Modified on: September 28, 2017

“We are a people of faith and hope.”
–Opening of the Covenant of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Spartanburg

All around me for the last several weeks, in the hallways of the church, in conversations and even in the middle of meetings (!), people have been breaking into song—Iris DeMent’s beloved “Let the Mystery Be”:

“Everybody’s wonderin’ what and where they all came from
 Everybody’s worryin’ ’bout where they’re gonna go
 When the whole thing’s done
 But no one knows for certain
 And so it’s all the same to me
 I think I’ll just let the mystery be”

Many have recalled with great affection a sharing of this song in a Sunday service earlier this year. With the number of people I hear singing it today, we may need to do this again.

I remember when I first heard this song, covered by Natalie Merchant of 10,000 Maniacs. I can still hear her voice clear in my memory. There is one line from the song that remains with me especially:

“I believe in love and I live my life accordingly”

In DeMent’s lyrics and Merchant’s song and the chorus of voices all around me in this place, I hear a mystery within the mystery, a going further within the letting be, a choice to live and to live with strength in the midst of what is beyond any of our knowing:


that mystery beyond knowledge
fulfilling and exceeding all faiths and hopes,
guiding us deeper into whatever all this is that is:



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