Message from the Minister

— by William Levwood, UUCT Minister

Keep us from giving up

Hurricane Florence.

Hurricane Michael.

Pipe bombs sent to politicians.

Eleven people tragically murdered at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.

The President of the United States of America planning to send 15,000 troops to stop a caravan of refugees.

Rampant voter suppression in Georgia, and elsewhere across the United States.

This congregation raising five or six times our normal amount in our Special Collection two Sundays ago in support of hurricane relief for UUs in Bay County, and through their social justice efforts support for other climate change refugees.

120,000 dollars raised by Muslims in Pittsburgh to pay for the funerals of the eleven.

The possibility that Idaho will elect the first Native American governor in U.S. history.

The possibility that Georgia will elect the first African American woman governor in U.S. history.

The possibility that Florida will elect the first African American governor in Florida’s history.

The possibility that 1.5 million Americans in Florida will regain the right to vote.

I’m reminded of the words of Muskogee (Creek) poet Joy Harjo.

“Keep us from giving up in this land of nightmares which is also the land of miracles.”

Sunday we will sing hymn #366 Heleluyan. Heleluyan is a Muskogee (Creek) hymn, which the Muskogee (Creek) Nation has given permission for others to sing. It is thought to have originated before the Muskogee (Creek), along with the Cherokee, were removed from their homeland, forced to walk along The Trail of Tears 800 miles to a newly created reservation in Oklahoma. Along the way, especially when someone died from the harsh conditions, this hymn was often sung. Heleluyan means Hallelujah. Singing these words of praise at a time of tragedy was an act of defiance, of hope, of survival. May it be so for us as well.

“Keep us from giving up in this land of nightmares which is also the land of miracles. / We sing our song which we’ve been promised has no beginning or end.”

Sermons given by our Minister, William Levwood, can be found on the Worship Recordings Page.

This message was published in the November 4 – 17, 2018 issue of The Meridian.