Monday, October 24, 2011

Sunday Psalm

Yesterday's Psalm spoke to me.

Lord, you have been our refuge
from one generation to another.

Before the mountains were brought forth,
or the land and the earth were born,
from age to age you are God.

You turn us back to the dust and say,
"Go back, O child of earth."

For a thousand years in your sight are like yesterday when it is past
and like a watch in the night.

You sweep us away like a dream;
we fade away suddenly like the grass.

In the morning it is green and flourishes;
in the evening it is dried up and withered.

Return, O Lord; how long will you tarry?
be gracious to your servants.

Satisfy us by your loving-kindness in the morning;
so shall we rejoice and be glad all the days of our life.

Psalm 90:1-6; 13-14

I've been feeling a bit like the tree in the photo above...struggling and weatherbeaten by the winds of life. One evening last week, all of a sudden, something went wrong with my left eye. I was seeing flashes of light and big black blotches everywhere. I was scared. Everything that just a minute before I'd taken for granted seemed to be at risk. But fate was kind and the next morning, after some frantic searching, I got an immediate appointment with a specialist only 5 minutes away. The technical diagnosis is posterior vitreous detachment which will likely heal itself if I can rest and avoid heavy physical activity and reading.

Yes, reading...that's a hard one. Of course I read music, too, and my usual solitary hours of practice are out for awhile. But I now have the OK to do what I need to in order to play on Sundays and keep my students in order.

I am grateful that healing has begun and you can believe that I will take care of my eye. And that means signing off now...but one more thing: this Psalm spoke to Brahms, too-he used it in his Requiem.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Summer of Love

This was the summer for memorable weddings. First it was the one with Yo-Yo Ma and then Emily's on August 14. And between these two I played for a same-sex commitment ceremony at St. Saviour's. Although it is not yet legal here in Maine for a same-gender couple to marry, I am fortunate to work for a church and denomination that allows and even encourages blessings for gay couples.

Rick and Josh are about 40, I'd guess, and had a civil wedding in DC. But they wanted a church blessing as well, and being die-hard Episcopalians fate led them to us. I realize that gay marriage is controversial and I'd dare say some of my dear friends and family would not support the idea. But I am of another opinion and feel that two people who love and care for each other have the right to get married, period. I know several long-term gay couples that could teach us heterosexuals a thing or two about a loving relationship.

For the purpose of this posting I will call Rick and Josh's ceremony a wedding. And what a glorious one it was...never have I worked with a couple so intent on designing a service which spoke to their love for each other, their friends and family, and God. Every hymn and scripture reading was carefully chosen and their vows, while traditional, included some timely modern adaptations. Communion was a big part of the service, and the hymns chosen for that spoke inclusively of God's love for all. The whole thing was capped off by their yellow lab emerging from the wings to recess down the aisle with them.

I have played for so many weddings where the couple and their friends are ill at ease and just anxious to get to the party. Not this one...I felt that we were all part of something beautiful, meaningful and even eternal...the way weddings should be.