Tuesday, October 26, 2010

36. Found in the Offering Box

The best of what makes us human will survive as long as there is just one person left who can play music like that!
As one enters the main doors of St. Saviour's Episcopal Parish in Bar Harbor there is a locked, metal box on the wall for gifts of money to the church. The above note was found in that box in August.

From June until the end of October hundreds, maybe even thousands of tourists flock thru our doors during the week and on Sundays. Being next door to Acadia National Park and sporting an unbelievable location combining ocean and mountains, Bar Harbor is a big tourist destination. The year the town will be visited by approximately 100 cruise ships alone. St. Saviour's is on the National Historic Registry and is famous for its Tiffany windows; hence many, many people want to see it for themselves.

But there is so much more to this beautiful space than the windows. There is a profound, awe-inspiring sense of the sacred here. I have witnessed countless examples of people of many nationalities and faiths (or no faith) be struck dumb as they enter the church. The feeling of something greater than ourselves is present, and I confess to being aware of it every time I am there.
I do a lot of practicing in August and many visitors sit down to listen for a few minutes. Often they are even on their knees praying. It's a little strange to be off in my own world of the music and discover that someone is listening, and I have to put that out of my mind so that I am not distracted. Sometimes someone will quietly say thank-you as they are leaving and at times the listener will have the courage to approach me on the bench. But I never fail to see that somehow the music has comforted or transformed the listeners, even if just for a few minutes.

This posting is not about me and any special ability I might have as an organist. It is about the power and meaning of music, whether new or ancient, in this special place. How fortunate I am to be the conduit for that, and I am filled with gratitude.


Kathleen Shimeta said...

Brava, for your music making and BRAVA, for your understanding the depth of spirituality!

sockmonkeyette said...

I agree that your church is just an awesome space, and combined with your music it certainly feels like it is invested with some kind of higher spirit. You are really taken out of yourself and I think it makes you receptive to the message. I have to say though, that I see that as a tribute to the power of the Arts (architecture, art, music) to transform. (Perhaps this is part of some divine plan.) When I go to some churchs (not that I should be comparing) I have absolutely no "religious" feeling. A combination of uninspired architecture and off-key choir and soloist takes me totally in the other direction. In your church one is willing to believe that the minister could deliver "the word", in some artistically challenged churchs, not so much.