We are recording this on Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020 – and the United States is waiting as the outcome of an incredibly close presidential election is decided. No matter who wins this election, it feels like we are living Ecclesiastes 3 in real time, except the stark opposites that Ecclesiastes notes are not being observed at separate times, they are being observed at the same time. I’ll be honest, I’m not what to do with that.
Our plan is to stream live on Sunday morning after this worship service airs. I might have a short sermon for you, we will definitely offer prayer. But while we wait, I wanted to share a song that Shawn Edgecomb tracked down for us. This summer, Shawn was in touch with one of our former choir directors, John Coons. She asked if he would be willing to send us some music that we could use in worship and he sent us the video we are about to play. The song is called, “Hey Tomorrow”, written by Jim Croce. As I reviewed the lyrics, I thought they could words for a prayer for our country at this time.
Lyrics to “Hey Tomorrow” by Jim Croce
Hey tomorrow, where are you goin' Do you have some room for me 'Cause night is fallin' and the dawn is callin' I'll have a new day if she'll have me
Hey tomorrow, I can't show you nothin' You've seen it all pass by your door So many times I said I been changin' Then slipped into patterns of what happened before
'Cause I've been wasted and I've over-tasted All the things that life gave to me And I've been trusted, abused and busted And I've been taken by those close to me
Hey tomorrow you've gotta believe that I'm through wastin' what's left of me 'Cause night is fallin' and the dawn is callin' I'll have a new day if she'll have me
Hey tomorrow, where are you goin' Do you have some room for me 'Cause night is fallin' and the dawn is callin' I'll have a new day if she'll have me I'll have a new day if she'll have me
In 2010, when First Parish was in the midst of deciding whether to become an “Open and Affirming” congregation, John wrote this reflection on his Facebook page:
Today, to a packed chapel, and speaking last on a panel of four amazing members of our congregation, I came out to my church as part of a Family Forum on Open and Affirming.
I was nervous to say the least.
But now, after a wave of incredible confirmation, tears from congregation members, and a hearty round of hugs and handshakes, I feel more than just humbled or loved; I feel moved enough to take to my keyboard and reflect.
In my time today, I shared my basic story- how I came to terms with my sexuality and my faith, my time at First Parish, my reasoning for why FPC should become Open and Affirming, and my heartfelt thanks for all the support and welcome I have received at FPC during my time spent as conductor.”
Ultimately, I concluded with this sentiment:
‘Many UCC churches in Maine have already led the discussion on becoming Open and Affirming. For those of you who feel this would mean a massive change for First Parish, let me assure you, it wouldn’t. You see, you’ve already welcomed a gay man into your midst with open arms and truly shown him Christ’s love. For anyone who would question why a church would therefore need to be Open and Affirming, I would pose a few thoughts: Who among us that has reached out a hand to the community would not wish to extend it a little farther? What church wouldn’t strive to be more welcoming, more exemplifying of Christ’s non-judgmental love? And finally, by becoming open and affirming you may in fact be showing support to those closer than you’d realize. You may be reaching out to your friends, your son, your sister, your neighbor, your choir director, or even yourself.
The main reason that I personally wanted to speak to all of you is this: I wanted to thank you. I wanted to thank you for every single sign of support that you have given me during my time here, from the soups, breads, and desserts I have been showered with, to the incredible support I felt when my grandmother passed, to the encouraging words of praise for the choir after Sunday services, to the inquiries about my classes, to the invitations to meals, to the attending my concerts and recitals. I consider myself to be incredibly blessed, and revel in the fact that I get to brag that ‘I have the best job in the world’ to my friends.
You have been the exact image of a church to me, and I know if there was any way that we could be that same image of Christ to others and make them feel that loved and welcome, I would want to grab as hard as I could and never let go. Thank you all.
I am sharing this because I want to assure you, that no matter the outcome of the national election, we all have the ability to make a difference in the world by the choices we make and how we live our lives. Hold tight to your faith, know that are not alone, God goes with you, and live love. Amen.