Saturday, February 3, 2018

justice and peace shall kiss...

Tonight a few friends (mostly associated with music-making rather than church) will join our family for a night of story-telling, song and reconnection. When my congregation celebrated my life in ministry as well as 10+ years among them, my job was to receive. That was as it should be: ours was a blessed time. It was complicated as all ministry is, but always sacred. Now that chapter has closed and I am eager to sit with those who have worked closely with me to reflect on what we once created - and perhaps explore new possibilities, too. From my vantage point, we did a few important things together:

+ First, for a moment in time, our music allowed us the safe space to explore, honor and sometimes transcend the differences of age, race, gender, class and culture.

+ Second, our songs erased any false dichotomy between sacred and secular.

+ Third, it was crucial to go deep in a culture that is shallow.

+ And fourth, the vision of Psalm 87 was our foundation. 

Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet;
righteousness and peace will kiss each other.
Faithfulness will spring up from the ground,
and righteousness will look down from the sky.
The Lord will give what is good,
and our land will yield its increase.

Sometimes we played in bars and clubs. Other times in a Sanctuary. Sometimes Christian liturgy guided the event; other times the poetry of Naomi Shihab Nye, Mary Oliver or Allen Ginsberg carried the day. There were times of joy and sorrow - often in the same set - as well as carefully crafted works of art alongside wild improvisation. We fused jazz sensibilities with chant and Americana and listened for the holy in the songs of whales, wolves and the wind. It was a wildly creative decade and I am grateful for it all.

Our gathering will be intimate, for a number of reasons, and that is as it should be, too. 

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