Wednesday, December 27, 2017

music expresses that which cannot be said...

Some people get it and... well, some never will: I am referring to a spirituality of music. Victor Hugo wrote: "Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent." That gets close, yes? Beethoven noted that: "Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life." In my experience, music unifies my body with my mind and heart. It allows me to know from the inside out what Psalm 85 calls the "marriage of heaven and earth" - that sense of God's "steadfast love and faithfulness embracing; God's justice and compassion kissing one another (in an embodied ways) while trust springs up from the earth and right relations gaze down from the sky" - a sensual, spiritual energy of encouragement that transcends race, class, gender and nationality.

My judgment about those who get it and those who don't must not be taken as a moral indictment. It isn't. Nor am I condemning the aesthetic sensitivity of those who do not encounter music like me. Rather, I am trying to give expression to what I know - and it is different from the way many meet the mysteries of music.  Mickey Hart, drummer extradinaire of the Grateful Dead, feels it as the primal beat of Mother Earth's heart pounding throughout creation. "Life is about rhythm. We vibrate, our hearts are pumping blood, we are a rhythm machine, that's what we are... In the beginning, there was noise. Noise begat rhythm, and rhythm begat everything else." That is how the creative love of the holy speaks to me: through rhythm, through harmonies, through melodies and lyrics so sweet they break my heart open and then heal it, too. Some folk groove on Aquinas or Augustine or Hildegaard. Not me. Even after all these years those doors remain locked. But let Herbie Hancock deconstruct a Joni Mitchell song or Lisa Fischer rework the Rolling Stones? I am lifted to another zone that is pure soul food.

Same goes for playing music with those I cherish, trust and respect: when it all comes together, that too is a taste of heaven on earth. Perhaps that's why I am so excited to be making music again with my "brother from another mother." l love Hal. I value his skilled soulfulness. And I often resonate with where he is willing to let the music take us if we just listen carefully.  It is so sweet that he is not only going to join us for what will be my last gig at First Church - the Songs and Sounds of Solidarity for the Four Freedoms Coalition on Sunday, January 7, 2018 @ 2 pm - but will work with me on music for worship the following Sunday, January 14, 2018, too. Our hope is that soon we'll get a whole set together to take out there and see what happens. It is a blessing that I not only want to experience, but to share.


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