Love and Liberty

Love is the bridge between you and everything. ~ Rumi

The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is to love and be loved in return. – Natalie Cole

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. – Lao Tzu

Do love. Don’t just think love, say love, have faith in love, or believe that God is love. Give up the idea that your ideas alone can save you. If you know the right words, then bring those words to life by giving them your own flesh. Put them into practice. Do love, and you will live. — Barbara Brown Taylor

SONGS about LOVE:

SONGS about FREEDOM:

LOVE LIBERATES — Maya Angelou

I am grateful to have been loved
and to be loved now
and to be able to love,
because that liberates.
Love liberates.
It doesn’t just hold—that’s ego.
Love liberates.

 When my son was born, I was seventeen.
My mother had a huge house, fourteen-room house,
At seventeen, I went to her and said, “I’m leaving.”
She asked me “you’re leaving my house?” and she had live-in help.
I said “yes. I’ve found a job and I’ve got a room
with cooking privileges down the hall
and the landlady will be the babysitter.
She asked me, “you’re leaving my house?”
I said “Yes, Ma’am,”
“And you’re taking the baby?”
I said yes.
She said “alright, remember this:
when you step over my doorsill, you’ve been raised.
You know the difference between right and wrong.
Do right.
Don’t let anybody raise you and make you change.
And remember this:
You can always come home.”

 I went home every time life slapped me down and made me call it uncle.
I went home with my baby.
My mother never once acted as “I told you so,”
She said, “Oh, baby’s home! Oh my darlin!
Mother’s gonna cook you something,
Mother’s gonna make this for you!”

 Love.
She liberated me to life.
She continued to do that.

 When my son may have been five years old
My mother would pick him up all the time and feed him.
I went to her once a month and she would cook for me.
So, one day I went to her house and she had cooked red rice, which I love.
After we finished eating, we walked down the hill and she started across the street and she said

“wait a minute, baby.”
I was twenty-two years old.
She said “wait a minute, baby,
you know, I think you’re the greatest woman I’ve ever met.
Mary McCleod Bethune,
Eleanor Roosevelt,
and my mother.
You’re in that category.”

 Then she said “give me a kiss”
I gave her a kiss and I got onto the streetcar.
I can remember the way the sun fell on the slats of wooden seats.
I sat there and I thought about her.
I thought:
Suppose she’s right.
She’s intelligent.
And she says she’s too mean to lie.
So suppose I am gonna be somebody.

 She released me.
She freed me.
To say I may have something in me
that would be of value,
maybe not just to me,

 that’s love.

 When she was in her final sickness,
I went out to San Francisco.
The doctors said she had three weeks to live.
I asked her “would you come to North Carolina?”
She said “yes,”
She had emphysema and lung cancer.
I brought her to my home.
She lived for a year and a half.
And when she was finally, finally, in extremis,
she was on oxygen, fighting cancer for her life,
and I remembered her liberating me.
And I said “I hope I’ll be able to liberate her.”
She deserved that from me.
She deserved a great daughter and she got one.

So, in her last days, I said,
“ now I understand that some people need permission to go.
As I understand it, you may have done what God put you here to do:
You were a great worker.
You must have been a great lover because a lot of men
and, if I’m not wrong, maybe a couple of women risked their lives to love you.
You were a piss poor mother of small children,
but you were a great, great mother of young adults.
and if you need permission to go
I liberate you.

I went back to my house
and something said “go back,”
I was in my pajamas,
I jumped in my car and ran.
And the nurse said,
“she’s just gone.”

You see, love liberates.
It doesn’t bind.
Love says, “I love you,
I love you if you’re in China,
I love you if you’re across town,
I love you if you’re in Harlem,
I love you.
I would like to be near you.
I’d like to have your arms around me,
I’d like to hear your voice in my ear,
but that’s not possible now,
so I love you.
Go.”
 


Touched By An Angel— Maya Angelou

We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.

Love arrives
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls.

We are weaned from our timidity
In the flush of love’s light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.


Of Love — Mary Oliver
I have been in love more times than one,
thank the Lord.
Sometimes it was lasting
whether active or not.
Sometimes it was all but ephemeral,
maybe only an afternoon,
but not less real for that.’
They stay in my mind,
these beautiful people,
or anyway beautiful people to me,
of which there are so many.
You and you and you,
whom I have the fortune to meet,
or maybe missed.
Love, love, love, it was the core of my life,
from which of course comes the word for the heart.
And, oh, have I mentioned
that some of them were men and some were women’
and some – now carry my revelation with you –
were trees.
Or places.
Or music flying above the names of their makers.
Or clouds, or the sun
which was the first, and the best,
the most loyal for certain,’
who looked so faithfully into my eyes, every morning.
So I imagine such love of the world –
its fervency, its shining,
its innocence and anger to give of itself
I imagine this is how it began.


