Monday, December 1, 2014

Of Advent. And Ferguson. Marching saints. And an emmanuel to come.


The 40/60 band ( is waiting for me as I get to the 86th street door, ready to rehearse. I let them in and they head up to the gym. Robin Rhodes, Olivia Harris and Angela Lamb, they are proteges of Ralph Farris and ETHEL yet have their own unique persona as a performing group, not to mention a strong commitment to tier work as artists to the greater struggle for social justice. Ferguson has had a heavy impact on Olivia who has been on the streets in Boston with Robin.
I am occupied with working on putting the Sunday morning service together, trying to develop my theme of From Lament to Hope with a very existential eye on Ferguson and the events of last week.

Jeremy arrives and we go through our own work.  He asks about O Come, O Come Emmanuel and I point out that  captive Israel captures the sense of a people not yet free. That mourn(ing) in lonely exile can be  like feeling exiled in your own country. I think of only one verse, but Jeremy is drawn to the third, by Henry Sloane Coffin in 1852:
O come, Desire of nations, bind
All peoples in one heart and mind;
Bid envy, strife and quarrels cease;
Fill the whole world with heaven’s peace.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Whenever I hear anything  that could be as Zionist anthem, I feel, well, you gotta go for the universal….he says.

When we look at Mark 13: 24-25
24“But in those days, after that suffering, 
     the sun will be darkened, 
          and the moon will not give its light, 
25  and the stars will be falling from heaven, 
          and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. 
he says,  Saints….when the saints go marchin’ in…that’s it…
O when the sun refuse to shine…
O when the moon turns red with blood
O when the stars fall from the sky…
And I realize what I’ve always missed.... Saints... is an apocalyptic song, it’s lyrics drawn straight from Mark and Revelation.

We head up to the gym to meet with 40/60. They  love the starkness of the space. It’s sonoral resonance. We go over the plan. Rehearse O come, O come Emmanuel….and …Saints…complete with improvisations. Tomorrow will be a good day.

I’m short on time. Will barely be able to make it to my performance with Composers Concordance on the Lower Eastside. (Where 40/60 will turn up in the audience..)

I open the door an there is Sean in hi wheelchair…..Uh, Bob….

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