Considering that Which Has Worth: Stewardship Sunday
As part of the morning message, Board of Trustees President Colleen Appel will present a video of the church using your best gifts to meet our group goals. The video celebrates the work of staff and committees and sets the background for the congregational meeting which follows the service. Four of our church members will also speak briefly about how their own approaches to stewardship allow them to live their values within their budgets.
Our Opening words today are by Leslie Takahashi.
To worship means to consider that which has worth—today we consider, with gratitude, the many gifts of this community—
The opportunity to be affirmed in who we are and to offer that affirmation to others
The chance to stand up together to help remake the world in the ideal of justice
The freedom to choose one’s own path to truth and to learn from the travelogues of others
The space to expand one’s own spirit and to reconnect after busy –or humdrum–weeks with the sustaining truths of one’s life
Regular reminders that we must see our world through the lens of love
And the aspiration to consider all life as precious for if all of it is made of stardust, how can it not be wondrous?
So this morning let’s welcome all of these gifts with gratitude—for they have been paid for with many currencies
The blood of the martyrs who died so that we can be free in our religion
The sweat of those who persisted in justice’s name against hostility and adversity
The tears of those who struggled to build better lives for those in this life
The questions of our children as they understand the world anew and offer their understanding to us as a fresh lens
The laughter and joy of those giddy with the embrace of community
The dollars and cents of those who gave what they could—and then stretched a little more.
The infinite small acts of service that make the parts greater than the whole, done by those who knew themselves in sympathy with our purposes.
So today we consider with gratitude and humility what it means to pay forward what has been paid forward for us.
And now, with all of this, let us enter into worship with gladness in our hearts.
In recognition of National Transgender Day of Remembrance this Friday, November 20, we have a National Day of Remembrance Prayer, by Rev. Sunshine Jeremiah Wolfe.
On this Transgender Day of Remembrance,
we remember those who have been murdered for being who they are,
those who face violence on a daily basis,
those who have lost loved ones, and those who worry for loved ones.
May we come to a time when we cease to shame children around gender roles and expression,
where we allow for freedom and exploration of identity and expression,
and to a world that operates from love especially when things are difficult and confusing.
May all of us who live with the threat of violence find support, strength,
community, hope, and safety from violence.
What Wondrous Love
American Folk Hymn
Melody from “The Southern Harmony” 1835
Used with Permission
Performed by Eva Riebold
I wanted to write a nice little summary of the background of this hymn only to discover that it’s a mess and no one is completely sure of its history and origins. You can read the Wikipedia article here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/What_Wondrous_Love_Is_This#:~:text=%22What%20Wondrous%20Love%20Is%20This%22%20(often%20just%20referred%20to,ballad%20(Roud%20number%205089).
I was, however, tickled to see that our version of this hymn was specifically mentioned in the article for re-writing the words to better reflect our theology.
For some neat UU reflection (and bonus beautiful recordings) you can check out this link: https://farfringe.com/stlt18-what-wondrous-love/
We are so very grateful for Eva’s willingness to share it with us. I could listen to this one on repeat.
Bound to Love/What Do We Bring
by Amanda Udis-Kessler
Used with Permission
Performed by the First UU Virtual Choir
I’m glad to be able to pull this choir recording back out again after introducing it last month because I think the lyrics really speak to stewardship and why we do things like plan a budget, commit to outreach and ministries as a community, and have a pledge drive each year. We do these things because we are bound to one another in this community – bound to bring our gifts (whether that is in time, talent, or treasure) and share them in love to nurture this community, and allow this community to nurture our larger world in turn. As we consider stewardship, this is certainly the time to ask ourselves what we bring to show our love for our community.
Full of Love
Words and Music: Shari Woodbury, LeLaina Romero, Ranwa Hammamy
Used with Permission
Performed by the Virtual First UU Choir
This is a sweet little gem of three-part harmony that was so generously given by the composers for free use in church services and streaming way back in March or April of this year. I recorded this once with just my voice because that was all we had the technology to do then, but I am glad I remembered we had this in our “COVID music library” because now it means so much to hear choir members lifting and blending their voices together. It’s been a tough year and a harsh election cycle, my beloved community. May we all take a deep breath and find ourselves full of love.
Go Now in Light
Written by Emily McKinney
Performed by Emily McKinney and Persephone Hamburg
Our closing words are That which is Worthy of Doing, by Steve J. Crump.
That which is worthy of doing, create with your hands.
That which is worthy of repeating, speak with a clear voice.
That which is worthy of remembering, hold in your hearts.
And that which is worthy of living, go and live it now.