In thirty days we will fly to Istanbul for 10 days of music, exploring and friendship-making in our Sister City Jazz Ambassador experiment of peace-making through music. I am thrilled that this is coming to pass - and filled with not just a little fear and trembling.
+ Who would have imagined that the "Arab Spring" would be in full bloom when we started this experiment?
+ Who could have predicted that the regimes of Egypt and Tunisia - let alone Libya, Yemen and Syria - would pick up the mantle of freedom, too?
+ And while it is too early to know where any of this is going, it is clear that the Spirit of hope and self-determination is springing up all over the region like flowers in the desert after a gentle rain. (That used to happen in Tucson from time to time: the desert would be seemingly barren only to explode in wild flowers after a sustained and gentle rain.)
We're going to arrive in Turkey a day after the elections for Parliament - yet another unplanned reality - and during two international music festivals, too. One is a classical musical festival and the other a celebration of heavy metal with some of the all time greats in Istanbul at the same time we are. Maybe somebody will sit in with us as we play jazz throughout the city? Maybe we will run into Dylan or Clapton who will both be in town while we're sharing our music? Maybe we'll have a chance to rub shoulders with local Turkish jazz masters as they get ready for their own international jazz festival just two weeks after we leave?
My hope is two fold: 1) I hope that we play well and find ways to meet and befriend some Turkish jazz lovers who will want to build an long time relationship. 2) I hope that in playing well we celebrate the power of beauty across cultural, political and religious lines. It is fascinating that we are leaving the day after Pentecost, yes? Who KNOWS where the Spirit will blow and lead?
A gentle rain is falling in the Berkshire hills this morning. Already it feels like a day of contemplation and quiet rest. There was a Fac...
There is a certain irony that has not gone unnoticed in our home: after worship on Sunday, my last as a local church pastor, I came down wit...
The sun is out and the snow has fallen: a perfect Berkshires winter morning. The head colds are petering out, albeit stubbornly, and Tucson&...