Renewing the Native Spirit

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by Betty Ridge

Our opening words this morning are “Territorial Acknowledgment,”
by Sean Neil-Barron.

We gather together as a community of seekers,
to honour the interdependence of life,
to respect the dignity of all,
and to honour the land we walk humbly upon.
Friends, Let us acknowledge that we walk upon the traditional territories of the
Osage, the original nation of this land, who continue to cry out for justice and
self determination.
We are blessed with a space and opportunity to strive to live out our common principles:
To bring justice, equity and compassion into our daily lives,
To resist all that threatens the earth and her people,
And to live out our dream of a world community of peace, liberty and justice for all.
Let these thoughts carry us forth as we journey and worship together.
Blessed Be.

Prelude II

from An American in Paris by George Gershwin
Public Domain Work
Performed by Eva Riebold and John Prescott

It’s always a joy to hear Eva and John play together and this prelude is no exception. It was interesting to learn more about the larger orchestral work the prelude is excerpted from, An American in Paris. Here’s an excerpt from program notes by the San Francisco Symphony:
“An American in Paris eschews formal symphonic development in favor of a loose episodic structure charting the adventures of an American tourist sampling the glories of Paris and succumbing to fits of homesickness along the way. The work’s most compelling features are its marvelous melodies—who isn’t enchanted by the central “blues” section with its wailing trumpet solo?—and its glittering orchestration, featuring that quacking quartet of Parisian taxi horns. “It’s not a Beethoven symphony, you know,” commented Gershwin, perhaps in reaction to elitist reservations about the work’s overriding joie de vivre. “If it pleases symphony audiences as a light, jolly piece, a series of impressions musically expressed, it succeeds.”

We could all use a little dose of light, jolly music to renew our spirits even as we work to address the evils and injustices perpetuated against Native people in this country. May this beautiful music be fuel for the work ahead.

– Emily, Music Director

Deliver Us to Evil

Words and Music by Amanda Udis-Kessler
Used with Permission
Performed by Emily McKinney

This title really caught me off guard when I first read it. It’s a flipping of the script from the line in the Lord’s Prayer, “deliver us from evil.” In this beautiful hymn anthem from Amanda Udis-Kessler, we take a different approach, one of accountability for the wrongs of the past and evils in our world. These lyrics call us to move forward, boldly facing these evils, because if we don’t overcome injustice and suffering in our world, who will? This song accompanies the message of the action of immediate witness in Bettie’s homily, I think. It’s our responsibility to see the injustices around us and take action. I’m proud to be at a church that leads its people to deliver themselves to evil in order to overcome it.

– Emily, Music Director

Ancient Mother

Words and Music: Traditional Navajo Prayer
Performed by Emily McKinney

I was so pleased to discover that some music written by actual Native people had been included in our teal hymnal, and I enjoyed learning more about the Navajo people and their uses of music such as this prayer song here:
I do highly recommend clicking through to the recording linked on that page, too. There are a number of beautiful recordings of this available on YouTube, and I am grateful that we can learn from and be lifted up by the beautiful, earth-and-spirit-centered music of the Navajo people.

– Emily, Music Director

Go Now in Light

written and performed by Emily McKinney

You asked for it – you got it! So many people reached out in the last few weeks to express that they connected with this song and/or the Meditation on Loving Kindness that we used as a postlude last week. Since music we have permission to use during virtual services is in short supply, and audio editing takes a lot of time, several of the brilliant people at this church suggested that we could make a virtual tradition out of using just a few set postludes that are near and dear to our hearts. I am nothing but truly honored that my little compositions are apparently on that list for this community, and I am happy to let us use this and any other little song of mine any time we want to. May these words reach from my heart to yours once again.

– Emily, Music Director

Our closing words are “Be About the Work,” by Andrea Hawkins-Kamper

May we see all as it is, and may it all be as we see it.
May we be the ones to make it as it should be,
For if not us, who? If not now, when?
This is answering the cry of justice with the work of peace,
This is redeeming the pain of history with the grace of wisdom,
This is the work we are called to do, and this is the call we answer now:
To be the barrier and the bridge,
To be the living embodiment of our Principles,
To be about the work of building the Beloved Community,
To be a people of intention and a people of conscience.

Categories: Sermon