A Promise Made…

Published by FirstUUAdmin on

by Rev Michelle Scott-Huffman

A promise made is a promise ____? Kept? Broken? Renegotiated? Discarded? Renewed? As humans living in a world in relationship with other humans, we spend a lot of time negotiating relationships. One of our tools of negotiation is the promise. Another word for those promises, particularly when made with great care and intention among a group of people who strive to be in life-giving relationship, is Covenant. This message explores a UU understanding of Covenant and the ways that covenant may bring Renewal.

Blessing in the Storm by Jan Richardson

I cannot claim
to still the storm
that has seized you,
cannot calm
the waves that wash
through your soul,
that break against
your fierce and
aching heart.

But I will wade
into these waters,
will stand with you
in this storm,
will say peace to you
in the waves,
peace to you
in the winds,
peace to you
in every moment
that finds you still
within the storm.

Come, Come, Whoever You Are

Words adapted from Rumi
Music by Lynn Adair Ungar

I was excited to hear that Rev. Michelle is going to talk about relationships and promises within our church community, and more specifically, what it means to be a people in covenant with each other. This beautiful round uses part of this text from Rumi: “Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn’t matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again , come , come.”

This quote makes me wonder – what “vows” do we make to one another in this community? How we do respond to one another with love and accountability when we fail to behave in ways that fully align with our values? We are not a perfect people. One of my favorite things about UUism is that no one tells us we are supposed to be, either, but we are people striving to live up to our values together. So, no matter how well we have done in the past, right now is a chance to be more accountable in our relationships with one another. Come, yet again, come.

– Emily, Music Director

From You I Receive

Words and Music by Nathan Segal
Used with Permission

This is about the most straightforward description of what it means to be in community and in covenant with one another as you can get. The lyrics are profoundly simple. We give and receive from one another and this is what creates our shared life. May we approach that process with all the reverence it is due. This week I simply offer my gratitude that I am allowed to be in a role where I can give and receive so frequently within this congregation. Thank you all for your digital presence each week and your encouraging words about music, always right when I seem to need it most.

PS: This little hymn has far more of a backstory than I would have ever guessed. You can read more about it here: https://farfringe.com/stlt402-from-you-i-receive/

– Emily, Music Director

Come, Sing a Song with Me

Words and Music by Carolyn McDade
Used with Permission
Performed by Eva Riebold, Paul Phariss, Marilyn Day, and Emily McKinney

If I’m being totally truthful, this was not my favorite song to lead or use when we were all meeting in the sanctuary. It would get stuck in my head for days afterward every time and I would harbor a quiet resentment about having to use this hymn. Now, though? I miss all of you so much. I miss our sanctuary. I even miss singing this little ditty with you all. It made me surprisingly happy to work on it this week and I hope it brings you all back to a connection with this church community.

The lyrics support this week’s message, I hope. Being in covenantal relationships with one another is this process of “being with” in so many ways, and seeking to truly know one another’s minds. From this, we draw out our hope, and the vibrant, connected life of this community is truly “a rose in the wintertime,” or a bright spot in COVID time. Whichever. Please join us this Sunday and come sing a song with us!

– Emily, Music Director

Meditation on Loving Kindness

Words: Traditional Loving Kindness Metta Meditation
Music: Emily McKinney
Performed by the First UU Virtual Choir

Closing words by Rev Michelle

We are a covenant people,
Bound together by shared values and common mission.
Let us go from this place, encouraged by our faith,
Challenged by our principles,
And empowered to live them out,
To create ever widening circles of beloved community.