I had a hard time even getting started and then really didn't feel like I was getting anywhere good, even when I started writing. Perhaps, I thought, I had exhausted my inspiration in writing my speech about Theatre@First for the Women's Alliance meeting on Friday, or with the previous post on friendship. And then I was struck with inspiration. I've been thinking a lot about seeing people, about being seen, and I thought of a way to incorporate that concept. And then I realized how challenging that would be for some people in the congregation and the additional time it would take in an already busy service and how much it would interrupt the celebratory tone we were striving for today, with the kickoff of our Meetinghouse (Capital) Campaign. So I ditched that idea, or shelved it for another, more contemplative service, and went back to what I had and finished that, feeling entirely dissatisfied with it. It's a lot more theist than I usually strive for--as a secular humanist raised in a theist tradition, drifting more toward prayer feels lazy to me--and I didn't find a way to involve any of the miraculous science I've thought about this week and that I usually work into these. I mentioned my dissatisfaction to the minister before the service--that I thought what I had was fine, but truly lacking in inspiration, and we commiserated a bit about doing this when you're not feeling it.

And then, perhaps "of course," I got more requests than ever from people who have never spoken to me before that I send them a copy. One woman asked where I had found it and when I explained that I'd written it last night she was shocked and demanded to know however I had learned to do that. Even the minister whispered to me as I took my seat again, thanking me for leading her into prayer in the midst of today's chaos. I guess that's what I get for trying to control a numinous process.

What I Wrote )
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As many of you know, I serve as one of the Worship Associates at First Parish Unitarian Universalist of Arlington. My fall rotation has just ended, so I'm tidying up and putting away resources and reference materials I will need again in March. I've been pleased with the prayers I've been writing recently and gotten good comments on them. I thought I would go ahead and post them, so that I have an easy way of pointing people to them, and by way of sharing one of the things I've been up to lately.

This is the one from last week, when the bulk of the service was Verdi's Requiem.

Prayer/Meditation for Music Sunday )
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Today at church the sermon was given by a member of our congregation, Lori Kenschaft. I could have written her opening words myself, about the ambivalence she has always felt about Memorial Day--on the one hand a glorification of war, on the other hand nothing more than the start of summer--but she went on to discuss how she has reclaimed it for herself by exploring its history as an African-American holiday.

Memorial Day was first celebrated on May 1, 1865, by tens of thousands of people--mostly recently freed former slaves, including 3000 black children recently enrolled in new schools--honoring specifically the prisoners of war who had died at a camp in Charleston, SC and more generally all the Union soldiers who had fought and died in the Civil War that was just ending.

Lori talked about the ways that extending the respect and honor of Memorial Day first to those who fought on both sides of the Civil War may have helped the country to restore a sense of unity, but pushed under the rug important differences and contributed to the idea of war as honorable no matter what the reasons for fighting. She talked about the terrible difficulties of black Americans over the next eighty years and connected that to the present day with a few words about the racial injustices of the War on Drugs and the shameful statistics of our prison system.

And then she read from the writings of a black UU minister, Rev. Mark D. Morrison-Reed. He wrote about the differences between the Jewish remembrance of their time of slavery--the suffering acknowledged and liberation celebrated in ritual each year--and the lack of a central moment of remembrance of the history of slavery and oppression for Africans and their African-American descendents, and for the terrible spiritual burden that all Americans continue to bear from that time.

Patriotism is a difficult subject for liberals these days, myself among them. The proudly held right to criticize and protest the excesses and injustices of our country, the ways that we fail to live up to our ideals and to treat our own citizens with dignity and humanity, the importance of remembering not only our glorious moments, but also the shameful ones that have deeper lessons for our future--all of those can make it hard to be simply proud. And yet I am very proud to be an American, to have as my birthright a part in this grand experiment, and to shoulder my part of our history, personal and collective, bright and dark.

I am grateful to Lori for giving me new things to think about this Memorial Day, new ways of connecting this holiday to past, present and future. I hope that all of you have a great weekend, full of friends and family, fresh air and cool drinks. And I hope that each of you takes a moment to think about where we are as a country, where we have been, where we are headed, what you honor and what you feel the need to challenge.

As our postlude, the wonderful Ken Seitz performed our National Anthem. It is our custom to sit during this closing of our time of worship (a word that comes from the concept of worth, of those things that we value highly), but raised by a devout patriot and veteran, I rose to my feet. I was not the first to rise and quickly the entire congregation stood together, honoring our country. I felt proud.
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Today at church we had a guest speaker, the Rev. Elizabeth Stephens. She preached on the topic of being wrong, being flawed, making mistakes, and learning that you are enough. She told a wonderful story about being the wrong person in a situation where someone was needed and there was no one else. And she pointed out that we are Human Beings, not Human Doings, which I thought was a clever reminder of much larger themes. And she read this poem, by one of my favorite poets, that I had not previously encountered.

let it go - the
smashed word broken
open vow or
the oath cracked length
wise - let it go it
was sworn to
go

let them go - the
truthful liars and
the false fair friends
and the boths and
neithers - you must let them go they
were born
to go

let all go - the
big small middling
tall bigger really
the biggest and all
things - let all go
dear

so comes love

~ e. e. cummings ~
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One of the items in the First Parish auction this past May was the privilege of setting the theme for a sermon. There were three high bidders, so the minister said she'd be happy to do it three times during the year. Today was the first and theme was Star Trek.

Impressively, Marta claimed never to have seen any Star Trek, so the bidder provided her with five episodes from TOS and TNG and she did some additional research. She came up with the usual sense of Star Trek's deeply metaphorical nature, the way that Roddenberry and his successors tackled from war to prejudice of all kinds to global warming, as well as many ways of approaching life and death. But the part that really moved me was when she went on to tie that into the fundamental belief of the UUs that truth is not to be found in a single book and that deep, important truths may be found in perhaps unlikely places.

The theme was not limited to the sermon. The music director wore her Starfleet uniform and the service began with two of the music ensemble using MelodyChimes to sound the opening notes of the show's theme. One of the musical interludes was the music from the TNG episode "The Inner Light" and the anthem was "Engyor tutmy" with music by Ralph Vaughan Williams and text from The Tempest in the original Klingon. The hymns and readings and children's story were all on the theme of wonder, innovation and our place among the stars.

I can't wait to find out what the other high bidders have picked!
lillibet: (Default)
One of the items in the First Parish auction this past May was the privilege of setting the theme for a sermon. There were three high bidders, so the minister said she'd be happy to do it three times during the year. Today was the first and theme was Star Trek.

Impressively, Marta claimed never to have seen any Star Trek, so the bidder provided her with five episodes from TOS and TNG and she did some additional research. She came up with the usual sense of Star Trek's deeply metaphorical nature, the way that Roddenberry and his successors tackled from war to prejudice of all kinds to global warming, as well as many ways of approaching life and death. But the part that really moved me was when she went on to tie that into the fundamental belief of the UUs that truth is not to be found in a single book and that deep, important truths may be found in perhaps unlikely places.

The theme was not limited to the sermon. The music director wore her Starfleet uniform and the service began with two of the music ensemble using MelodyChimes to sound the opening notes of the show's theme. One of the musical interludes was the music from the TNG episode "The Inner Light" and the anthem was "Engyor tutmy" with music by Ralph Vaughan Williams and text from The Tempest in the original Klingon. The hymns and readings and children's story were all on the theme of wonder, innovation and our place among the stars.

I can't wait to find out what the other high bidders have picked!

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