INVITATION— Mary Oliver

Oh do you have time
to linger for just a little while
out of your busy
and very important day
for the goldfinches
that have gathered
in a field of thistles
for a musical battle,
to see who can sing
the highest note,
or the lowest,
or the most expressive of mirth,
or the most tender?
Their strong, blunt beaks
drink the air
as they strive
melodiously
not for your sake
and not for mine
and not for the sake of winning
but for sheer delight and gratitude –
believe us, they say,
it is a serious thing
just to be alive
on this fresh morning
in the broken world.
I beg of you,
do not walk by
without pausing
to attend to this
rather ridiculous performance.
It could mean something.
It could mean everything.
It could be what Rilke meant, when he wrote:
You must change your life.

ABOUT LOVE

Where there is love there is life. – Mahatma Gandhi

The greatest degree of inner tranquility comes from the development of love and compassion. The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater is our own sense of well-being. – Dalai Lama

Love is more than a noun – it is a verb; it is more than a feeling – it is caring, sharing, helping, sacrificing. – William Arthur Ward

Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. ~ Rumi

Love is not really an action that you do. Love is what and who you are, in your deepest essence. Love is a place that already exists inside of you, but is also greater than you. That’s the paradox. It’s within you and yet beyond you. This creates a sense of abundance and more-than-enoughness, which is precisely the satisfaction and deep peace of the True Self. You know you’ve found a well that will never go dry, as Jesus says (see John 4:13-14). Your True Self, God’s Love in you, cannot be exhausted. — Richard Rohr
 
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. — Martin Luther King Jr. Love is or it ain’t. Thin love ain’t love at all. ― Toni Morrison, Beloved

When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.― Jimi Hendrix

The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves. — Victor Hugo

“Not all of us can do great things.  But we can do small things with great love.” & “I believe God loves the world through us—through you and me.” — St Mother Teresa

There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven’t yet met. — William Butler Yeats

Many can give money to those in need, but to personally serve the needy readily, out of love, and in a fraternal spirit, requires a truly great soul. — Saint John Chrysostom

… the action and behavior produced by love is distinctly countercultural. … In a society where so much is presented in terms of “self”—self-awareness, self-esteem, self-acceptance, self-image, self-realization—to present a way of existence in which a person lives for the other in a life of loving self-sacrifice will be highly provocative. Following the one who gave his life as a sacrifice for us will be humbling and undoubtedly costly in terms of human recognition and progress in life as secular society defines it.— zondervanacademic.com

LOVE COMMENTARY

Love, in the New Testament, is not something you feel; it is something you do….Love seeks the well-being of others and is embodied in concrete efforts in their behalf. — Francis Taylor Gench

DANCE — Wendell Berry
… And I love you
as I love the dance that brings you
out of the multitude
in which you come and go.
Love changes, and in change is true.

OF LOVE

I love you not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you. I love you not only for what you have made of yourself, but for what you are making of me. I love you for the part of me that you bring out.  – Elizabeth Barrett Browning

In the end we discover that to love and let go can be the same thing.— Jack Kornfield

Let the beauty of what you love be what you do. – Rumi

You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching, Love like you’ll never be hurt, Sing like there’s nobody listening, And live like it’s heaven on earth. – William W. Purkey

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. – Martin Luther King Jr.

Love is never lost. If not reciprocated, it will flow back and soften and purify the heart.  – Washington Irving

Life is the first gift, love is the second, and understanding the third. – Marge Piercy

Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place. – Zora Neale Hurston

The chance to love and be loved exists no matter where you are. – Oprah Winfrey

No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another. – Charles Dickens, Dr. Marigold

About Juneteenth

What this day means and how we observe it in NH

JUNETEENTH OBSERVANCES:

June 19:

Through June 20:


SONGS for JUNETEENTH:

Fury & Faith —  Amanda Gorman

You will be told this is not a problem, 
Not your problem. 
You will be told now is not the time
For change to begin, 
Told that we cannot win. 

But the point of protest isn’t winning; 
It’s holding fast to the promise of freedom, 
Even when fast victory is not promised. 

Meaning, we cannot stand up to police 
If we cannot cease policing our imagination,
Convincing our communities that this won’t work, 
When the work hasn’t even begun,
That this can wait, 
When we’ve already waited out a thousand suns.
By now, we understand
That white supremacy
& the despair it demands
Are as destructive as any disease.

