catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 4, Num 7 :: 2005.04.08 — 2005.04.21


Sabbath memory, with music

The winter dark is full
as faithful, few and reverent
our little congregation gathers
at a borrowed lakeside hearth.
Having earlier been communed,
we let Benjamin fall away to sleep
prostrate with his two arms out
so that from the arched cathedral
he looks like a young Christ crucified.
The lyrics of our chosen anthem
claim that ?God is in the house?
and the irony is lost on us
as in the firelight and newfound friendship
we silently plead that the joy will not be broken
nor break our fragile hearts,
as in flame the Spirit descends
and trembling scared we whisper,
Veni Sancte Spiritus

Holy Ghost, come in.

It is one of the unique qualities of music to shape a moment like no other art form can. We cherish not only the chance connection of an event with a song, but the experience of having all of our senses engaged in a revelatory moment so that a song can bring back the memory of when we perceived the Divine so close as to make our breath catch, our eyes tear up.

A few times in my life, music has been so satisfying as to give me the sensation of having cried for hours. There was the first time I heard the sound of a live symphony. There was the sub-stage at the Chicago Celtic Festival where teen-age musicians publicly professed their identity in the tradition of their ancestors. There was the time a song met me in emotional suffering and, through identification, renewed my hope in the promise of resurrection.

I cannot say more about these moments. I cannot intellectualize, but only say, ?Thank you.? May the music you hear threaten to burst your heart with the goodness of God and the mystery of things unseen. May the Spirit reveal herself to you in sound.

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