Loving Our Enemies

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by Jaimee McGuire

Dust of Snow by AJ Fox

Our opening words today are Do Not Be Alone Right Now, by Rev Karen G Johnston.

Do not be alone right now. Gather together.
Gathering together grows courage: in ourselves and in others who see the numbers swelling. It is a small thing, but right now it is an important thing.
Great sources of wisdom remind us: just because you cannot stem the tide of all hate, it is still right to do the thing you can do. These things add up: your one thing & my one thing; his one thing & their one thing & her one thing. Together it becomes a BIG thing.
Do not be alone right now. Any liberation—all liberation—is collective liberation. My freedom is bound with yours and yours with mine. Inextricably.
Let us together cast our lots doing this BIG thing: bending the moral arc of the universe towards justice.

When Our Heart is in a Holy Place

Words and Music:
Joyce Poley
Keyboard arr. Lorne Kellett
Used with Permission
Performed by Eva Riebold and Emily McKinney

This hymn is one I remember hearing fairly early on after coming through the doors at First UU and it made me feel like I was finally home. It sounded nothing like the “prickly” hymns I had heard in other places I had been, and was warm and welcoming. It softened and opened my heart the first time I sang it with all of you and it still does that for me today.

I’m so glad Eva suggested using this hymn for our theme of Beloved Community this month. To be honest, my heart has not been in much of a holy place for portions of the last year. My anger at COVID-deniers and attacks on our democracy has made me truly heartsick and cynical more days than I would care to admit. I want to be blessed with the kind of love and amazing grace in this song. It has the prescription for restoring my heart to this holy place – I need all of you. I need the values of this community. I need to do the hard work of the practices of telling my story and listening with an open heart so that I can see myself in others and trust their wisdom and my own. It is not easy to show up in a world that is so broken, but that broken world needs beloved community. May we find ourselves in a holy place with enough love and amazing grace to share in the week ahead.

–Emily McKinney, Music Director

Here There is Wholeness

Here There is Wholeness
Words and Music: Amanda Udis-Kessler
Used with Permission
Performed by the Virtual First UU Choir

This beautiful trio from Amanda Udis-Kessler is one of those rare songs where the music structure embodies the essence of the text for me. The three parts interlock and weave together in a way that creates a lovely wholeness and fullness, which is the main theme of the lyrics. We will share all three sets of lyrics during the service this Sunday so that you can see and hear the ways the lyrical lines interweave to form a complete whole. Wholeness, fullness, love – these are descriptors of Beloved Community to me. The message about Walking With the Wind has really stuck with me this month, and the idea that Beloved Community is not a destination, but a way of going together. When we journey together with wholeness, fullness, and love, we embody Beloved Community.

Our thanks to the choir for lending their voices to this project.

–Emily McKinney, Music Director

From You I Receive

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

This simple hymn is profound in its truth and simplicity. If we can learn to do both parts of this equation – giving and receiving- as part of being in Beloved Community – then we are more than halfway there. That’s it. If we can learn to share, truly share, our resources, both tangible and spiritual, with one another, then from this we can live. And that’s really what we’re here to do: live and journey together in a way that transforms our hearts and the world around us. May we find ourselves more willing to give and receive from one another. Our thanks to our small group of singers and Eva for sharing their music with us.

Go Now in Light

Written by Emily McKinney
Performed by Emily McKinney and Persephone Hamburg

Our closing words are Go In Peace, Seeking Justice by Jim Magaw.

When I say go in peace, I don’t mean “go in mindless oblivion.”
When I say go in peace, I don’t mean “go without challenging yourself or others.”
When I say go in peace, I don’t mean “go in utter ease and comfort.”
When I say go in peace, I mean “go in peace, seeking justice.”
I mean, “go in peace, committed to equal rights and opportunities for all.”
When I say, go in peace, I mean “Go in the peace that is created when, together,
We build communities of true solidarity, deep compassion, and fierce, unrelenting love.”
Go in peace.

Categories: Sermon