Saturday, November 21, 2020

Tis a Gift


Shaker gift drawings, which were inspired by spiritual visions.

....when you are in a place just right

Judy Collins sings "Simple Gifts" for the February 1963 TV broadcast of Dinner with the President, the 50th anniversary celebration of B'nai B'rith in Washington, D.C. President Kennedy received a Democratic Legacy Award and spoke during the broadcast. 

JUDY COLLINS - "Simple Gifts" 1963 

Abraham Lincoln, 11/15/1863

The United States has a rich heritage empowering the individual to express beliefs through literacy and the arts. 

John F. Kennedy and Jackie 11/22/63

We have a strong connection to the diverse folks of our American past as we look to Thanksgiving; singing the music, reading the Gettysburg Address at the 150th anniversary on November 15th, remembering the fiftieth anniversary of John F. Kennedy's assassination on November 22th, even preparing and eating the traditional foods of sweet potato pie, turkey, pumpkin pie, secret-recipe family stuffing, biscuits and gravy (and a new tradition for some, tofurkey.) 

Our battles aren't much different than our folks from the past: we stand for equality, education, religious freedom. We validate those beliefs, and tell our young ones they will inherit these battles. We work as partners with the past and the future to provide a 'place just right.'

"Simple Gifts" was written by Elder Joseph while he was at the Shaker community in Alfred, Maine. These are the lyrics to his one-verse song:

'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free
'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain'd,
To bow and to bend we shan't be asham'd,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come 'round right.
Several Shaker manuscripts indicate that this is a "Dancing Song" or a "Quick Dance." "Turning" is a common theme in Christian theology, but the references to "turning" in the last two lines have also been identified as dance instructions. (per Wikipedia)

This is a documentary about the Shakers that is also available on Netflix.

The Shakers by Ken Burns

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