Measured Extravagance

25 November 2001 - 6:46 p.m.

Whew! The services went well, even though Jason, Susan and I all had colds, and Tom was a last-minute replacement for the scheduled lay leader. People laughed in the right places, borrowed my copies of Kushner's essays and Dar's CD, came up afterwards and spilled out their own stories about being driven meshuggeneh by the holidays...

First Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashville
Order of Service
Sunday, November 25, 2001

Morning Songs

#295 Sing Out Praises for the Journey [1]

Look inside, your soul's the kindling
of the hearth fire pilgrims knew.
Find the spirit, always restless,
find it in each mind and heart...

#334 When Shall We Learn [2]

#88 Calm Soul of All Things

Inviting the Bell - Tom Surface

Prelude - "Gigue" (Handel) - Susan Snyder

Opening Words - by Fra Giovanni - Peg Duthie [3]

Chalice Lighting - Tom Surface

Welcome and Announcements - Tom Surface

Joys and Concerns - Jeany Martin

Offertory - "Voluntary" (Samuel Jackson) - Susan Snyder

Responsive Reading #489 - Peg Duthie

When love is felt or fear is known,
When holidays and holy days and such times come,
When anniversaries arrive by calendar or by consciousness,
When seasons come, as seasons do, old and known, but somehow new,
When lives are born or people die,
When something sacred's sensed in soil or sky,
Mark the time.

Respond with thought or prayer or smile or grief,
Let nothing living slip between the fingers of the mind,
For all of these are holy things we will not, cannot, find again.
- Max A. Coots

Music - "The Christians and the Pagans" by Dar Williams - Jason Shelton

Meditation and Silence - Peg Duthie

Heaven has assigned a role to each of us. It's the only one we're going to get. Sometimes we don't like our part. We want someone else's lines, costume, entrace. I, for instance, think I should have been assigned the role of starting quarterback for the San Francisco '49ers.

"Sorry, that part's taken. You get to be the rabbi in a small town in Massachusetts. That's the only part we've got for you. You want it or not?"

If we say, "Okay, I'll take the part. I choose to play it with all my strength," then, even though we probably won't make it inot the National Football League, it won't matter. We wouldn't take the job even if they coaxed us because we'll be having too much fun being who we are. But if, on the other hand, we sulk or stubbornly try to seize some other actor's part by pretending we're someone else, then we just wind up being a second-rate actor in a "B" movie of our life story.

I counsel my students on the eve of their graduation from rabbinic school, all terrified that they won't get the job they want: "Relax, because God is going to put you where God wants you -- whether you like it or not."

Lawrence Kushner, "Bats", Eyes Remade for Wonder

Sermon - "The Patterns We Obey, The Patterns We May Choose" - Peg Duthie

Hymn - #22 Dear Weaver of Our Lives' Design

Chalice Extinguishing - Tom Surface

Benediction - by W.H. Auden - Peg Duthie

Yours the choice, to whom the gods awarded
the language of learning and the language of love,
crooked to move as a moneybug or cancer
or straight as a dove.
Go in peace.

Postlude - "Festival Voluntary" (Cutler & Johnson) - Susan Snyder

[1] Music by Henry Purcell, words by Mark M. DeWolfe (rev. Joyce Painter Rice).

[2] The composer took the first two lines of the first stanza, the first two lines of the second stanza, the last four lines of the fourth stanza, the first two and last two lines of the last stanza. A clever abridgement!

[3] "How did you get stuck with this?" my belle-mere demanded. "I wouldn't call it stuck," I told her, "it's going to be fun!" Which is why I volunteered to coordinate the service when our guest speaker arrangements didn't work out.

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