The Healing Power of Love

Published by AV Coordinator on

Rev. Michelle Scott-Huffman

Moment of Perspective – AJ Fox

Our next reading is a responsive one, by Naomi King. After each section that I read, you all say We open our hearts with love.

When the world’s violence shatters the joy of a moment
We pause and reach out for the hands that remain

We open our hearts with love.

When despair rises as a monster from the deep and drags down one of our own, our answer is that

We open our hearts with love.

When hatred and anger rage in fire and suffering
We bend to pick up the wounded, to bind up ourselves and

We open our hearts with love.

When fear whispers “build more gates” “add more locks” “the blessed are those who defend themselves,” we rock those fears to sleep and let them rest as

We open our hearts with love.

People will do unspeakably cruel and horrible things; we know this fact, we live and die this daily, all around the world, in every community and every wasteland. But we know the answer is found only with one action, and so

We open our hearts with love.

Hatred never ceases by hatred, but by love alone can be healed. This is the truth we affirm. We live with courage and with a wider and wider circle of that force that bends our lives to ones of mercy, justice, and compassion.

We open our hearts with love.

It’s the truth: just by being born you are loved. There is something within you and every person that can be loved.

We open our hearts with love.

In love, we pray for those families, those individuals, all the persons here and everywhere who are desperately sure that there is not enough love in the world for them to have some, who are desperately sure that they do not matter. In love with life, in love with the Beloved, we turn to answer that desperation with assurance: you are loved, you are loveable, we will and do love you. Now, attend to your life’s work: to love. It’s the only legacy that matters.

We Walk in Love
Words: Deanna Witkowski and Lemuel Colon
Music: Deanna Witkowski
Used with Permission
Performed by Emily McKinney

Lift Every Voice and Sing v.3
The Black National Anthem
James Weldon Johnson
Music: J. Rosamond Johnson
Permission Granted

Hair Love
Oscar-Winning Short Film
Sony Pictures Animation

Visual description of Hair Love:

The video is a cartoon-style depiction of a Black girl and her dad. The girl is wearing a princess style dress. The video opens with her getting out of bed and looking at the calendar and realizing it’s a special day – the day is marked with a heart. She gets up and runs to the bathroom, takes off her satin sleep scarf (protects the hair), and her hair poofs out dramatically to about three times the size of her head.

She sets her ipad on the sink to look at a youtube channel. She is scrolling through hair style how-to videos with her cat, who disapproves of everything she “suggests.” The cat gets so disgusted that he leaves. She finds a hairstyle she loves and starts daydreaming/remembering her mom doing her hair. Her mom is Black with a styled afro in tight, defined curls. Her mom says “it just took a little bit of work, and a whole lot of love,” then kisses her cheek.

It cuts to the end of the video where the person in the video says “see? wasn’t that easy?” The girl looks in the mirror and she’s totally wrecked her hair. It is awful looking. She looks disappointed. Her dad with dreadlocks walks in and is so shocked that he drops the laundry basket he was carrying. Her dad is Black with dreadlocks. He checks his watch, picks up the girl, and runs to the bathroom.

Once in the bathroom, he looks at all the hair products and tools and suddenly sees a hat! He picks up the hat gratefully, but his daughter blows it out of his hand with a hairdryer and shakes her head no. He hesitantly starts trying to comb her hair, which turns into a boxing scene where he tries to “tame” her hair, which in this vision has turned into a sort of amorphous hair blob twice his size. He tries hair ties. It looks like he’s won! But then the hair snaps the hair ties and towers over him threateningly.

The vision ends. He is sitting on the bed with his face in his hands. He comes back over to his daughter and sadly puts the hat on her head. She looks at it and starts to cry. She takes it off, throws it on the ground, and runs out of the room to her bathroom and shuts and locks the door behind her.

In the hallway, her dad slumps against the wall, seemingly defeated. He hears the video playing from inside the bathroom. She opens the door, hesitantly comes out of the bathroom, video still playing, and hands the ipad to her dad. It is revealed that the woman in the hair tutorial videos is her mom. As he watches the video, he tears up and smiles. She looks at him hopefully. He affectionately touches her face, picks her up, and returns to the bathroom.

He begins to style her hair following the tutorial. It has a montage of all the things he is doing to style the hair. It seems to take a moderately long time. They both look in the mirror together. The girl is so happy with her hair! It looks just like the video. She turns to her dad and jumps into his arms for a hug.

Dad gets dressed for the day and takes his daughter with him, but not before she turns and runs back to her bedroom to take a picture off the wall to take with her.

The scene cuts to the mother in a hospital room in a wheelchair. She is wearing a yellow headscarf. She doesn’t have any hair anymore. Her daughter runs in and gives her a big, smiling hug. She shows off her hair and her mom loves it. Dad walks in with a beautiful bouquet of yellow flowers. He leans over to kiss his partner. Daughter tells mom that her dad did her hair. Her mom looks impressed.

The girl takes the picture from before and gives it to her mom. It is revealed to be a drawing of her mom, bald, with no scarf, and a yellow crown on top of her head. Her mom has a big smile with closed eyes.

Her mom gets a little teary eyed, touches her heart, and takes off her headscarf. Her daughter touches her head lovingly, then leans in for a hug. Dad also leans in and they hug each other.

Dad picks up the mom’s purse and wheels her out of the room. Behind the wheelchair, he fist bumps his daughter. Cut to black.

I’ll now share the words of Frederick E Gillis.

May the love that overcomes all differences,
that heals all wounds,
that puts to flight all fears,
that reconciles all who are separated,
Be in us and among us
now and always. Amen.

Categories: Sermon