benefit, generosity, praying, psalm 19, sacred music, singing, stable, The Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus, The Sophia Center for Spirituality, unity
It’s always interesting to me when one word jumps out from a page and starts me on a road of reflection. This morning that word was an adjective from Psalm 19 in an alternate translation. The word was stable. (When bolded it really does give the impression of what it means.) I’m fairly certain that I hooked onto that word because everything seems unstable right now: the weather, the political scene and many of the institutions – religious and secular – that seem to be failing around the world. We need something to hold onto and I believe it can only come from a deep, interior place. Here is what the psalmist said in speaking to God:
The stable patterns of your ways give joy and fill the heart with good, bringing light to eyes that now can see. Pure light, pure truth, pure justice, God, they’re like a cleansing wind that passes through our souls, assessing all.
Last evening I had an experience of this “purity,” this stability. I went to a benefit concert for the work of The Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus who travel to Haiti on a regular basis to help improve conditions in the lives of the people there. The concert was organized by and featured the extraordinary talents of the parish musicians and choir of St. James Church in Johnson City, NY. I am always comfortable there as I had known many of these people as students when I was teaching high school, two of whom are Jan DeAngelo, music director for the parish and Patricia Foley, leader of the contemporary choir, the group presenting the concert.
From the first pure note of the a cappella solo, Pat led the crowded church into a truly holy event, traveling through time and venues where sacred and secular are one. Violins, horns, guitars and drums melded perfectly with the artistic prowess of Jan’s piano – and the voices…well, the blend was, to coin a word, heavenly. And the best part of all was that the audience was encouraged to sing along at every turn – and we did! From John Denver’s All This Joy to the stirring religious anthem, How Great Thou Art, the evening was suffused with the light of generosity and willingness and the truth that our singing and praying was perhaps as beneficial for Haitians as the overflowing bucket of donations at the back of the Church.
My gratitude is great, just for knowing such talented, generous people who offer their gifts on a regular basis for the praise of God and the good of community, bringing light to eyes that come to see from a place of unity.