Absolute madness. December always promises that and but this year has been special. The month started of in Delhi where I was sessioning with TAAQ and we saw another Indian band that blew all our minds out. Watching Skinney Alley on that cold night was a strange spiritual experience of glimpsing something of such beauty that I had to give God thanks for something that could only come from him.
Straight back in to see Galeej play for the PU kids in Christ college and it was sooo good to see everyone having fun in a way I hadn’t seen for a while. And that night the TAAQ party which was a mixed bag of emotions but boy am I proud of them. I really hope that in college some seeds are being sown which will show their awesome fruit 10 years down. One can hope. God does things slowly and properly. Tres difficile for our instant slot machine minds to grasp.
The next day the college choir season started. On a poor note. Not really prepared or focussed. But pulled through and everyone admonished each other gently of course. And then it just took off. It’s been an amazing experience being with the choir. So much ownership, so much passion, so much commitment, so much talent. It all came together without too much heartache from my side this time. We won Basel Mission for the 3rd consecutive time (My 6th first! lift the collar!), had good performances at Campus Crusade, Magnificat, and at Bishop Cottons. I was amazed at the kind of energy we managed to get together and I was quite kicked by the fact that even if a soloist was missing we always seemed to have a back up. I’m almost fearful of restarting the choir for not being able to recapture the feeling. But all things move on and change. Holding on to the past is dangerous. God moves on. He does new stuff. Each time cooler and more frightening. The choir wanted to keep singing on and on. I believe in heaven. We’ll all jam the most beautiful music forever.
Two songs came out at this time. ‘Magnify’ and ‘Hush’, two completely different pieces. One by an exultant mother at God’s goodness and the other by an unknown mother on the verge of losing her child to a senseless political act of violence. I wanted to write something different and God gave me the eyes to see something and write some of it down. Christian songs for the most part seem to exclude the messy living, the politics, the horror and the beauty of living (with brilliant exceptions in Graham Kendrick and John Bell to name a couple of writers who I’ve been inspired by). I didn’t need to make up anything. It’s all there in our gospels. And these 2 songs capture the light and the darkness of Christmas. The despair at losing your most precious, and the hope that in the end everything will be put to rights. Everything. Including death.
Leon Ireland’s death was a huge shock. I didn’t know the brilliant Moksha singer too well. But I’ve seen him perform since Moksha first formed and have met him and joked with him at the various gigs that we did meet. Death sudden and young is always harder to bear. But death always feels so not right. And I grieved. I remember Jesus wept too. And later, he smashed death itself. But why does it still ache so much?
Gertrude made her appearance. The first performance was in church. Played ‘jazz’. Did an improvised solo on ‘God rest ye merry…’ I’m a show off. That’s not complete evil but to perform beautifully one must perform to give others joy. It sometimes happens. Someone told me ‘You are blessed, and you are a blessing to others’. I really want to hold on to that when I play. To show something of the beauty of God. That God is not a philosophical out there concept. That God could show a tiny drop of himself through a broken bass guitarist. Abraham Laboriel really shows the way on that. Played with Galeej. Did ‘Aeroplane’ and a long extended solo which wasn’t all there but it was fun. Still focussed a lot on myself there.
Three gigs with TAAQ and I find that my keyboard playing is maturing. It’s great to be with old friends and do music. I like my current relationship with the band. Finally that’s what’s important isn’t it? Relationship. Now if only I could figure out my relationship with God…
Though the last 3 weeks have been fun, it’s been hard especially on Luiza and Kiarna. We’ve missed each other a lot, and it’s tough when Luiza and Kiarna are in isolated HSR Layout. There have been good people who’ve dropped by but we wish for more… So we’re glad that the madness is over. We can breathe a little more now. We pray for the breath of God.
This Christmas is special. My daughter shall smile at me. God will be with us as we sit together and pray and eat. Pray and eat. Jesus did that quite a lot. So it must be good right?
Here’s wishing you Merry Christmas and I pray that you’ll get a glimpse of the amazing things that God has got for you.