I wrote the previous post on January 6 before the attempted coup by white supremacists, in case you were wondering. Today I will attempt to capture some of my thoughts in my homily, though my head is still spinning, like everyone else’s.
Catching up to 2021
The annus horribilis 2020 has finally ended. May 2021 be better! So far, with the election of Rev. Raphael Warnock, it’s looking up!
Meanwhile, First Church Unitarian had its (virtual) year-end services, the Christmas Eve Candlelight Service and Potpourri Sunday. This past Sunday we had our traditional year-starter, the Remembrance Service. The rest of January will follow the Soul Matters theme of imagination. I’m looking forward to it!
I must recommend to you this incredible vocal performance by the 4-year-old daughter of our Music Director. It’s one minute and 8 seconds of time incredibly well spent, so do yourself a favor and listen! Video:
Happy Winter Solstice! Happy Yule!
Yesterday’s online-only service (you can watch here) got me in the Yuletide spirit. I don’t mean to pat myself on the back for this, because it was mostly the Yule ceremony as done annually by parishioners that got me into the mindset. Usually, the Yule celebration would happen on a Saturday night, but pandemic logistics made that essentially impossible. I was pleased that it worked quite well for a virtual service. It was sweet to see so many faces from the congregation — and to see some stark-but-lovely winter solstice scenery. It was a bonus to have The Firehouse Band’s version of “The Christians and the Pagans” for the gathering video music. Also, The Church Choir was in full voice and sounded amazing! Many thanks to parishioners Carole Tillis and Carolyn McCreary who did so much to make the Yule celebration happen.
“reminiscent of cross burnings”
I have been sickened by what protesters “attending a Pro-Trump rally” in D.C. did over the weekend. There was violence, and there were blatantly racist actions like burning Black Lives Matter signs at historically black churches.
The Rev. Dr. Ianther M. Mills (senior pastor of one of the churches in question) said, “For me it was reminiscent of cross burnings.” You can read more on this CNN webpage.
Obviously racism is nothing new in this country. But it is beyond troubling that blatant racists with a penchant for intimidation and sometimes violence have been winked at by the President of the USA for the past four years.
I hope and pray that we can get to a better place in this country before it is too late. May 2021 be the beginning of a new era.
I know Hanukkah is considered to be a minor Jewish holiday, but I have always thought it was a lovely holiday in so many ways. Today I attempted to share one small part of my appreciation for the holiday (you can watch the service here.) I bought a menorah (or hanukkia) for the Hanukkah of 1993, my last year in the US Navy. I can’t even remember what motivated me to do it. I was in the process of applying to seminary that year, so maybe the study of world religions was on my mind. I have lit the menorah for Hanukkah ever since, trying to be as respectful as I can. I am not Jewish, so it’s certainly not the same experience as it would be for a Jew. But I do feel closer to the Divine when I do it, and I feel solidarity with my Jewish siblings when I do it. I hope that that’s a sign that my practice is for the good.