This post will have a lot of photos and some music – if only because I don’t think I have ever been so photographed as during these past two weeks – and each and every person with whom those photos were taken has in one way or another left a mark. For those who were not with me on this adventure I will repeat two things I said there, which remain as background music to my prayer as I settle back into Australia:
- God promises 100/1 to those who leave everything and everyone to follow him, and I am way past that number, but I think these two weeks take the biscuit at least in intensity: so very full of re-encountering past friends, colleagues and missionaries, and finding others whose lives have so quickly entered right to the core of mine. For all of this, I am grateful.
- When I came to Australia – which felt and feels still now very led by God – one thought I had was that it would bring me closer to Asia, and as a missionary and a lecturer in theology, that felt important: we need to open our minds and reflective processes to know, understand better and integrate this continent’s cultures and ways of thinking into how our faith seeks understanding. So far I have been to Singapore and the Philippines, and I feel that particular aspect of God’s bringing me here has at least begun :).
So after two intense weeks of meeting new people:
Re-encountering old acquaintances:
And especially making great music with terrific musicians:
Including those who stole the show…
Some seriously organised organizers:
and fellow music-makers, reflecting on what it means to be Christian composers and musicians (as opposed to musicians who are also Christians):
I just wanna say ‘thank you’.
I am confirmed afresh in one profound truth: our God is incarnated, and it is in relationships and friendships – the real, authentic, honest, vulnerable, fragile, intense and beautiful spaces and relationships we share with others that God’s Spirit becomes most powerfully present – and DOES things. Today’s reading: Jesus He takes the blind man off by himself away from the crowd, he puts his finger into the man’s ears, spits, touches his tongue; looks up to heaven and groans a prayer: “Be opened! Ephphatha!” And through all this, the miracle happens – God enters, interrupts, changes, makes his presence felt and our life is coloured beautiful – even in the midst of the need and poverty, the images of which are still before my eyes…God is present and works through our humanity as well, and our music-making.I do not have words to say how deeply I sense, taste, feel, know God in these two things: when I make music
and in honest conversations in and of our need for God with the people Jesus allows cross my path or places in my hands. These two weeks have had so much of both.
I do not even need to name those of you who have thus enriched my life – you know who you are – but I do need to say I am grateful. So thank you. (We will upload the live video and music when it is mastered.)