Today, the Adult Choir introduces a powerful statement of faith: Mark Miller’s stunning setting of words scratched on the walls of a cellar in Cologne, Germany by a Jew hiding from Nazi persecution. We’ll also be using “I Believe…” as a centering hymn throughout October. Composer Mark Miller served as clinician at the UU Music Ministries conference in Denver in July, working with a choral ensemble and instrumentalists to prepare music for Sunday morning’s worship service. After years of resisting the very appealing and seductively facile style in which he composes (he himself refers to his music as “Sacred Disney”), I find that I now simply adore this person and his work. Mark believes passionately that music can change the world. He also believes in Cornell West’s quote that ‘Justice is what love looks like in public.’ His dream is that the music he composes, performs, teaches and leads will inspire and empower people to create the beloved community in its most real form.
Our Introit is another John Morrison masterful miniature, a setting of Edwin Muir’s “The Way,” which is found in our hymnal’s readings. I told the choir that I’m really not intending to make my husband Follen’s resident composer, but the fact is, he’s MY resident composer, so the music just keeps coming. The Offertory is a composite of two contrasting treatments of the beloved piyyut (Hebrew sacred song), Adon Olam – one in the 19th century Anglican Reform hymn tradition and one by the contemporary Israeli singer-songwriter Yonatan Razel. This text holds much of the ripe and transcendent sensibility of this week between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur:
“God reigns over the universe, who reigned ere any creature yet was formed:
At the time when all things were made by God’s desire, then was God’s name the Holiest.
And after all things shall have had an end, God alone, the powerful one, shall reign;
Who was, who is, and who will be in glory. And God is One, and there is no second to compare;
Without beginning, without end: to God belongs strength and dominion.”