Ten Beautiful Lives

“Fly with the Spirit far from the deep woods of your worry, up and away from what you thought could hold you down, out into the open sky of new beginnings…”

-Rev Steven Charleston

Dear good people of North Parish,

I am so sorry that the hits don’t stop coming. The white supremacist mass shooting in Buffalo, NY last Saturday is heart-rending and horribly irreversible. Ten more beautiful lives lost.

I believe that not just one but many bear the blame. Can you imagine what would happen if even 50% of the energy, time, money and politicking of the so-called “pro-life” movement was put into fighting the death caused by white supremacy or our gun obsessed culture, the fossil fuel industry or disparities in health care, poverty or war? There is so much to mourn, and so much to fight for.

How we need a life-affirming community to keep us steady, to remind us of our agency and all that is good in the world when so much is going wrong. This past Monday through Wednesday, I attended my bi-annual UU ministers’ study group in Centerville on the Cape; it was the first time we’ve met in two and a half years and it was so good to be together. We always read and write short papers on a book or books. This time it was Wilmington’s Lie: The Murderous Coup of 1898 and the Rise of White Supremacy by David Zucchino, winner of 2021 Pulitzer. I had never heard of the coup. Have you?

In 1898, white Southern Democratic politicians and ex-Confederates engaged in meticulous planning for this successful coup or “white revolution” which helped to end Reconstruction and set off Jim Crow in the state and entire South. Their playbook was eerily familiar. I’ll share a bit more about it in my sermon next Sunday on Memorial Day weekend.  This Sunday, the Climate Justice Team will complete their three-part series with a service featuring the personal stories of four NP members. Many thanks to them, and to everyone who contributes to our worship services and all who make North Parish such an amazing community.

At the Annual Meeting I started to thank some of the past year’s leaders but was conscious of taking too much time and cut myself off before naming you all. Thank you, thank you – to everyone who has helped us make it thus far, to those who have stepped up to take part in the leadership relay race, and to those who are taking yet another lap around the track. Remember to take a rest, and keep breathing!

Yours, in community, gratitude and faith,

Rev. Lee

P.S. In case you are curious about the book, here is a Summary and here is a link to an NPR Story and Interview (37 minutes.)