Walking with the Wind

Published by FirstUUAdmin on

by Rev. Victoria Safford and read by Elizabeth Self

The Beloved Community [is] not a goal or destination, and it was not any kind of idealistic, Christian utopian dream, but instead a way of being – spiritually, politically, economically, emotionally, intellectually. Beloved Community is an attitude, an orientation of the heart; it’s a disciplined understanding of your own relationship to other people, to everyone else on the planet, to every living thing. If you are religious, this is a religious discipline, and it goes by many names. If you are seeking spiritual wholeness, spiritual balance, it is a spiritual discipline. If you are an ethical humanist, it is a deliberate moral stance. It is a daily practice, a spiritual politics, that requires inclusivity, nonviolence, and the hard discipline of radical hospitality. It requires love, agape…

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

As part of this congregation’s annual LGBT+ Welcoming Recertification process, today we observe National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. This day was started to help stop HIV stigma and to increase HIV prevention, testing, and treatment in black communities, as well as to address the impact of HIV on black communities. We are privileged to be able to share a video of a conversation between Reginald Brown and Rev Michelle Scott-Huffman now.

I, You, We Meditation

Our opening words today 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.

Enter, Rejoice, and Come In
Words and music by Louise Ruspini, arr. Betty Wylder
Used with Permission
Performed by Eva Riebold

I love to hear this familiar, jaunty little melody from the time and place of our shared services in the sanctuary. It makes me want to physically go to church. The order of the words on the title has always bothered me a little bit though: If someone has “entered,” doesn’t that mean they have also already “come in?”

Then I got to thinking about it a little more and thought about the difference between just entering a physical or a Zoom room versus coming all the way in to a community and realized my own process with finding this community was a bit like that. I entered the doors with skepticism that I could find any place called a “church” where I would feel safe and happy. Then, I rejoiced at the community I found here and decided to come all the way in, try your coffee, talk to some folks, and now the rest is history. My hope is that all who enter our space, whether virtual or physical, will find this to be a place they can rejoice in beloved community and decide to come all the way in with us.

As always, our sincere thanks goes out to Eva for her work on the music and choosing it to share with us.

For some additional lovely commentary on this hymn, I recommend this blog post by Rev. Kimberly Debus, here: https://farfringe.com/stlt361-enter-rejoice-and-come-in/

– Emily McKinney, 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

The choice to share this song this week was inspired by the messages of Beloved Community that we heard last week. We were reminded by our speakers that being in community means seeking to know one another on a deeper level and taking the time to be present with one another’s lives through various activities and ways of connecting. This is such a UU song, too, because it covers most of our bases – singing together, dreaming together, and sharing roses (or whatever’s in the back garden), although I’m not sure we often walk in rain, and it wouldn’t hurt to have a verse about drinking coffee together. The idea that we need to intentionally make these connections to truly know one another’s minds was emphasized in last week’s message, and truly seeking to know one another is way that we bring each other hope when hope is hard to find, as the song suggests. What a beautiful picture of community! With my caveat that it’s still not my favorite music. You can read more about this hymn here: https://farfringe.com/stlt346-come-sing-a-song-with-me/

– Emily McKinney, Music Director

Church is the Way We Live
Words and Music by Amanda Udis-Kessler
Used with Permission
Performed by The First UU Virtual Choir

The choice of this song was also inspired by last week’s wonderful messages about Beloved Community. More than ever before, this time of meeting virtually has caused me to pause and consider who and how we are as a community, away from a physical building. First UU is not just a place, but rather all the ways we show up for one another in this smaller community, and all the ways we show up for the larger community around us. The word “church” really used to bother me when I first started attending here because of all the ways I had seen that word play out in our part of the country before, so this song was a nice way for me to reflect on the meaning of that word and how we might reclaim it for ourselves.

Here, church is shelter and warmth for our neighbors who lack that. It’s a garden that feeds people and it’s safe drive-by events to feed the birds. Church is a place to amplify the voices of the marginalized. It’s a diverse, well-stocked library. Church is comprehensive sexuality education for all ages (OWL program) and it’s community music jams, and showing up for racial justice and housing issues. It’s choosing to order enough of our Pride and BLM flags that we can quickly replace them any time someone takes one down. For us, church is truly the way we live together in Beloved Community. Our thanks goes out to the choir for sharing this music with us.

– Emily McKinney, Music Director

Go Now in Light
Written by Emily McKinney
Performed by Emily McKinney and Persephone Hamburg

Our closing words are Only Begun, by William G Sinkford.

Spirit of Life and Love, dear God of all nations:
There is so much work to do.
We have only begun to imagine justice and mercy.
Help us hold fast to our vision of what can be.
May we see the hope in our history,
and find the courage and the voice
to work for that constant rebirth
of freedom and justice.
That is our dream.

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