Chautauqua Institution President Tom Becker’s job at the final Sacred Song Service of the season is to present a closing speech and tap the gavel three times. Jared Jacobsen’s job is to create the “jewelry setting” for that symbolic closing.
Looking back on his first season as director of the Department of Religion, the Rev. Robert Franklin is tired. Tired, but happy and full of plans for the future.
“When Nelson Mandela walked out of prison after 27 years, he knew that he had to leave the bitterness behind or he would still be in prison,” said the Rev. Cynthia Hale. “The Father of the Nation [of South Africa] had to resist the urge of revenge. He needed to provide an example of forgiveness.”
“If we are honest, we have spent the better part of our lives trying to get the approval of others. No matter what stage of life or station in life, it is what we long for,” said the Rev. Cynthia Hale. She preached at the 9:15 a.m. Thursday worship service. Her sermon title was “How to Win God’s Approval” and the scripture text was Hebrews 11:1-6.
A philosopher once visited the Buddha and asked: “Without words, without the wordless, can you tell me the truth?”
A mishmash of Chautauquans — some veterans of the Institution, some first-timers; some older, some in college; some Christian, some atheist — sit in a circle in the basement library of the Everett Jewish Life Center.
“Sometimes preachers like to talk to a specific group of people and invite the rest of you to listen in. I am going to preach to the golden girls and guys today,” said the Rev. Cynthia Hale at the morning worship service Wednesday.
Spending summers at Chautauqua Institution when he was growing up, Jared Jacobsen was inundated with American music — fitting for “the most American place in America.”
“My ancestors responded to the slave experience by expressing their feelings and faith in song,” said the Rev. Cynthia Hale during her sermon, “Have You Got Good Religion?” at the 9:15 a.m. morning worship service Tuesday. “Spirituals were the soul of a people in a dark, dehumanizing place with a cold, cruel master. Their faith is evidenced in song, and at the end of the day they would steal away to Jesus and preach their souls happy.”
“Jesus, the master of the art of living, was trying to teach his Disciples about kingdom living — living on earth as if they were already in heaven,” the Rev. Cynthia Hale said. “The Disciples were dependent on Jesus, and he was trying to teach them how to negotiate life without him. Prayer was and still is the key — to pray and not give up.”