It has been such a joy and a blessing for me to be singing with our choir these past few months. It feels my soul. A few weeks ago, Lisa introduced us to the piece we just sang, and I loved it’s invitation, in the midst of pain and strife, to let peace flow down like rain.
A couple of weeks ago I was in the car, listening to a conversation on the radio about the trouble at our Southern border, where people fleeing violence and poverty, some of them having walked over a thousand miles, are trying to get into this county. And our government’s response is this new policy of separating children from their parents, in a effort to discourage them from trying to come here at all. One of the people on the radio asked, “Where are the faith communities?” And I said back, “We’re coming!”
I come from a family of happy criers. We trace it back to my Grandpa Bobby, who used to just gaze across the lunch table at my Grandma Lou, tears streaming down his face. It seems that I, too, have recently joined this club, and I really love my newfound ability to just weep with joy when the time is right. I love how in-the-moment it lets me be and how connected it helps me feel to the Mystery.
Every now and then, we don’t invite you to come forward and light candles of joy and sorrow in our prayer time. Instead, we ask you to speak aloud the names of people and the things you’re praying for, and thinking of, and grateful for, from where you’re sitting. Sometimes, like today, we do this because of timing—with the Veggie Cafe and our annual meeting today, it would be good for the service to end sooner rather than later, and with spoken candles, you never know how long that can take.
But have you noticed, that when we invite you to say aloud your joys and what you’re grateful for, there are fewer of these than when you name sorrows and concerns?
Our worship theme this month is transcendence. Early on, Josh Goulet preached about the transcendent as that which is beyond our ability to adequately name or describe, but still, available to people across the theological spectrum. Last Sunday Jason Shelton shared with us the transcendent power that comes through music and singing. Today I’m thinking about our Transcendentalist forebears, those women and men who, in the early 19th century, broke from what they saw as the stodgy religion of their day, encouraging people to trust their own experiences and find the Holy not just in church, but in their lives, and out in the world.