Non-Religious Christian Spirituality

playing the music

Since we’ve been streaming our Sunday and Tuesday gatherings, I’ve gotten way behind on posting the audio recordings and short synopses of Sunday messages on our site. I’m going to pick up where I left off here, and write the synopses in such as way that they stand alone, with the option to link to audio recordings for more. Here we go…

When you’re holding a sheet of music manuscript in your hand, we commonly call it the music. But what are you really holding? Music? The staff, barlines, noteheads, and all those other glyphs are a system of conveying certain intentions to vibrate–but nothing more. Someone, somewhere, somewhen heard music vibrating either in the mind or in the air and wrote it all down as a means for someone else, somewhen and somewhere else, to vibrate as well. What you’re holding is only the intention, the possibility of music. You have to play the music to have the music; you can’t keep it in a drawer. It’s yours only as long as the last vibrations hum in your ears, after which you hold mere intention once again.

Same with Scripture. Is the Word of God really the ink dried into the pages of the book you hold? Or are those glyphs merely the ancient record of someone’s intention to vibrate at the frequency of God? It’s all about presence after all. We understand when it comes to music, you must be present to win–you must be immersed in the vibrating air, pressed against those vibrations as they play out. We understand less that a book must be played too. Or better, that the book plays us. When we bring our presence to the words, we become the instrument that plays the music, vibrating as author intended and experienced.

Presence is all we have to work with. It’s the needle in the groove of the vinyl record, the laser point on the CD that is present to the moment of unfolding, that unfolds the moment by its presence–or not. It’s fascinating to me that on the cross, drowning in his sea of pain, Jesus refuses the mixture of wine and myrrh soaked in the sponge at the end of a stick. I can’t be sure, but I think it’s because even though it would have dulled the pain, it would have also dulled his needle, his presence to the moment. And it was an important moment. All moments are…if we’re present. We keep trying to think our way through–considering the meaning of words and music we’ve never played. Thinking about something is not being present to it–the moment we reduce anything to a glyph in the mind, it stops being the thing itself; stripped of presesence, all that’s left is intention, possibility.

Jesus said to win your life you first had to lose it. Let’s get lost. Good and lost. Let’s stop thinking and start practicing presence…stop reading notes and start playing the music.

Message delivered @ theeffect, 4/22/12. Here for audio message.

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