Becoming Alive Again
by Rev Michelle Scott-Huffman
The observance of both Easter and Passover provide an opportunity for us to remember sacred stories that have breathed life into weary people for thousands of years. As we feel the weight of our own weariness, may we be reminded that we, too, can become alive again and those old sacred stories may just help us get there.
The opening words today are Amid All the Noise in Our Lives by Tim Haley.
Amid all the noise in our lives,
we take this moment to sit in silence —
to give thanks for another day;
to give thanks for all those in our lives
who have brought us warmth and love;
to give thanks for the gift of life.
We know we are on our pilgrimage here but a brief moment in time.
Let us open ourselves, here, now,
to the process of becoming more whole —
of living more fully;
of giving and forgiving more freely;
of understanding more completely
the meaning of our lives here on this earth.
Moment of Perspective – Easter and Earth Day by AJ Fox
Prelude in G Major
by J. S. Bach
performed by Eva Riebold
Our Prelude this week is from that most prolific composer of sacred and secular music, J. S. Bach. This is traditional Easter weekend so he seems most appropriate. This particular piece appealed to me because it is sweet and joyful and springlike.
– Eva Riebold, Pianist
This is What Democracy Looks Like
Words and Music by Elizabeth Alexander
Written Especially for the Justice Choir Project
Performed by the First UU Choir, Accompanied by Eva Riebold
Everything about this makes me emotional, and I hope you enjoy all of this: choir members and friends meeting up outdoors with masks to minimize the risk of spreading COVID, the sight of our building and grounds, wind and traffic sounds, and a strong pro-democracy message.
This is a simple little song, composed especially for the Justice Choir project, meaning it’s meant to be easy to teach and learn so that you can easily add group singing to protest marches. And while it’s a simple song, it carries a lot of meaning for me this week. My journey as a UU has helped me connect my deepest held values to my actions in the world. I didn’t care all that much about our local elections until I encountered this faith and really made the connection between living up to our principles and values in daily life and the kind of community we get to share. It matters who is on our school board and our city council. It matters that we make our voices heard. It matters that we show up and stay loud at a time when democracy itself appears to be under siege. So this moment of our choir singers coming back together is meant to serve as your reminder and encouragement to get out and vote on April 6th. You can view the sample ballot ahead of time here: https://greenecountymo.gov/files/PDF/file.pdf?id=36573
This moment of coming back also felt like something of a rebirth of so much of what has lain dormant during the last year, and I can’t think of a more appropriate feeling for Easter Sunday when we contemplate what rebirth might mean for us through many different lenses. Yes to choir participation! Yes to local election participation! Yes to music by women composers and singing our values outdoors for everyone to hear! Yes to spring and Easter and all things having a chance at renewal if we do the work.
– Emily McKinney, Music Director
By Ludwig Van Beethoven
Public Domain Work
Performed by Rebecca Holt
One of the things I love most about First UU is that we have such a strong community of talented musicians who are so willing to share their music with us, and that we can look forward to truly gorgeous performances of great classical music on special occasions like Easter. I give thanks a surprising amount that we’re not somewhere that we’d be obligated to learn an Easter Cantata every year. I’m especially moved to see Rebeca, a beloved member of this congregation, sitting behind our wonderful piano. Sights like this really do give me hope for the future.
Rebecca shares the following biographical information about Beethoven and this work:
“Although it being a great misfortune and aggravation, Beethoven’s greatest work was accomplished after he had become deaf. His genius and geniality as an artist and his noble generosity won the hearts of the music lovers and caused them to condone his freaks. His entire life, of course, was confined to music as an orchestra leader, pianist, and composer, and his compositions are without question the finest and greatest. He is still recognized as the greatest composer of instrumental music of all times, and even in vocal music, his “Fidelio” and the “Missa” Solemnis are creations of unique power. His works comprise 138 opus numbers and about 70 unnumbered compositions. To know Beethoven, you must know his Moonlight Sonata.”
Go Now in Light
Written by Emily McKinney
Performed by Emily McKinney and Persephone Hamburg
In honor of National Poetry Month, our closing words are Easter Morning in Wales by David Whyte.
A garden inside me, unknown, secret,
neglected for years,
the layers of its soil deep and thick,
trees in the corners with branching arms
and the tangled briars like broken nets.
Sunrise through the misted orchard,
morning sun turns silver on the pointed twigs,
I have woken from the sleep of ages and I am not sure
if I am really seeing, or dreaming,
or simply astonished
walking towards sunrise
to have stumbled into the garden
where the stone was rolled from the tomb of longing.