Archive for March 12th, 2013

Festival of Arts Header

My first clue that something was “up” showed up when I entered the worship area of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church for the concert and saw the program cover!  It was so close to the logo for my work as Souljourner at-Large that it startled me.

souljourner - atLarge front

My second clue, after the pastor’s welcoming remarks, was the presence of co-presenter Joseph Byrd, who came bounding up the aisle to center front, reincarnated as Francis of Assisi. Well, at least he came to us in the habit of the Third Order of Lutheran Franciscans (I didn’t know existed).

In the year 2000, I was in a group pilgrimage to Francis’ home town, prayed in the cathedral where he is buried, and walked the brick paved roads upon which he and his merry band of buddies paraded, partied and serenaded  before he fell completely in love with Jesus Christ. From then on,  Francis was fully joyous in the love of the Lord and the work of the Lord in all nature that surrounded him and increased that love through the order of Franciscan Friars he founded.

And I have enough of a heart bond with St. Francis to recognize an  exuberant, loving, joyful presence of the saint when I saw one  in this man of our modern day.

Along with his wife Grace (very fittingly named)  accomplished violist, (Violist -in-residence with the Kalamazoo Symphony), they gently, yet dramatically, led us through a musical meditation of Wondrous Love, in the poetry of William Blake (1737-1827)  set to music performed through Grace’s viola and Joseph’s melodic tenor voice and rapturous grand piano playing.

I was in attendance by the  invitation of my friend and sister artist, Jan Christianson, who is a member of this Prince of Peace Lutheran parish. She introduced me to the fine Norwegian art of Rosemaling and she  is teaching me how to do this. My interest in it is a response to my ancestry and also a willingness to pursue artistry through this medium. Jan had several edifying art creations in the exhibit.

That I was there at all was up to powers beyond my own. I had “pushed the river” when I set my first Souljourner Open Circle meeting for the day before, which was just a few days after my husband’s third skin surgery (three weeks in a row). But I yielded to the inner sense that “I had to get started.”

I’d invited two of my fitness classes in: my yoga and my poolates class. Then, I was unable to follow the notices up the week before due to extra caregiver duties. So I worried if anyone would come. I’d also listed the wrong name on our subdivision, so I worried if people would get lost trying to find our home.

Jan was one of the people who made up a lovely small group. Had it been a large group, the subject of Rosemaling would likely not have come up. But it did and Jan told me of the art show and concert being held  the next day and I knew I’d be there.

This morning, the day after the concert, I awoke early with many soul messages that are coming from both the art I viewed and especially the concert I enjoyed. It all sunk into me on several levels.

This is my early morning prayer journal entry for today:

“I am deeply touched by the concert experience I had at the Festival of the Arts at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church yesterday with Jan Christianson.

Especially by the performance and musical ministry of Grace and Joseph Byrd. This honest, grace-filled, passionate performance of viola, piano and tenor voice interpretation of William Blake’s poetry exploded within my soul. His talk of the ‘space’ aligned with my spiritual leading and returned me to my own poetry of ‘Angels in the Doorway’. I Am in that space.

I was sitting (and privileged to be) in a Spiritual-Artistic Setting where the Arts are truly celebrated as a Path Within and To the Divine.

It was no accident I was there, but it was only by a ‘chance’ conversation the day before that I became aware of it.

So very often now, these leadings come from within and from a soul-voice. Not from my Capricornian desire for order and meaning and planning.

I am marching to a different drummer — and I do hear the tune.

I am part of who these artists, musicians, writers, and spiritual leaders are — They are my community at-Large. Just as I Am Monk in the World and I Am Contemplative voice.

I will follow up on this. How Am I to be this? What does All that Is want of me? How Am I follower? How Am I leader? “

Festival of Arts Program

Wondrous Love! Yes, St. Francis of Assisi
knew God’s love pours out abundantly upon us
and we realize only a little of it.

Apparently, so did William Blake.

                          William Blake

To Mercy, Pity, Peace and Love,
All pray in their distress,
And to these virtues of delight
Return their thankfulness.

For Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love,
Is God our Father dear;
And Mercy, Pity, Peace and Love,
Is man, His child and care.

For Mercy has a human heart;
Pity, a human face;
And Love, the human form divine:
And Peace the human dress.

Then every man, of every clime,
That prays in his distress,
Prays to the human form divine:
Love, Mercy, Pity, Peace.

And all must love the human form,
In heathen, Turk, or Jew.
Where Mercy, Love, and Pity dwell,
There God is dwelling too.

The Festival of the Arts celebrates Wondrous Love in Art and Music and celebrates the Creator in Us.

“The Earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world and those who dwell therein”  Psalm 24.

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