Committed to Growing
by Emmie Seaman
Ode to Dirty Fingernails by Dacia Reid
Echo of woodpecker wafts on morning air
Worm spouts pock the path
Purple spears of crocus reach heavenward
Repeating shrill of bird call
Celebrates the golden pink dawn horizon
and new blue sky line
Burgeoning skeletal branches
Mysteriously expand in the growing light
Wondrous greening – filigree then shade
Mid-morning cacophony buzzing
Welcome, as a worker
Kneels in the dirt
Trowel, kneepad and new starts
Warm sun, cool breeze mosquito & bee
Evidenced under her nails.
Snow & rain “have turned the star-wheel,”
Gardening is upon us!
Easter 2021 at First UU
Join us on Saturday, April 3rd, between 10 AM and 12 PM!
The opening words are “Our Souls Speak Spring,” by Evin Carvill Ziemer.
If we lived in another climate
Our souls might speak other languages
We might speak oasis or permafrost, dry season or monsoon
But our souls speak spring
Our souls speak green shoots pushing through last year’s leaves
Our souls speak flower buds stretching to sun
Our souls speak mud puddle and nest building, damp earth and worm castings, tiny green leaves and frog choruses
We speak spring because spring sings in us
We gather to nurture our faith in our own growing
Our own courage to push through
Our own blossoming in beauty
Our own small part in the spring of this world
Come, let us worship together
Spring Has Now Unwrapped the Flowers
These early spring flowers are certainly a welcome sight for all of us after a strong winter and other impositions upon our lives. Spring flowers are about my most favorite experience of the year. They are committed. Even though it rains and snows and ices over, the crocuses, daffodils and hyacinths rise up out of the ground, no matter what. Although we won’t sing the words to this hymn, interestingly they come from a Latin medieval song first found in Finland and published in 1582. The music is by Thomas Benjamin, a Unitarian composer and conductor. He wrote many varied works then recently retired from John Hopkins University where he was Chair of the Dept. of Music Theory.
– Eva Riebold, Pianist
Passover begins this year on the evening of Saturday, March 27th so we were very excited to have Persephone share a Passover song with us that she learned growing up. Here’s what Persephone has to say about this song:
“As with most songs that are sung in the Jewish tradition, there is not a standardized version, but this is the version that my family has always sung on Passover, and I think it’s beautiful and compelling.
“Passover is a mix of celebration of and small reliving of the story in the book of Exodus in which God freed the Israelites from the bonds of slavery in Egypt. There is quite a long ceremony (I have a pet theory that the length of it is part of the ritualistic suffering!) that is a combination of prayer, storytelling, eating, and certain ritualistic actions that Jews participate in on the first evening of Passover: this is called the Seder, which means “order” in Hebrew. One of these rituals, which some might call the climax of the Seder, is opening the door for Elijah and setting a cup of wine out for him.
“In Jewish tradition, we are taught that if there is someone who is less fortunate than us and who needs something from us, especially if that someone is homeless and requesting a place to stay, that we must treat that person as if they were Elijah the Prophet and give them the best of what we have. This is what is symbolized in the ritual of opening the door and pouring of wine for Elijah. This is when the song is sung: as the kids (if there are any) rush to the front door to open it and the adults hastily and sneakily drink the glass of wine to increase the sense of wonder in the children.
“Elijah is of special importance in Judaism because the arrival of Elijah is said to immediately precede the arrival of the messiah. This is reflected in the line: “In haste and in our days may he arrive with the messiah, son of David.” During Passover, while we celebrate our freedom from the bonds of slavery, we also make that wish for the future for the arrival of the messiah.
“I feel obligated to say that I personally don’t believe in most of these stories, but I do feel very connected to Jewish cultural values and morals, and I think that the Crisis Cold Weather Shelter and the giving of food and supplies to the needy at the UU fall in line with these values.”
Here are a few different translations I found online. Our thanks to Persephone for recording for us!
– Emily McKinney, Music Director
Last March, Rebecca made the brilliant suggestion that we could feature only the works of women composers in services for Women’s History Month. We all remember how last March got off to a great start and then how quickly everything changed. I feel as though we are now bringing you something special after a year-long COVID “intermission.” I’m so grateful Colleen still had the sheet music and was willing to record and share with us, on top of all she does for our congregation already.
I was pleased to get to learn more about the composer of this work, Maria Theresa Von Paradis, who was a contemporary of Mozart, Haydn, and CPE Bach. Isn’t it interesting that while she was a celebrated performer in her day, and went on to form her own music school where she taught music and composition to young girls, her legacy is now largely forgotten? Here are two good biographies of her where you can learn more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maria_Theresia_von_Paradis
– Emily McKinney, Music Director
Our closing words are by Marjorie Newlin LeaMing:
Let us go forth into the world through a door of hope for the future,
remembering these words by Martin Luther:
“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces,
I would still plant my apple tree.”
So may it be with us.