Closing Celebration, General Assembly 2014
General Assembly 2014 Event 506
Join members and friends of the Unitarian Universalist Musicians Network as we reflect on the work we’ve done together in Providence, and look ahead to the ministries that await us in the year to come!
“Again, As Evening’s Shadow Falls” (Singing the Living Tradition 48)
DAVID: I hope you'll agree that it feels right to acknowledge all the good work that we have done together over the last five days.
DAVID: It feels right to attribute worth, if you will, to the time we have shared. It feels right to worship. Our worship leaders for these last few minutes are representatives of the Unitarian Universalist Musicians Network. Our hope is that this time of music and imagery will serve as the beginning of your gentle reentry into the rest of your year—that the sounds of the sites we share in this time might remind you of the ways that this week has challenged you, has empowered you, has given you hope, has motivated you to act, has strengthened your connection to our beloved community, and has reminded you of the ways that you—and only you—can help to sculpt our community into what it might become tomorrow.
Friends, your UU Musicians Network invites you to join us wherever you are in singing the words of Samuel Longfellow. Would you rise in body or spirit?
[MUSIC—SAMUEL LONGFELLOW, "AGAIN, AS EVENING'S SHADOW FALLS"]
Choir Anthem: “Draw the Circle Wide”
[MUSIC—"DRAW THE CIRCLE WIDE"]
DAVID: When slaves in the American South sang "Hush," they were warning one another of danger nearby—a slave master or a bounty hunter who could put a quick, or even a deadly, end to a journey toward freedom. Most of us in this room don't know the fear that motivated these words, but we do need to remind one another both that our work to reach out in love is easily derailed, and also that there are voices calling our names, even now, to continue in our work for justice.
“Hush” (Singing the Journey 1040)
DAVID: Could you rise in body or spirit with us?
DAVID: Just hum it with us.
DAVID: Would you be seated?
AMANDA: In the Jewish scriptures, the book of Genesis tells us that as Jacob flees from the brother whose birthright and blessing he has stolen, he collapses with exhaustion, and dreams of a ladder that climbs to heaven, with angels ascending and descending upon it. This vision convinces Jacob that in spite of this questionable past, in spite of his fears, he has a holy purpose—and that through him, all peoples on Earth will be blessed.
The English Unitarian, Sarah Flower Adams, reflecting on this story, wrote a poem that spoke of wandering in darkness and needing a transcendent courage to carry on. Adams' text was translated soon after into Spanish by Juan B. Cabrera. And it is Cabrera's lyrics that appear in Las Voces del Camino, and that I invite you to sing with us now.
“Más cerca, oh Dios, de ti” (Las Voces del Camino 17)
[MUSIC—JUAN B. CABRERA, "MAS CERCA, OH DIOS, DE TI"]
Choir Anthem: “Go Out”
DAVID: We too can be the vessels through whom all people on this earth are blessed, as we are reminded by the words of early American minister John Murray, who's gospel of religious tolerance and unconditional love is as relevant and refreshing today as it was during his own time. Our final choir anthem of the 2014 General Assembly, "Go Out," bears this text with the Universalist message beloved by people of many faiths all around the world.
“Go Lifted Up” (Singing the Journey 1057)
[MUSIC—JOHN MURRAY, "GO OUT"]
DAVID: Can we do that, friends? Can we go out and let our lights shine?
DAVID: You'd think that would be a simple question, wouldn't you? Can we go out and let our lights shine?
DAVID: I know that we can. It has been a tremendous privilege to serve as your GA Music Coordinator for these two years,
DAVID: But it is time now for me to hand the reins over to the person who will be standing before you in my place next year in Portland. He's been shadowing me this year and getting his feet wet, both behind the scenes and on stage, and I tell you, I simply cannot wait to see what worship looks like next year with this gentleman at the helm. Here to introduce our final congregational song for the Unitarian Universalist Association's 2014 General Assembly, please help me to make very welcome from Knoxville, Tennessee, my colleague and very, very good friend, Mr. Wendel Werner.
WENDEL: I haven't done anything yet.
DAVID: Yes he has.
WENDEL: I said yes.
DAVID: (LAUGHS) He said yes.
WENDEL: Our teal hymnal, Singing the Journey, includes a piece written by Mortimer Barron when he was the Music Director at Murray Unitarian Universalist Church in Attleboro, Massachusetts. It's nighttime imagery may cause us to skip over it as we plan for a Sunday morning worship, but I think you'll agree that this piece is a perfect way to end our time together here in Providence. I'll sing through the piece once, and then I invite you to sing with me as we repeat the hymn two times. I see it.
WENDEL: You're done.
[MUSIC—MORTIMER BARRON, "GO LIFTED UP"]
WENDEL: Join us, please, two times.
[MUSIC—MORTIMER BARRON, "GO LIFTED UP"]