Thursday, September 8, 2011

Music Notes - 11 September


       The author of our Sirach reading this weekend had a keen understanding of the human heart. Something in us loves to feel sorry for ourselves, to nurse a grudge, to nurture revenge.  The anniversary of 9/11 looms large, but it ought not to obscure our memory of equally horrific events. In 1995, our own Timothy McVeigh, veteran of the first Gulf War and disgruntled by the events at Waco, bombed the federal building in Oklahoma City and was executed on June 11, 2001. Before and since, the genocides at Srebernica and in Rwanda, sectarian massacres in Sudan and India, repeated incidents of terrorism, and the helplessness of the international community to address them. Closer to home, aggressive driving fuels road rage, or a perceived “diss” is an excuse to get even. How to break the vicious circle of hurt?  Sirach, our psalmist and St. Paul suggest that we let go of our own hurt and turn outward toward others, and further, that we strive for a God’s-eye view of the situation.
       In writing his Rule, St. Benedict “sketched out a blueprint for world peace.” Joan Chittister describes Benedictine peace as “the presence of a lifestyle that makes war unacceptable and violence unnecessary. . . . The armies of the world simply demonstrate the war that is going on in our own souls, the restlessness of the enemy within us. . . .” Benedict’s plan is well-expressed in the prayer of St. Francis, “Make Me A Channel of Your Peace,” and in the song “Let There Be Peace on Earth.” The mission is carried further in Michael Joncas’ setting of John 15, “No Greater Love,” with its exhortation to “lay down your life for a friend.” “Be Still, My Soul,” set to Sibelius’ Finlandia theme, is a powerful affirmation that God is still in charge. Our meditation mantra is Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s affirmation, “Goodness is stronger than evil, love is stronger than hate; light is stronger than darkness, life is stronger than death.”
       Music at 10:00 begins with an invitation to let Jesus come in for a visit, “Somebody’s Knockin’ At Your Door.” The communion song is based on the Lord’s Prayer, “Give us this day our daily bread,” continuing, “to go from here and share this love you gave to me.” Mass concludes with “Blessed Be Your Name,” an assurance that God is with us both in adundance and want, in sunshine and in suffering.
-Glenn Hufnagel