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Daily Dose (July 18 – 21)


This we know: music soothes. And music heals.
But with disorder and upheaval (in the world or in our minds), it is easy to not hear (or to not take to heart) the music’s liberating grace.

Fred Roger (“Mr. Rogers”) calls Yo-Yo Ma one of the “great appreciators of our world. It seems that people always walk taller after they’ve had an encounter with him. The only thing that’s larger than his talent is his heart.”
Mr. Rogers tells the story about a day he was privileged to sit in on one of Yo-Yo Ma’s master cello classes. “During that master class one young man was struggling with the tone of a certain cello passage. He played it over and over and Yo-Yo listened with obvious interest. Finally, Yo-Yo said, ‘Nobody else can make the sound you make.’ That young man looked at Yo-Yo Ma and beamed. What a gift those words were not only to that cellist, but to everyone who was there. Nobody else can make the sound you make.”
“Well, nobody else can live the life you live. And even though no human being is perfect, we always have the chance to bring what’s unique about us to live in a redeeming way.” Fred Rogers
With a few exceptions, I do my best to see those around me with Mr. Rogers’ lens: Inside of everyone a light shines.
Inside of everyone, there is a sound that no one else can make.
Yes… A song that truly saves—soothes and heals—people.

And this week, we’ll continue to learn about the healing power of music. Joseph Campbell’s reminder, “People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive… of the rapture of being alive.”


Music soothes. Music heals. And yes, music keeps faith alive.
But with disorder and upheaval it is easy to not hear (or take to heart) the music.
And this week, we learn about the healing power of music, shining light in dark corners of our world, places that have been without light.
So, an invitation to pay attention.

Today, our country commemorates Juneteenth, the date in 1865 when enslaved African Americans in Galveston, Texas, were told that they were free.
Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation occurred January 1, 1863. However, Texas ignored the proclamation, as did the ten other Confederate states. “This all indicates a fundamental misunderstanding of the significance of Juneteenth. The fact that slaveholders extracted thirty additional months of uncompensated labor from people who had been bought, sold, and worked to exhaustion, like livestock, throughout their lives is cause for mourning, not celebration. In honoring Juneteenth, we should recognize a moral at the heart of that day in Galveston and in the entirety of American life: there is a vast chasm between the concept of freedom inscribed on paper and the reality of freedom in our lives. In that regard, Juneteenth exists as a counterpoint to the Fourth of July; the latter heralds the arrival of American ideals, the former stresses just how hard it has been to live up to them.” (Thank you Jelani Cobb)
I am embarrassed to say, until recently, I did not know this history. It was never taught in all my years of schooling. And that is indefensible. And I need to learn. And take to heart the words of civil rights leader Fannie Lou Hamer, who maintained that “nobody is free until everybody is free.”

And I love knowing that music and singing played a critical role in inspiring, mobilizing, and giving voice to the civil rights movement. “The freedom songs are playing a strong and vital role in our struggle,” said Martin Luther King, Jr., during the Albany Movement. “They give the people new courage and a sense of unity. I think they keep alive a faith, a radiant hope, in the future, particularly in our most trying hours” (Shelton, “Songs a Weapon”).
And John Lewis’ reflection, “If it hadn’t been for music, the civil rights movement would’ve been like a bird without wings.”
One more from Dr. King (from his address at the Berlin Jazz Festival), “Much of the power of our Freedom Movement in the United States has come from this music. It has strengthened us with its sweet rhythms when courage began to fail. It has calmed us with its rich harmonies when spirits were down.”

Yes, which brings us back to gift and power of freedom. And I’m with Richard Rohr here, “So, let’s use the word emancipation to describe a deeper, bigger, and scarier level of freedom: inner, outer, personal, economic, structural, and spiritual. Surely this is the task of our entire lifetime.” Now we’re talking; emancipate to make a difference. Thank God for the music. And the light will set us free…


Music soothes. Music heals. Music keeps faith alive.
And, music invites us to embrace our authentic self.

