Thursday, May 17, 2018

a surprising moment of sacred connection...

When I was hanging out in Brooklyn a few weeks ago, I took this picture while
waiting for my daughter and grandson. It was a stunningly warm April afternoon. I had 45 minutes of quiet time before school let out when we would romp around in the park. What better time for a cold Italian lager, a spot of Henri Nouwen and silent prayer? I can't tell you how many times I have found myself talking about matters of life and death with strangers in pubs, jazz clubs and public parks simply because I am sitting quietly and taking it all in. This extended quote from Fr. Richard Rohr's blog this morning articulates experiences that happen to me with startling frequency:

We are told that Jesus hung out with publicans, tax collectors, and sinners. Perhaps during these sessions of music, laughter, and food fellowship, there were also... moments when the love of God and mutual care and concern became the focus of their time together. Contemplation is not confined to designated and institutional sacred spaces. God breaks into nightclubs and Billie Holiday’s sultry torch songs; God tap dances with Bill Robinson and Savion Glover. And when Coltrane blew his horn, the angels paused to consider.

Some sacred spaces bear none of the expected characteristics. The fact that we prefer stained glass windows, pomp and circumstance . . . has nothing to do with the sacred. It may seem as if the mysteries of divine-human reunion erupt in our lives when, in fact, the otherness of spiritual abiding is integral to human interiority. On occasion, we turn our attention to this abiding presence and are startled. But it was always there.

Art can amplify the sacred and challenge the status quo. The arts help us to hear above the cacophony and pause in the midst of our multitasking. The arts engage a sacred frequency that is perforated with pauses. Artists learned... that there were things too full for human tongues, too alive for articulation. You can dance and rhyme and sing it, you almost reach it in the high notes, but joy unspeakable is experience and sojourn, it is the ineffable within our reach.
(Barbara Homes @ Center for Action and Contemplation, May 17, 2018)

Tonight we return to Infinity, Norfolk CT to play an open mic. Not only is it a chance to hone our performance of original music, but it is a time to catch a bit of the vibe of the crowd. There will likely be unplanned conversations inside and out of the music hall, too. And if past is prelude to the future, there might even be  a surprising moment of sacred connection and vulnerability. Contemplation is taking a long, loving look at what is real. It is also being awake and aware that the holy is with us whether we know it or not. Here's to the grace of God, great music and a cold pint of a local lager!

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