Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Expressin the Good News

Yesterday was Martin Luther King Jr. day.
This day always means a lot to me. You can read more about why.

Just being here tonight is bringing back all kinds of memories for me, and I'm feeling all kinds of things about soulful communication of God's love and joyful communication of the gospel. I'm feelin the joy of the time I spent coaxing and nurturing that joy and soul in regular people who weren't sure if they had it in them to be loud or even confident in expressing the good news with groove. They'd look around, like, whoa. This feels gooooood. Is it okay for me to feel this good moving and shaking and shouting with love in music even though I'm white/inexperienced/not a singer/shy? I loved smiling, reassuringly, and letting them know that we are all entitled to groove and joy, that our message transcends all kinds of boundaries. Just because we're white and don't have the history, the generations of water under the bridge--this doesn't mean we're not allowed to love music or culture or a new way to express how we feel about God and the human family.

I'm here, in the Wilk Ballroom, feeling how big it is that musicians practice and have oodles of background and built-up love and history that they bring to the music. The audience has no idea, really. We're edified, we feel good--but we have no idea.This is what I miss about performing.

I saw BYU Singers on the program and I gotta admit I was disappointed. And a little infuriated at first. I was all attitude, like, ohhh please, Martin woulda hated this coiffed-to-perfection-choral-boringness with exaggerated diction and an impeccable blend. His legacy was about doing what you believed in the best way you knew how, with or without a fancy degree or special training. He would scoff at this singing that's so manicured and refined, and who in the world thought up this silly idea to have them here! They don't know a thing about this culture or this people or the way music is supposed to be.

But then in the middle of my attitude I remembered what I just thought about being allowed to love things that you don't have any ownership in. And I remembered what Cathy the speaker challenged us to do when walking down the street: saying in our minds to each person, you matter. She challenged us to see the likeness of God in all of His children. I typed that in my phone because I forgot my journ.
 Then I felt sheepish for not wanting to let it go the other way. For wanting to reject the BYU Singers' offering because it was different than mine would have been. So maybe the people in BYU Singers didn't get it, like I was puttin on them. But maybe they did, and they made something to honor Dr. King that was equally as important as my gritty soulful somethin would have been.

I think Martin Luther King Jr. would have been pleased that a group of white classically trained singing kids were honoring him, even if in a form he didn't love as much. Maybe some of those Singers people caught a glimpse of how inadequate their offering was and felt humbled by all they have to learn. But I caught that glimpse about my own offerings of song and love and worship, and felt humbled. And I still felt good and light walking out of there.

And I still want to go to a meeting in our church where I can sing and shout and praise the Lord with all the volume and vigor I feel like. Right now I do that by myself, and I feel lifted.