This month’s blog post features a moving piece by Jim Marsh, used with permission. – Carolyn
The word came to me as a waking dream, right in the middle of a Lenten fast that had been hard. A sharp reminder that I have the power to sing, even in the darkness. To dance without music. To see daylight through the dark veil of war, be it within or without. The tears remind me that I am still very much alive. We embody so much more… all of us bright shining like a thousand summer suns.
As the war raged on, they played their instruments anyway. Newspapers everywhere ran the story a few weeks ago. Scattered members of the Ukrainian National Symphony Orchestra gathered in the center of Kyiv, playing Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”, [the tune on which the European Union’s anthem is based]. In other parts of the country, closer to the bombings, soldiers played their instruments too. They played the songs of their homeland, singing in their mother tongue in the face of all manners of death and devastation. They sing the song of freedom… notes shared by every language… pregnant with Light.
On a cold winter’s day, I sat in my home church, singing the songs my mother loved, a funeral wish she had left us. Sitting on the front row, I held my chin up high as I sang, gazing into the rose window above the altar, a stained glass mandala to the rising of all things. I remembered her raised chin as she gazed at that very same window, all those years ago, as she sang her songs at my little sister Milly’s funeral. The many nights she slept in that hard hospital chair, beside the bed of her youngest child. I thought of that, as my head lifted towards that great window full of the red shining sun. And in that eternal moment, I heard her say, “Rise, child. Rise.” Death did not stop her singing, and neither would it stop mine. I hold within me now, on this Easter morning, a risen chin and heart, resplendent in its pulsing, strident in its song.
When the bows pulled across the strings and the breath moved through the valves, those wooden and steel instruments of God rang out like bells on Christmas day. Guided by steady hands and pursed lips, a great hope rested near chins that could take the punch of the world and not go down. In service to the will of the ones who dare to play them, those strings and woodwinds cry out to the places that most need to hear their sound. Something is being born. Something has risen. A great light breaks forth from the darkness, like a thousand summer suns.
–Jim Marsh, Jr., Bread of Life Church