Truer Stories

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by Rev Dr Kelly Murphy Mason, UU Society of Wellesley Hills, MA (originally delivered Oct 28, 2018)
read by Elizabeth Self

Moment of Perspective – Holding Space for Community Concerns – AJ Fox

The opening words are And Yet You Persist, by Rev Gretchen Haley.

Though you have been warned
And given plenty of explanations

Reasons to do otherwise
You have persisted
To claim a life of joy, and justice
To carve out this time
This space for the renewal
Of your own heart

Despite all the reasons, the resistance
Fighting for your attention, luring you towards fear
You persist
To practice gratitude
For this day, this life
That has been given
This chance to begin again
And so let us gather
That we might
Offer one another courage, strength
Healing, hope
And this promise to
Persist in kindness,
Persevere in compassion
Prevail in a life that is for more than ourselves
Come, let us worship together

Prelude in C Major from the Well-Tempered Clavier, BWV 846
Public Domain Work
Performed by Eva Riebold

This instrumental prelude is so well-loved and is seemingly timeless. It sounds like resilience to me, with its waves of various emotions rising, falling, sometimes crashing through, with a steady undercurrent that grounds and propels the music. Each time I listen to this, I am reminded that the waves of sorrow and joy will come up and wash over me, and yet, I am still here. The things which ground me most deeply in this life remain. Our thanks to Eva for being willing to let us pull the recording back out to share it this month. Here’s some good program notes about the piece:

“For J.S. Bach’s enduring set of preludes and fugues for keyboard instruments, we find these lovely program notes: ‘The Prelude and Fugue in C major, the portal through which we enter the Well-tempered Clavier, is technically extremely simple. Amateur pianists who can play nothing else from the WTC can play this prelude. It is seemingly nothing more than a series of gently rippled broken chords. It is “fine-spun like a spider’s web” (Cecil Gray), yet written in full-textured, five-part harmony throughout. The first great Bach scholar, Philipp Spitta, called this prelude “a piece of indescribable fascination, in which a grand and beatific melody seems to float past like the song of an angel heard in the silence of night through the murmur of trees, groves and waters.” Full program notes available here: “

  • Emily McKinney, Music Director

That’s a Plenty
by Lew Pollack, arr. John Prescott
Performed by John and Luke Prescott and Eva Riebold

Oh what a JOY to have John, Luke, and Eva recording in our beautiful space and sharing such lively music with us! I can’t speak for anyone else, but this kind of music is, itself, a source of resilience for me. I’m reminded of the early days of this pandemic when John and Eva and Luke were kind enough to lighten the dark days last spring with the gift of beautiful recorded music and I remember how it gave me such hope that we would be able to gather as musicians and as a church community again some day.

Our sincere thanks to those three, and you can find out a bit more about the piece they are playing here:

  • Emily McKinney, Music Director

Give Us Justice, Give Us Peace
Dona Nobis Pacem Round
Public Domain Work
New text from BLM
New music by Emily McKinney
Performed by the Virtual First UU Choir

I planned to share this recording when we initially thought this service might consist of some sharing from our Social Action Committee members on the connection between Resilience, social action, and justice. I’ve decided to share it this week even though we have a different message, because it’s never the wrong time to remember that the only path to peace in our world is through justice. Not just thoughts and prayers, but policy and change. The kind of work we are talking about is not easy or quick and it will require us to lean into community together, to lean into our resilience together, for the long haul.

  • Emily McKinney, Music Director

Peacherine Rag
by Scott Joplin, arr. John Prescott
performed by John and Luke Prescott and Eva Riebold

This postlude is just too much fun. We really appreciate John, Luke, and Eva for sharing it with us. I’m always excited to hear some Scott Joplin ragtime numbers that I didn’t know before. I couldn’t find any information specifically about this piece, but I did enjoy reading more about the life of Scott Joplin, which you can do here:

  • Emily McKinney, Music Director

The 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.

Categories: Sermon