On Becoming Ourselves (and Unbecoming Who We Are Not)

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by Colleen Appel

There are many reasons for writing. Several First UU poets will tell us why they write and how their writing has helped in “becoming themselves.” April is Poetry Month; join us in celebrating the poets among us.

Moment of Perspective – On Ordinary Lives – AJ Fox

The opening words are Bring your Broken Hallelujah Here, by Rev Theresa I Soto.

Bring your broken hallelujah here.
Bring the large one that’s beyond repair.
Bring the small one that’s too soft to share.
Bring your broken hallelujah here. I know
that people have told you that before you can
give you have to get yourself together. They
overstated the value of perfection by a lot.
Or they forgot. You are the gift. We all bring
some broken things, songs and dreams, and
long lost hopes. But here, together, we reach
within. As a community, we begin again. And
from the pieces we will build something new.
There is work that only you can do. We wait for you.

There is More Love Somewhere
Words and Music: African-American Hymn
Used with Permission
Performed by Eva Riebold, Persephone Hamburg, and Emily McKinney

This is a repeat from a few weeks back when technical difficulties did not allow us to hear this recording all the way through. I think it speaks nicely to the theme of Becoming, as well, because we all have to “keep on” in life until we reach the places and the people where we find the love, peace, joy, and hope we are searching for. I’m excited to get to share it you all, and i offer my thanks yet again to Eva and Persephone for their beautiful contributions.

Gavotte from Suite in G Minor, BWV 822
J.S. Bach
Public Domain
Performed by Carter Meints

I think it’s so appropriate that we hear from two of this congregation’s young pianists for this service on Becoming, as we get the chance to witness them in the process of becoming adult musicians and to encourage them on their way. We are always delighted to hear from Carter! I searched for some program notes for this particular Bach work but didn’t come up with much. So, I will share with you that Bach wrote some of the most brilliant works for keyboard, himself being an accomplished organist and harpsichord/clavichord player. Bach worked to develop our modern system of tonality and pitch for the keyboard instruments and wrote much beloved keyboard music as a way to showcase the capabilities of this system of tuning. This particular Suite in G Minor seems to show up in many piano books for people who are wanting to begin learning to play Bach’s keyboard works. Well done, Carter!

Becoming Me
Used with Permission

We are so grateful for LEA always coming through with brilliant, original works that explore our Soul Matters themes. I think we will all enjoy and benefit from this video. After the song, LEA shares some of her creative process and inspiration behind the song, and I think it’s worth watching all the way through, though I doubt we will do that during the service. If you’d like to see the whole thing, it’s available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z34t2GdlNos
May we be inspired by LEA’s process of becoming as we go along continuing to become ourselves, together in this community.

St. Louis Blues
Music by W.C. Handy
Public Domain
Arr. Emily McKinney
Performed by Jazmine Landorf

April is Jazz Appreciation Month, referred to as JAM, which is just a delightful little play on words. I’m so excited for everyone to hear Jazmine perform for this church community for the first time, with this small, recognizable portion of St. Louis Blues by W.C. Handy. She’s becoming quite the fine young pianist and we are so fortunate to get to be in her cheering section.

Here’s a little excerpt of some great notes about the piece: “St. Louis Blues” by W. C. Handy was published in 1914 and first recorded in 1916. It succeeded first as a blues song, was the first blues to succeed as a pop song and is basic to jazz repertoire. ASCAP called it the “most recorded song of the first half of the twentieth century, outdone in the entire century only by “Silent Night”. Jazzstandards.com ranks in #20. “St. Louis Blues” was the title of a 1958 film biography of W. C. Handy, which starred Nat King Cole.”

You can read more about W.C. and his life and legacy here.

The closing words are Go Boldly, by Jean M Olson.

May you be brave enough to expose
your aching woundedness
and reveal your vulnerability.
May you speak your deepest truths, knowing that they will change as you do.
May you sing the music within you,
composing your own melody,
playing your song with all your heart.
May you draw, paint, sculpt, and sew,
showing the world your vision.
May you write letters, poetry, biography,
slogans, graffiti, the great novel,
laying bare your words to love and hate.
May you love even though your heart
breaks again and again.
And until the end of your days,
may your life be filled
with possibilities and courage.

Categories: Sermon