Stuck in the Doorway

Published by FirstUUAdmin on

by Rev Michelle Scott-Huffman

July 19, 2020

Special Music

One More Step

This song immediately came to my mind when Rev. Michelle shared the general bent of this week’s message. How many times have we found ourselves stuck? Stuck in a doorway, stuck in self-doubt, stuck in despair at “the way things are” rather than filled with hope at the way things could be? And how many times has the answer been to take just “one more step.” One step can bring us just past the edge of the doorway where we might find ourselves stuck. This hymn is a reminder that as a people of faith and justice, we still have work to do. Let us do it by taking one more step.

– Emily, Music Director


Brilliant and prolific UU music director and composer Dr. Sharon Scholl has offered all of her compositions up for our unrestricted use here: (Aspiring church musicians might find something in the stacks they’d like to see us share…)

One fantastic gift she has given us is to compose and share music specific to Soul Matters themes. This piece was written for a previous theme of Journey, but when I read the text, it really captured two ideas for me that are relevant to this week’s message and the theme of Thresholds. The first is that we experience doubt and uncertainty as we prepare to cross thresholds and move out of doorways where we are stuck, and those fears are felt as very real. We need the values of our faith to move us forward. The second idea in these words is all the reasons we must move forward despite those fears, and the rewards of doing so. We don’t always know exactly where we’re going, but we know we cannot remain in the doorways.

As always, a heartfelt gratitude for each musician who gamely recorded their fragments and allowed me to stitch us all together.

– Emily, Music Director

If We Just Talk of Thoughts and Prayers

This song represented a threshold of increasing complexity for me, if you will allow me to borrow Rev. Michelle’s term from a previous message. You’re surely notice when you hear it that it’s the exact same melody as the piece I shared two weeks ago “The Water Is Wide.”

Our board president, Colleen, gets credit for introducing me to this song. She found it and shared it with the choir when she gave a message on gun violence and school shootings. These words are powerful and they are convicting of any idol spirituality – any claim toward being a people of faith if we don’t show up and do the work. To reflect the urgency of this text, I sped up the tempo of the familiar melody, cut out any sweet little instrumental interludes between verses, and added small layers of harmony to underscore the key parts of the text.

My hope is that this moves us beyond politely listening to this week’s message, and beyond UU intellectual discussion of what it means to be “stuck in a doorway” and into the actions we so desperately need to heal our corner of this hurting world.

– Emily, Music Director

I’m on my Way

I always enjoy reading this excellent blog that delves into each hymn in our hymnal, and I think this minister really articulates my mixed feelings about hymns like this one here:

For the record, we omitted the verses with the gender binary. And, I always feel a little bit uncomfortable as a white person using the music of Black Americans, because it’s not my struggle or my heritage. And yet — we have no musicians of color in our congregation currently, so do we never choose to hear and celebrate the rich and meaningful music Black Americans have contributed? That seems like an incredible loss to me, too. I don’t have all the answers to this, but I think it’s important to reflect on the questions and uplift the voices of musicians and composers of marginalized identities every chance we get.

This song always seems to get me moving, at least mentally and internally, to say nothing of foot-tapping. My hopes in offering it this week is to help us move past the “doorways” Rev. Michelle will discuss and get us “on our way.”

– Emily, Music Director

Categories: Sermon