I listened to a choir performance my cousin shared of my Aunt Cathy—who apologized because she’d only intended to share it with choir members—and there was something there for me because I got this little tickle (of heart and brain flirting like courtship) that made me follow his lead and also offer reverent music.
And my first impulse was to share something I’ve shared before–Part 1 of Chichester Psalms–because the specific Psalms the music references (108 v2 and 100) do this eruption of joy within me. Not sure why. I assume most likely because I don’t have any religion “radar blips” in my past so have been spared the disappointment of seeing that sometimes what looks like deep and lovely faith is just a nervous little man behind a curtain pulling switches. In my world, Jesus hasn’t been tainted and misused—nobody utilized him to abuse my much more sacred Source-appointed free will—so I have emotional freedom to look upon him purely as a seeker of light and love.
And even though when I play the music, I can’t sing along fast enough, I can feel the meaning in the Hebrew like voices offering wisdom so old it might itself hold the power to anoint me for the attempt. For Jesus was Jewish, and the psalms themselves written long before he even became part of this world, so it’s possible he himself spoke these words–maybe even raised voice in joyful noise to God, saying the same words to song—and experienced a state of reverie identical to mine. And the idea inspires me because no matter whether you believe that Jesus was the anointed one—The Christ—the goal of living life under the umbrella of such purposeful benevolence is by itself transformative.
The lyrics/psalms I refer to (in both English and Hebrew) are listed below:
Awake, psaltery and harp:
But alas, such sharing was not of yesterday’s destiny and, after hearing my aunts choir, I was unable to find the recording of Chichester Psalms I liked, at which point things started circling the drain, and my interest banked sharp left into The Beatles “I am the Walrus.”
It wasn’t until after I ate lunch, shopped, and came home that I regrouped–no longer looking for “Chichester Psalms”–because sometimes it is that things bubble up as result of sense and nonsense while day wanes, and for some reason, there came to me U2’s self-proclaimed (gorgeously-powerful) lullaby to Martin Luther King, Jr., “MLK;” and as I stood in the kitchen under darkening sky, my heart and mind seized in full-body awareness of the passion of compassion.
Because people have died for the cause of your heart and mine. Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed; Jesus (Christ or not) was killed.
And I don’t think I ever really understood what that meant. I knew it but not deeply enough.
They died. They were killed. Human beings like Jesus and Martin Luther King Jr. died for you and I. They devoted their life to the dream they had of making our shared world a more loving and just place, and died for the cause. They stood up for us, to no immediate benefit, and gave time, thought, and words, and violence was exacted against them in retribution for doing so. And people—many other people, known and unknown—have sacrificed security so as to unify people. They’re doing it right now; they’re walking this earth in unspoken corners of the world, sacrificing in ways both small and large; giving unconditionally so as to make a more kind world, often metaphorically-bowing and offering peace-filled heads to oppressors who might kill them anyways.
But they’re doing it.
[And because this is actually my real life–and this is based on real events–feel free to imagine my face in tears here, for it was like the synopsis of the history of humanity, clean and muddy, heavy, soft, shatteringly-complex yet dipped in the jewels of compassion and loving intent…]
And it’s an altruism that’s almost impossible to understand the goodness of. But that doesn’t change the fact that it happened and is still happening.
For–as a non-Christian, as an observer of humanity free of confines–Jesus never wanted to be one special guy walking around doing kindness and miracles: he wanted everyone to be doing it; every person, every man/woman/soul. He wanted everyone to act as anointed ones, and that this entire plane of existence should exist to make it their goal every day to serve one another in unconditional kindness. And that is a good goddammed miracle to stand in your kitchen on a Saturday in December and realize that, slowly and methodically–without ego or steeple–that he’s getting his wish.
And over and through the night, I slept and woke to that comfort.
For there is hope. And we are it.