I was standing right outside my office as the frantic excitement of the junior choirs
getting into costume for the first dress rehearsal built. Just like so many years
before, when other children, corralled by other parents, experienced the same
We are held by these traditions, these rhythms of institutional life.
Especially when so much in the wider world is broken and still breaking.
In a time of war, in a time of so much destruction and suffering, it was even more
exquisite to see these children so bursting with excitement, and to see Ian and
Simon and Camila, so masterfully corralling and supporting them.
I thought of these words from Rilke,
O tell us, poet, what you do. – I praise.
Yes, but the deadly and the monstrous phase,
How do you take it, how resist? – I praise.
But the anonymous, the nameless maze,
How summon it, how call it, poet? – I praise.
What right is yours, in all these varied ways,
Under a thousand masks yet true? – I praise.
And why do stillness and the roaring blaze,
Both star and storm acknowledge you? – because I praise.
And somehow it seemed even more beautiful that the musical was coming now,
precisely now, in the midst of these complex times.
Filled with the words of the poet, I took the picture above, my daughter Aliyah and
a girl her age, Vivian, who just came with her family this summer, a wonderful
new addition to our community.
And it filled me with so much joy, as it always does.
And I thought of other musicals, after 9-11, these moments of joy and connection,
of community and creativity and care.
This is, to me, so much of the beauty of what we build together. No matter what
comes, no matter what we are facing as a human family, we come together to
source ourselves on love and joy.
We take in the fullness of what we are facing as a human family, and we recall
ourseleves, we rejoin ourselves to all that is life giving and good.
This coming Sunday, the 19th we will have two very special services, more of this
joy in the face of so much complexity.
Our Sunday morning services will be led by me along with our Cuba Atkins
Legacy Task Force, digging into the legacy of money poured into the foundational
times of the church, money which was made from slavery in sugar plantations in
We will have wonderful Cuban musicians as guests, and will hear from members
of the task force along with myself, opening up the next phases of exploration and
dialogue around what repentance and repair looks like for us as an institution.
And then later that night, at 7:00, the Belmont Religious Council will be hosting
our annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service at Payson Park and everyone is invited.
Especially now, our interfaith connections with our Jewish and Muslim neighbors
here in Belmont matter. So do please come if you can, it is a lovely service.
And, of course, come to the musical, there are still some tickets available. It might
be just the dose of joy and love you are hungry for in this complex time.
And know, as always, that I am here, that Sofia is here if you need to talk or to
process all that is going on. Do not hesitate to reach out.
So much love to you all,