In the movie Walk the Line, Johnny Cash auditions for Sam Phillips. He is hoping for a record deal. He is playing an uninspired and insipid version of a gospel hymn.
And Phillips tells him no.
When Cash demands a reason, Phillips says, “Because I don’t believe you.”
Cash looks crestfallen.
Phillips continues, “We’ve already heard that song a hundred times. Just… like… how… you… sing it.
Cash says, “Well you didn’t let us bring it home.”
Sam Phillips answers “Bring it home? All right, let’s bring it home. If you was hit by a truck and you was lying out there in that gutter dying, and you had time to sing ‘one’ song. Huh? One song that people would remember before you’re dirt. One song that would let God know how you felt about your time here on Earth. One song that would sum you up. You tellin’ me that’s the song you’d sing? That same tune we hear on the radio all day, about your peace within, and how it’s real, and how you’re gonna shout it? Or, would you sing somethin’ different. Somethin’ real. Somethin’ ‘you’ felt. Cause I’m telling you right now, that’s the kind of song people want to hear. That’s the kind of song that truly saves people.”
I want to sing that kind of song.
I want to sing a song that touches where we hurt,
where we care,
where we heal,
where we give,
where we reconcile and mend,
where we make and are made whole.
And here’s the deal: That song is alive and well inside every single one of us.
Phillips was inviting Cash to live into his best self. He’s telling him, “You don’t need to pretend or impress. Just let your light spill.”


Music soothes. Music heals. Music keeps faith alive. And, music invites us to embrace our authentic self.
I do believe in the healing power of revisiting. Returning to stories that have reminded us that hope and joy and renewal are alive and well.
And this memory comes to mind…

While I sit on the back deck, the sun sets over the Kitsap Peninsula (the expanse of land west of Seattle and Puget Sound). The sky, as if batter poured from a pitcher, turns an effluence of slate blue and vermilion. Spires of hemlock are backlit and silhouetted like hand puppets on an immense screen. I stand for some unknown reason, singing, “Jeremiah was a bullfrog. Was a good friend of mine. I never understood a single word he said
But I helped him a-drink his wine. And he always had some mighty fine wine…” at the top of my lungs, and do a little boogie with my black Lab Conroy, who hasn’t the foggiest idea what’s come over me but is a sucker for a party and plays along nonetheless.
I let the moment melt around me before I gain my composure and give myself some sort of reality check: a quiz requiring justification for what I’m feeling and why. And then it hits me. I can’t tell a soul about my dance at twilight without coming face-to-face with who I was pretending not to be and the energy it required to maintain that image.
When I lived in Southern California, I spent three days a month at a Benedictine monastery out in the high desert. It was my periodic trek to a place where I could slow down long enough to pay attention. Truth is, I wanted to learn how to be alone with myself and like it, because I wasn’t very good at that. And, I wanted to learn how to be alone with God and like it, because I wasn’t very good at that, either.
On one visit, a friend asked one of the monks, “What exactly do you do here?”
“We pray,” the monk replied simply.
“No, really,” my friend persisted. “I mean besides that. What do you really do?”
“It is enough just to pray,” the monk told my friend.
“It is enough,” I tell my dog standing on the deck absorbing the summer sky, “just to boogie.” Just to boogie under the inexplicable marbled canopy of dusk. Just to feel your lungs swell and your heart flutter. Just to cheer the sun as it sets and not give a damn about some need to fight back the tears, standing spellbound in the salty prism for twilight rainbows.
The permission to embrace this moment.
This day.
To hear, and boogie to, the music of sufficiency and grace.

I write this on the longest day of the year, with about 16 hours of sunlight. Solstice was official early afternoon here, and a perfect day to celebrate with a little dance or boogie. Or balter (to balter is to dance without particular skill or grace, but with extreme joy). (And yes, our longest day is only here in the northern hemisphere. So, for my friends in the Land Down Under, I’ll give a shout out when it is your turn.)

Prayer for our week…
The Sacraments
I once spoke to my friend, an old squirrel,
about the Sacraments
–he got so excited
and ran into a hollow in his tree and came
back holding some acorns, an owl feather,
and a ribbon he had found.
And I just smiled and said, “Yes, dear,
you understand:
everything imparts
His grace.”
St. Francis of Assisi
Translation by Daniel Ladinsky
Love Poems From God: Twelve Voices from the East and West

Photo… “Good morning my brother, I so needed this message today. To be reminded of the gift of connection and all the storm holder people in my life, both current and past. There were many nuggets of gold in your musing today. Terry, your ministry, insights and wisdom are a storm home for me. I am grateful for Sabbath Moment and the inspiration it brings. Keep shining your Light and being the blessing in someone’s day! With love and gratitude. PS. Here’s a pic of this morning’s glorious sunrise, Cleveland Ohio,” Maria Perme… Thank you Maria… And I’m so grateful for your photos, please send them to [email protected]

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