So when you’re told that your rage is reactionary,
Remind yourself that rage is our right.
It teaches us it is time to fight.
In the face of injustice,
Not only is anger natural, but necessary,
Because it helps carry us to our destination.

Our goal is never revenge, just restoration.
Not dominace, just dignity.
Not fear, just freedom.
Just justice.

Whether we prevail is not detemined
By all the challenges that are present,
But by all the change that is possible.

& though we are unstoppable,
If we ever feel we might fail,
If we be fatigued & frail, 
When our fire can no longer be fueled by fury,
We will always be fortified by this faith,
Found in the anthem, the vow:

Black lives matter,
No matter what.
Black lives are worth living,
Worth defending,
Worth every struggle.
We owe it to the fallen to fight,
But we owe it to ourselves to never stay kneeling
When the day calls us to stand. 

Together, we envision a land that is liberated, not lawless.
We create a future that is free, not flawless.
Again & again, over & over,
We will stride up every mountainside,
Magnanimous & modest.
We will be protected & served
By a force that is honored & honest.
This is more than protest
               It’s a promise.

Articles and information about Juneteenth:

Statement from NH UCC’s Racial Justice Group:

Our Purpose in Celebrating Juneteenth in New Hampshire is based upon our desire for greater visibility, education, and alliance in a state and geographic region that is historically perceived as demographically white. This misperception is perpetuated through the mainstream and local media; socially, culturally, and politically governed institutions; and lack of cultural awareness manifested in expressions of implicit bias. On Wednesday, June 19, 2019, Governor Chris Sununu signed a bill proclaiming an annual observance Juneteenth as an officially recognized state holiday. This act ended many decades of oversight.
       Juneteenth Commemorates the End of Slavery and the Beginning of a Journey into Freedom – It recalls how the states of Louisiana and Texas heard that President Abraham Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. Slavery continued in those two states for more than two years after the proclamation was signed due to active resistance. News of Emancipation had not been fully shared until June 19, 1865. Hence this is the origin of the Juneteenth holiday which is still celebrated in many communities of African American descent. Americans, this is our collective history and a narrative that deserves to be shared. Remember that in NH, slaves were not legally freed until the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, though many NH people fought on the side of the Union. NH was not a free state.
      The truth is that people of African heritage have always been part of New Hampshire history. The narrative of enslaved African people and their descendants is far too often untold and denied. We appreciate the ongoing efforts of our allies to preserve these stories. We embrace Juneteenth as an opportunity to request that EVERYONE participate and join us in celebration for the whole month of June.

Events with JCC and around town: MAY 25-30 (Memorial Day Weekend)

Events with JCC and around town: fitness, C3: Cocktails & Conversations, State of Loon program & Birding in Bog field trip (Tin Mountain), Food Truck Festival, Craft Fair at Schouler Park, Heather Pierson Duo and Josh & Darin Variety Hour (Mountain Top Music), Wild Quack duck race & music, interfaith group (outside), Sunday worship with Memorial Day Observance plus solo by Judy Botsford, bluegrass music with Dellavalla family with piano by Maisie Brown, music around town and more!

WED, May 25

  • Community Resource: LIBRARIES
  • Community Events: MUSIC AROUND TOWN
    • Wildcat Tavern: Simon Crawford • 6-9pm

THURS, May 26

  • WAY STATION Bd of Dir Mtg
    9am • Zoom
    Update on projects. Closed meeting.
  • Community Events: MUSIC AROUND TOWN
    • Wildcat Tavern: Rafe Matregrano • 6-9pm
  • Community Service: WAY STATION
    Staff and volunteers of JCC participate. Operating in church basement this week: Nativity Lutheran.
    2-5 • Food collection & distribution
    10-6 • Open shift for drop-ins and apts.
  • AA
    6pm? • JCC Parish House
  • Community Event: STATE of the LOON with Tin Mountain
    7pm • Zoom link pending.
    Join Harry Vogel, Loon Preservation Committee, as he talks about this unique symbol of New Hampshire’s wild lakes and its special place in the hearts of New Hampshire residents. More info: https://www.tinmountain.org/event/state-of-the-loon-the-natural-history-challenges-and-successes-of-loons-in-nh-2/
  • Community Events: MUSIC AROUND TOWN
    • Wildcat Tavern: Rafe Matregrano • 6-9pm

