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Healing: A Special Evening Service in the Wake of the '16 Election
A pastoral prayer by Rev. Charles Blustein Ortman, delivered at the First Unitarian Church in Providence, RI, November 6, 2016

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READINGS: ANCIENT & MODERN
“The Guest House,” is written by the mystic Sufi poet, Rumi:
This being human is [about being] a guesthouse.
Every morning a new arrival.


A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.


Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.


The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.


Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide [perhaps] from beyond.
Still I Rise is written by Maya Angelou:
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.


Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.


Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.


Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?


Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.


You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.


Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?


Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.
The Morning After is written by Rabbi Pamela Wax at 4am today:
The sun will come up, and I will get up from my restless night,
heart heavy,
and go about my day.
There will be beauty in the world, and laughter, and music,
and heartache,
and love.
There will be a community of like-minded friends with whom to commiserate,
and a long laundry list of ways to make a difference.


Yes, there must be a sense of responsibility:
to shake off the malaise, the numbness, the shock,
to understand the forces that led us here,
to help comfort the discomfited,
to participate in the healing of the brokenness,
and with urgency.


We will act out of conviction,
knowing that democracy is not a spectator sport.
We will grieve, and rage, and wonder how and why,
but we will need to learn patience.
For like the Phoenix -- long-lived and regenerative --
our day will come again.


Love does trump hate,
and, though long,
the arc of the moral universe does bend towards justice.
HOMILY