The Deep Well of Appreciation

To rise, to rise each morning

with the faint glow of starlight on our backs

as we head into the joys, the surprises, the challenges of each day

sometimes with awe and wonder, perhaps expectation,

perhaps dread…

 

To rise, to rise each day peering over waterlines,

sandbags, walls, garbage, bunkers…

in wind swept deserts and streets

lined with sweet smelling olive trees alike

What a gift we are given when we can rise

in freedom, of some sort, to some degree. (more…)

Music and Hospitality

At the 2001 General Assembly in Cleveland, OH, delegates marched to the baseball stadium to protest the use of the name “Indians” as the team mascot. This effort was particularly cathartic for me. I was a relatively new UU and a long time fan of another baseball team with an equally racially-charged mascot, the Atlanta Braves. I honestly had never been bothered by such team names, and the march and rally challenged me to rethink the insensitivity and privilege of the dominant culture, of which I am a part.

As the delegates filed out of the hall and into a pouring rain, someone started singing “One More Step”, a hymn written by Canadian UU composer, Joyce Poley. No one had copies of Singing the Living Tradition in hand, and it appeared to be an impromptu decision to sing together as we marched in peaceful protest. I was moved to tears as I began a journey of bringing music to the cause of social witness. Although we were guests in that city, our music brought a calming, yet galvanizing, presence to the protest. (more…)

One Hundred Percent

Editor’s Note: This post comes from Pastor Prayers, the blog of the Rev. Parisa Parsa, who describes herself as a mother and a minister serving a wonderful congregation in Milton, MA. Parisa writes:

This is the text I wrote as the basis for my homily at the UU Vespers service at Occupy Boston on October 16, 2011.  I spoke without notes, so the homily delivered was ‘adapted.’

Isn’t it great to be here?

It is a thing of beauty to see people coming together across political persuasions and ages and ethnicity and just about everything else in order to say: we are all in the same boat.

In order to say: we are all in the same boat and we are not about to let it sink!  It is ours to repair and restore together. (more…)

“We should do a service on this!”

It is not uncommon when Unitarian Universalist congregations want to take on something important – to address a big issue or begin some new action – to turn to the worship service.  “We should do a service on this!”  someone will say.  Sunday is, after all, the time when the greatest number of people is gathered together in one place.  If you want to get a message out, or want people to feel the importance of something, the sanctuary on Sunday seems to be the place to do it.

Yet in recent years people from congregations of all kinds have offered the critique that worship that focuses on social justice is “too political;” that it’s not “spiritual enough.”  By this, people mostly seem to mean that a lot of so-called “social justice” Sundays feel more like a fascinating presentation on the topic, or a rallying call to action, rather than a soul- and life-transforming experience of worship.

(more…)