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Friday, May 15, 2009
Music can be one of the most uniting forces in human relationships, reaching across the walls that separate nations and cultures. This Sunday, May 17, worship will be almost entirely music. We are hosting the Chehalem String Quartet, which includes Tatiana Kolchanova-Parente as first violinist. We have appreciated the music that Tatiana and her husband have brought to us on several earlier occasions. What kind of music do you like? What touches your soul? One of the delights of instrumental music is that it moves us beyond words. It is as if it exists already in the world of spirit. Religion for some is a “head” thing; it is captured in words. It is true that words can reach deep within, stirring feelings and connections that inspire and comfort and challenge, but sometimes we become dependent upon, get hung up or stuck on them. With instrumental music there is nothing but the sounds and the spaces between the sounds, the rhythms and tempos that speak of the heartbeat of life itself. I’ve come to appreciate a great variety of musical styles and genres, finding in them the presence of something divine. The sights and sounds of Eastern Orthodox worship celebrate the living presence we call Resurrection. I once went to a conference where, after the majestic opening organ prelude, I turned to person next to me and said, “I could go home now and have gotten everything I need and felt it was well worth the registration fee.” I’ve been moved by music in its various forms here at Kairos-Milwaukie. There is lots of musical talent here, including more use of the chimes soon. A little over a week ago, we attended the lecture by Archibishop Desmond Tutu, which was preceded by an hour-long concert featuring instruments and voices across many cultural and religious lines. Put together by Darrell Grant, Professor of Music at Portland State University, it was called “Voices of Reconciliation.” Some of it featured works from his album, Truth and Reconciliation, including a poem from “The Geography of Music (I Am Music)” spoken “over his soft, steady piano riffs and some percussion.” Here are a few lines from that poem: I am music/Worship I raise in human hearts/Bonds of peace for jaws of hatred/Spirits I comfort, minds I soothe/Truth to all I serve/I am music. If you want to check out more of his work go to http://www.darrellgrant.com/truth_and_reconciliation Here are a few lines from another poem of the same name (“I Am Music”) this time by Allan C. Inman: I AM MUSIC, most ancient of the arts. + I am more than ancient; I am eternal. + Even before life commenced upon this earth, I was here in the winds and the waves. + In all ages I have inspired men with hope, kindled their love, given a voice to their joys, cheered them on to valorous deeds, and soothed them in times of despair. + Through my influence human nature has been uplifted, sweetened and refined. + I have myriads of voices and instruments. I am in the hearts of all men and on their tongues, in all lands and among all peoples; the ignorant and unlettered know me, not less than the rich and learned. + I have taught men gentleness and peace; and I have led them onward to heroic deeds. + I comfort the lonely, and I harmonize the discord of crowds. Again, if you want to see the whole poem or check out more on Inman, go to http://www.bluebookofpianos.com/music Both Grant and Inman remind us of the universal power and appeal of music. Take a moment (maybe several moments on more than one day) to meditate on the ways in which you have been touched by music.

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Kairos-Milwaukie UCC Blog

Reflections on the Revised Common Lectionary by Rev. Rick Skidmore and Rev. Jim Ogden.

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