Lent 38 : Conspiracy

A conspiracy  is a noble intent which needs to take ugly but necessary steps out of the public eye. Most people don’t act with pure malice. Most people shield themselves from truth and act true to themselves. So bankers can justify their huge bonuses and their immoral actions against humanity. Politicians can justify their corruption and society as a whole can give an almighty shrug.

When our authorities decide to arrest a trouble maker we don’t think of it as a conspiracy unless we are in some way with the trouble maker. We think the authorities are doing what they are supposed to. So when the priests and scribes plot Jesus downfall they’re merely trying to neutralise a possible terrorist. Unless of course you’re on the other side and see it as an extreme injustice.

Jesus on the other hand seems to lead a counter conspiracy. One that would reveal human conspiracy as pitiful attempts to hold on to power and reveal the naked broken God who takes on the fury of conspiracy and suffers with its victims.

Lent 35 : The Lord gives, the Lord takes

Into the last week!

This is a song idea of mine, which has been hanging around for a bit. I’ll maybe work on it properly after this project is over.  It explores Job’s reaction to the disasters surrounding him. He says the Lord gives and the Lord takes. Is this true belief or is this false piety? I wonder if this is just a conditioned response. Why else would he spend the rest of the book arguing with his friends about God?

Lent 30 : I never knew

This piece is inspired by the Charles Ives piece for two pianos. One piano is tuned a quarter tone down. The effect is amazing. This is an entirely new palette for me. This is the beauty of the desert. That new things are possible. With old structures broken down we could do new things. Of course new things will never be received without opposition. But what is new gives hope for an old stricture has been broken.

Lent 29 : The Call

This piece explores the nature of a call. The call is a strange meeting point of circumstance, our own maturing and hearing something from beyond. I like to imagine it as a gentle insistent voice. I would like to think that in my better days this is how I get my 5 year old to tidy up!

I wonder how Jesus realised his call. It must have been so many different things through the first 30 years of his life. His mother’s stories, the oppression of his people, his experiences of the temple and his cousin John. Then he goes forward for baptism and it all comes together. The heavens open as the dimensions collide and the Spirit who brooded over creation comes upon Jesus and drives him to the desert.

Is it in the desert that he realises his true, chilling, calling?

Lent 27 : Moving to the Root

This piece is a Kyrie. It is a song asking God for mercy. Even though there is a sense where the root note of the piece is the melody doesn’t reach it right till the end. The harmonies surrounding it move without touching the root note till near the last cycle of the Kyrie. Then the harmony settles on that chord.

This is an illustration of our times of realisation. We go along in a particular mode, hearing dimly and when we reach the root the realisation is complete. The desert is an important place of the evolution of our realisation.

But why the Kyrie? The desert for all that it takes away and gives to you, is also a source of pride. The urge to make the desert ‘cool’ is strong. Being made a martyr is a strong drug. We all love to indulge in it. Such is one of the facets of pride.

Pride is a power struggle with God and others. I arrogantly assume I see better than my blind immature siblings. I long to take charge. I want thousands of people to listen to my music and be transformed and me be proclaimed a genius. Piously I wait for God to fulfil these ‘reasonable’ desires. Yet these fantastical delusions are steps to death.

So God moves us note by note to take us to the root so that we might realise; in this case my pride. Have mercy, Lord.

Lent 26 : Status down

This piece tries to picture a consistent downward movement. The great hymn of Phillippians 2 sings of the great downward movement of Christ, a downwardness that Paul encourages us to join in with.

The whole of scripture seems to be a downward movement.  In Genesis, God moves from himself to the heavens finally down to the dust to create humankind. In Revelation the new Jerusalem comes down from heaven and God comes down to be with his people.

Losing one’s status is very hard. All cultures take fairly drastic steps not to lose status. Fathers kill their daughters for causing dishonour. Parents work themselves to death for the sake of keeping up with the peers of their children. Bankers embrace evil lies. Rulers massacre their own people.

Over the years I’ve felt a real loss of status. I haven’t kept up with my peers. My employment is dicey and I have none of the status possessions like a house or a car. This grates on me especially since I want my own daughters to keep up and have the full possible access to the life this world can offer. Obviously I have lot to be thankful for. But not keeping with those I grew up with, does grate.

Yet as scripture shows and the piece illustrates, God embraces the downward, status down.

Lent 23 : I hear without understanding

Vast amounts of information rush around us. For the most part we don’t really understand it. This is true in church where we keep hearing the scriptures but it all just washes over us.

Jesus quotes the chilling comment from Isaiah ‘…ever hearing, but never understanding, … ever seeing, but never perceiving…’ (Is 6:9, Matt 13:13-14, Mark 4:12)

I think this is about the Spirit. It is the Spirit who allows us to understand, to perceive. It is the Spirit who allows us to have that resonance with a song, a sermon, a gig or a meal. So Jesus says without the Spirit we can’t understand or perceive him.

In the desert, away from the edifices and constructs of our morality and our religion the Spirit blows freely. We wish to take shelter from this dangerous, wild breath. But in order to hear God we have to face the wind. It might be a gentle breeze or a dusty gust but the wind brings close what was far away. We might hear something wonderful.

I don’t know what this piece is about. I hear but have no response to make. Could you? 🙂

Lent 21 : So much to share but I’ll wait

When we learn new things that excite us we want to share it. Immediately. Studying in bible college it happened almost everyday. So many amazing things. Even in the desert we feel that we’ve learnt the lesson and we want to share that lesson.

In hindsight I wish I had waited more before I had spoken. Sometimes God asks us to seal the books like he asked Daniel. When the time is right the seals can be broken.

Or listen to it here.