The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth . . .

When I began to take my own questions about God and faith seriously while in college, I used to go to the basement of the library at the University of Vermont and study in the music library. Down there in the basement I would check out pieces of music by composers I that was discovering, many of them from the “minimalist” school of Philip Glass, Steve Reich, John Adams, Arvo Part, Henri Gorecki, etc. While I thought that I was continuing to paddle in the waters of a lovely, though non-specific, sort of spiritualized agnosticism, I was blown over when I began to find references to the very faith from which I had cultivated a pseudo intellectual distance within these compositions; that’s not supposed to be here I thought.

One of the pieces that I have returned to through the years is John Adams “Christian Zeal and Activity.” Growing up in Mississippi, the Free State of Jones County, I have have a large vault within my mind and heart for the kind of preaching that Adams weaves into this piece. Although I do not know if Mr. Adams was making any theological point in offering this combination of musical and homiletical narrative, it certainly made an impact upon me; I found it curious that I could hold these two psychic spaces in one place for a moment. Such moments actually became a kind of bridge for me into a larger field of view within my own consciousness, and within whatever notions I had about the depth and breadth of God’s spirit moving within the world. I can see something beautiful and holy when I stand at the window of this piece; and for this I am grateful.

I hope that you find some new depth and breadth if you listen. Blessings and Godspeed.

That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God. {Ephesians 3:17-19}

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s