On the eve of Martin Luther King day, I wrote about the power of music to shatter us. I was thinking about the role that music played in the civil rights movement and discussed the genesis of Duke Ellington’s song “Come Sunday” during those turbulent days. 

A few days later, I stumbled across this guest post by Esther Nelson on the feminismandreligion blog. It reminded me of Duke Ellington and of Emma Goldman, who said: “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution”. 

esther-nelsonI’m back in Las Cruces, New Mexico, spending the break between semesters in the spot where I plan to eventually retire.  When I was here last summer (2016), I visited the Unitarian Universalist Church so decided to join the people gathered there on Christmas Day.  Not many showed up—about twenty or so.  The service was abbreviated. The emphasis was on singing Christmas carols from the hymnal.  Unitarian Universalists, it appears, love to sing.

Inside the bulletin on a separate sheet of paper, Catherine Massey, the Director of Music, wrote an essay titled “Sunday Music Notes.”  She asks, “How can music help us respond to the needs around us?” She listed several ways we can benefit from singing and chanting. One way is calming the self, enabling us to better cope with life’s struggles. Singing can also bring comfort to the sick and/or dying as well as to their families. She…

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