Yes and No

Mark and Shiloh

The Sanctuary Boston’s last two worships have gone hand in hand. On January 2, we gathered to welcome in the new year with song and fellowship. Matt Meyer gave an amazing reflection, asking us the questions, “To what things can we say ‘no’? What kind of un-resolutions can we make?” Matt helped us enter the New Year with more, much-needed, space — space for just being, space for each other, space for the spirit to bubble up in our lives.

The Sanctuary’s coordinator, Dave Ruffin, couldn’t stop himself from jumping straight to saying “yes” to things, so we let him run wild at the next service on January 17. Our theme? “Say Yes!”

Dave invited us to reflect on the power and the practice of saying yes to the things we love most.  In our first experiment with multimedia services, our service included witnessing  Andrea Gibson perform her poem, “Say Yes.” Here’s a little snippet of the words which shaped our worship:

when two violins are placed in a room
if a chord on one violin is struck
the other violin will sound the note
if this is your definition of hope
this is for you
the ones who know how powerful we are
who know we can sound the music in the people around us
simply by playing our own strings…

We heard stories of saying yes to life from Mykal Slack and from Kim Paquette, and we shared our stories with each other.

And of course, we made some incredible music together! We sang the Zo Tobi song, “Show Me The Song” and Shawn Mullins‘ “Somethin’ to Believe In.

Three-year-old Shiloh Buckles led the charge in saying yes to dance parties, as we jumped and twirled and sang to “Glory, glory, hallelujah.”

May we all dance our way into a spacious and passionate 2013!


The Cracks the Light Shines Through

IMG_20121205_184434“Ring the bells that still can ring
forget your perfect offering
there’s a crack in everything
that’s how the light gets in”

-Leonard Cohen

What a soulful service! Inspired by these Leonard Cohen lyrics, we delved
deep to look for where the light shines through the cracks in our lives. Schuyler Vogel shared a story of working as a youth group advisor, and of a youth group member who was dealing with depression. To Schuyler’s surprise, the youth asked to tell his story to the other members of the group, sharing with them his struggles with despair. The light did come in: the teens in the youth group held this hurting young man and came together to support him.

Linda Simmons, a newly fellowshipped minister (go, Linda!!), shared her story of receiving a scary diagnosis that would require intense surgery. In the days after the diagnosis, Linda would wander around Downtown Boston – she yearned to be among the throngs of people. One day, she found herself in Macy’s, and as she was passing through the makeup counters, a clerk stopped her and said, “You look so sad. Why don’t you come and sit down, and I’ll give you a free facial.”

Linda sat down. As she worked on Linda, the clerk asked, “Why are you so sad?” Linda told her about her diagnosis, and about how scared she felt. The clerk did her best to reassure Linda that she’d make it through – the clerk told Linda all about the friends and family members who had battled health issues and thrived despite it. “You come back and see me any time for another free facial,” said the clerk. “I want to hear how your treatment’s going and how you’re doing.” This clerk, through her kindness attention, and human touch, brought the light into a very dark time for Linda.

We celebrated the light in song. Matt Meyer led us in a medley of “Yonder
IMG_20121205_183001Come Day” and “I Know This Rose Will Open”, Zach Kerzee performed a rockin’ version of Leonard Cohen’s “Anthem,” Mark David Buckles and Joanna Lubkin performed “Don’t Be Afraid” by The Paper Raincoat, and we, of course, ended with an unleashed version of “This Little Light of Mine.”

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.




True Things

Tonight, we celebrated our truest selves.IMG_20121115_181543Elizabeth Nguyen shared a reflection about how we honor and integrate all of our selves – our silly selves and our reverent selves, our fearful selves and our hopeful selves. The music was, as usual, fantastic. Mark David Buckles, David Ruffin, and Glorivy Arroyo shared the song “True Things” by JJ Heller, and Mark did a killer version of Michael Jackson’s song, “Man in the Mirror.” We even sang Katy Perry’s “Firework!”


Blessed Unrest

Blessed Unrest – November 7, 2012
Second Exploratory Worship, First Parish Cambridge

Candle Lighting

We gathered for our second exploratory worship the day after Election Day, after many of us had spent the last few months volunteering, canvassing, and praying that our candidates and causes would win. When The Sanctuary Worship Team began planning for this service, we realized we were going to have to choose a theme without knowing the results of the elections . We wondered: what message would we need to hear regardless of who won?

Joanna Lubkin said in her reflection last night:

“As the election approached,
and as I went into that voting booth, what became totally clear for me is that this is what democracy looks like, right here, today. Democracy is what we choose to do the day after the elections.

“If the candidate you wanted to win won,What are you going to do to help the issues you care about move forward? If you’re dismayed by who was just elected,What are you going to do help make sure the country is moving toward a brighter future? What is yours to do?”

Jo’s reflection was interwoven with the Roy Zimmerman song, “Hope, Struggle, and Change,” sung by Mark David Buckles. (Sung by all of us, by the end of the reflection!)

Zach Kerzee shared with us a song by singer-songwriter and social change-maker Zo Tobi called Blessed Unrest. Many of us found that we were still singing the song as we went out into the snowy (!) evening:

“Fill my days with blessed unrest /
and my nights with dreams of justice /
make me a vessel for the turning of the tide.”

To be in a state of blessed unrest is to be awake to all the crises going on in the world. You have no veils, no illusions about the state of things, but you also see what’s possible. You see a hopeful possibility for the future and are inspired to take action on that vision with other people who are also awake.

Jo concluded her reflection by saying, “This is why I come to The Sanctuary. I come to be among people who are awake, who hold no illusions that it’s gonna take some struggle before we reach that change, but who do what has to be done again and again. I come to The Sanctuary because we’re gonna need nourishment on that road to justice. I come to The Sanctuary to be a part of something larger than myself, because — to quote Sister Rosalie Bertell – ’our dreams are often bigger than our lifetimes.’”


“Go Get Your Blessing” – Thursday, October 18, 2012
First Exploratory Worship, First Church in Boston

mark piano first worship

Our  first exploratory worship blew us all away. Kenny Wiley shared an amazing reflection on Dr. Martin Luther King’s speech, “How long? Not long.” Musicians Mark David Buckles, Matt Meyer, and Joanna Lubkin led us in rockin’ versions of UU hymns, the Beatles, and our own version of “Sanctuary.” Glorivy Arroyo got us all on her feet singing Mary Mary’s song, “Go Get Your Blessing.”