FRI, May 27

  • FITNESS CLASS with Laurie McAleer
    9:30am • JCC Parish House.
  • Community Resource: LIBRARIES
    • 2pm-5pm • Jackson Library
      Contact the library for additional help: 603.383.9731 or by email: staff@jacksonlibrary.org.
  • C3: COCKTAILS & CHRISTIAN CONVERSATIONS
    5pm • Zoom link and password required
    Bring your adult beverage and your curiosity for a conversation about our sacred text
  • Community Event: MAJESTIC CAFE CONCERT – Heather Pierson Duo
    7pm • Majestic Theater, Conway Village
    Info and tickets:https://mountaintop.ludus.com/index.php
  • Community Events: MUSIC AROUND TOWN
    • Wildcat Tavern: Al Shafner  & CATWOLF• 6-9pm
    • Shannon Door: Riley Parkhurst • 6-9pm
    • Red Parka Pub: Now Is Now • 8-11pm

SAT, May 28

  • Community Event: BIRDING in the BOG w/ Tin Mountain
    7-10am • Location communicated upon registration
    Join birders of all levels on this weekly bird walk through the bog and view the rich diversity of bird life that makes it way north to rest or nest. Bring binoculars (or borrow ours), rubber boots, and a snack. Program fee of $15/person or $25/household for non-members; members are free. Click here to register online.
  • Community Event: MEMORIAL WEEKEND CRAFT FAIR
    10am – 5pm • Schouler Park, North Conway
  • Community Event: FOOD TRUCK FESTIVAL
    Noon-6pm • North Conway Community Center
    Kids entertainment, music, and food trucks.
  • Community Resource: LIBRARIES
  • Community Event: JOSH & DARIN VARIETY HOUR benefit for Jen’s Friends (Mountain Top Music program)
    7:30pm • Majestic Theater
    Live and in person! Original sketches, parody songs and one-liners, plus tribute sketches, special guest interviews, and music from local performers – all in the beautifully renovated Majestic Theater! All proceeds from ticket sales go to Jen’s Friends Cancer Foundation. Produced by Josh and Darin; sponsored by Mountain Top Music and others. Admission to limited to those over 18 or accompanied by parent / guardian.  Doors and Majestic Cafe concessions open at 6:30 pm, the show at 7:30 pm. Livestream available. More info and tickets (donations): https://mountaintop.ludus.com/index.php
  • MUSIC AROUND TOWN
    • Shannon Door: Willow Carter • 7-10pm
    • Wildcat Tavern: Jonathan Sarty • 6-9pm
    • Red Parka Pub: Lazy River Riders • 8-11pm

SUN, May 29

  • INTERFAITH GATHERING
    8am • Pavilion behind Whitney Community Center (and zoom)
    • in-person & zoom
    • Gather for poetry, conversation and prayer
    • Zoom link and password required
  • WORSHIP with MEMORIAL DAY OBSERVANCE
    10:30am • JCC (in-person & zoom)
    • Zoom link and password required
    • Solo: Judy Botsford
    • Special bluegrass music: Dellavalla Family
    • Guest Pianist: Maisie Brown
    • Message: Rev Gail Doktor
  • Community Event: WILD QUACK DUCK RACE & MUSIC FESTIVAL
    8am • Jackson Village
    Info: https://jacksonnh.com/event/wildquack-duck-race-music-festival-2/
    Admission: FREE! 
    • The day’s events start at 8 AM and the first Duck Race goes off at 1:45 PM.
    • Food, Duck Races, Kids Activities, Traveling Train Rides, an Incredible Silent Auction
    • Live Music from Local Favorites Al Shafner and Dennis & Davey
    • Local Artisan’s wares on display and for purchase
    • Kid’s games and activities
    • To receive your brochure of individual events and times… call the office at (603) 383-9356/(978) 580-0905 or see a PDF brochure here.  You can request a mailed brochure by emailing info@jacksonnh.com.
    • Local and visiting food vendors offer fabulous barbeque foods, fair foods, kettle corn, ice cream, lobster sandwiches as well as other select items all affordably priced.  Watch the “ever-growing” parade starting from the Covered Bridge at 1:30 PM, have your picture taken with “Wildquack” the Jackson Area Chamber of Commerce Duck, visit local businesses and really enjoy this “ole” fashioned “Day in the Park”.
    • Purchase duck tickets
  • Community Event: MEMORIAL WEEKEND CRAFT FAIR
    10am – 5pm • Schouler Park, North Conway
  • MUSIC AROUND TOWN
    • Shannon Door: Mike & Becca • 6-9pm
    • Red Parka Pub: Jeremy Holden  • 4-7pm

MON, May 30 – Memorial Day

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