Listening Beyond

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by Rev Michelle Scott-Huffman

Don Miguel Ruiz has written that “We only see what we want to see; we only hear what we want to hear.” This reality can keep us stuck in unhealthy patterns of behavior and unaware of transformation that is both necessary and possible. How might we move beyond our confirmation bias and the boundaries of our associations to engage in deep listening that has the potential to move and change us?

Our open words today are “Listen! The Spirit is Calling!” by John Saxon

…Listen! Can you hear it? The Spirit is calling.
It’s calling to you and to me. It’s calling us to greater wholeness, greater connection, greater service, greater love. It’s calling us to heal the brokenness within ourselves, in others, and in the world… It’s calling us to live courageously and kindly, to speak our truth in love, and to bend the moral arc of the universe toward justice. It’s calling us into community….

From You I Receive

Words and Music by Nathan Segal
Used with Permission
Performed by Marilyn Day, Emily McKinney, and Paul Phariss

It’s always so enjoyable to me when a song that our church musicians recently worked up for one service or theme is applicable to another service or theme shortly afterwards and we have a good reason to take another listen to something in a new context. That’s appropriate, too, given that we are exploring Deep Listening this month. Our hymns are such a rich source of what it means to be a UU – even the simple, short hymns like this one. Last time Rev. Michelle spoke, she talked about promises and covenants, and a bit about how Deep Listening was such a key part of the process of renewing our commitments to one another. Showing up for each other in shared community and learning to really do Deep Listening requires that we be willing to give and receive from one another. It is truly out of this that we live our shared UU life. PS: Big thanks to Paul and Marilyn for adding such lovely layers of harmony to this. That’s always worth some Deep Listening!

– Emily, Music Director

Bound to Love/What Do We Bring

by Amanda Udis-Kessler
Used with Permission
Performed by the First UU Virtual Choir

This is another beautiful little song about what it means to be in community and relationships with one another. Sometimes, I don’t always know what folks are planning to speak about, exactly, in a service, until after I have already chosen some or most of the music, but when I got to take a glance at the plans for this week, I was pleasantly surprised at how well I thought this fits with the message.

These lyrics explore what it means to be a part of a beloved community such as ours and asks us to ponder what it is we bring to this community, what our unique gifts are, and how we learn to serve one another with body, spirit, heart, and mind. I invite you to consider that at this moment, we are being called to serve one another with the gift of our Deep Listening.

– Emily, Music Director

Find a Stillness

Words: Carl. G. Seaburg
Music: Transylvanian hymn tune
Used with Permission
Performed by the First UU Virtual Choir, Accompanied by Eva Riebold

There are some hymns in our hymnal that are so beautiful they almost break my heart. It’s difficult to describe exactly what I mean by that, but my reaction to this melody and its harmonies is so visceral as to almost be painful. I think that might be what’s meant by “hauntingly beautiful.” This hymn has deep hooks for me. I can’t listen to it and not be a bit spellbound. I’m not the only person to have this kind of experience with “Find a Stillness.” UU minister Kimberly Debus writes so eloquently about this hymn here:

I’ll let her words speak for themselves with my gratitude to Eva for the beautiful piano part, our choir members who recorded their voices, and to this congregation for supporting the music program with the equipment and software that makes this kind of collaboration in isolation possible.

– Emily, Music Director

Go Now in Light

Written by Emily McKinney
Performed by Emily McKinney and Persephone Hamburg

Our closing words today are “Room for the Voice of the World” by Rev Scott Tayler

As we leave this space,
May the bonds we feel remain.
May the words of this day
continue to guide and steady us
as we make our way.
May the silence we held for each other keep us tethered
to that place of calm
to that opening in our hearts
that allows the grace of the world
to continually flow in
and speak. 

Categories: Sermon