Monday, February 22, 2010

Finding a Bell Choir and More

I loved playing with a bell choir when we lived in New Jersey, but I did not feel a connection with the church and would leave after our musical prelude. In searching for a bell choir to join here, however, I may have found a community and a church. This is unexpected because I have never felt comfortable in any church or temple before.

The local First Parish in Wayland is a Unitarian Universalist church. I had never heard of this liberal religious tradition. The program identifies the purpose of the congregation to "provide a place where freedom of religious thought can flourish, where we can to devote ourselves to explore together ideas about values, ethics and morality, and to act for the good of the local and larger community...." When I just reread this description, it didn't sound too different from most churches, but the feeling of tolerance and charitable spirit is definitely a world apart from anything I have experience before. The two meetings I have attended have been incredibly welcoming, inclusive and thought provoking.

The first talked about forgiveness. It challenged the story of original sin. The minister discussed the story of Adam and Eve not as a story of sin and punishment, but rather as one of God sharing knowledge with man. Once Adam and Eve were expelled from Eden, unlike animals, they could have a more full life, feeling many sorrows but also many joys and love, and the complexity of choice and fulfillment. It was eye opening.

At yesterday's service the minister discussed how even though the problems of the world are great, we can make a difference. So many people at the church seem to be doing just that. They house the homeless, feed the hungry, and rebuild New Orleans during annual trips. Then a doctor from the congregation spoke about his recent 14 day trip to Haiti where for up to 16 hours per day he operated on patients.

The minister quoted a Salon article by Laura Wagner, an American who had lived and worked in Haiti long before the quake. She was injured, eventually rescued and is recovering back home in America.

"Social scientists who study catastrophes say there are no natural disasters. In every calamity, it is inevitably the poor who suffer more, die more, and will continue to suffer and die after the cameras turn their gaze elsewhere. Do not be deceived by claims that everyone was affected equally -- fault lines are social as well as geological. After all, I am here, with my white skin and my U.S. citizenship, listening to birds outside the window in the gray-brown of a North Carolina winter, while the people who welcomed me into their lives are still in Port-au-Prince, within the wreckage, several of them still not accounted for."


My son and I will be playing with the bell choir in the church next week. I'm happy to get back to music making and plan to stay for the rest of the service too.

Here's a video of our New Jersey bell choir from our last concert.

And it is Monday, time for my lovely thing of the week:
I suppose it would be finding a bell choir, and perhaps finding a church(?)!


rosalyn said...

Sounds really wonderful.

heather said...

i want to play in a bell choir too. i like the unitarian church here. i wish i had someone to motivate me to go more. and a full night's sleep. olive still wakes me up at night. and actually so does max sometimes. anyways...that just sounds so wholesome and real and spiritually interesting which is all i ever want in life!! i hope you are feeling a bit better since you wrote me today.....maybe going sunday will help a bit. i've been there, though, you know. it is awesome how your family still loves you through a big down phase, and when you are ready to pull yourself up, or roll over and forgive yourself, or scream into the pillow to move your energy and make your voice hoarse, you will. we don't usually move till we're ready. sometimes they down phases reveal a lot to us, thati feel could not have been revealed under any other circumstances. it would be nice if it didn't have to take us to such a dark place though, to get us to whole up in bed. what if we could just say, hey, i feel like crap, i;m going to go to bed, and then we don't beat ourselves up AT all for feeling so crappy. does this relate to you at all? i am just typing and typing, and it's just what i know from my own experience, what i felt like sharing after reading your words today. i really love your blog. i love coming here and seeing what you think about. it is always so interesting to me. and the way i know i love it here is that i never get bored when i read whatever you're talking about.

i can't wait to hear about your next heating bill. and i'm curious if you guys burn wood too? could you add an insert? that costs a lot though i know. i had no idea there was such a thing as pumped in insulation. that is so neat, really. how efficient.
and i love your book reports. i know i can trust your recommendations. i can just tell. i hope it doesn't feel like i am trying to boost you up to much. everything i am saying is 100% true.

love.. heather

ps~it makes me so happy to know you do the bell choir with your son. that is the kind of thing i want to do with my kids as they grow older. i'd do anything with them, really. i just love that you do stuff together. it could be poopscooping and i'd love that too.