(Exodus 3:13-15, Thunder 2:1-2, Psalm 130)
“Music at its best … is the grand transfiguration of … our guttural cry, the great human effort to grasp in time our deepest passions and yearnings as prisoners of time. Profound music leads us-beyond language-to the dark roots of our scream and the celestial heights of our silence. ” – Cornell West, the contemporary Christian thinker and activist
We can sing, from our depths. We can cry out, from our depths. We can be silent, from our depths, and listen.
This is how we can speak with the One Beyond Name.
We go down into the roots of who we are. We let the sound down there come up and out. And then abide in the silence.
We can then feel the closeness and the distance of the great I Am That I Am, down beyond the roots of our own I Am.
When do we cry like this? When do we sing like this? When do we know such silence?
Times of birth. Times of love. Times of death.
Times of beauty. Times of desperation.
Times of joy, and of intensity, and ecstasy, and creative play.
Times of rightness. Times in the rhythm of strong work. Times of intimacy and union. Times in the murmur of contentment.
Times of wrongness. Times when we know in our gut, No, this should not be happening. Times of terror. Times of crisis. Times when we witness a catastrophe that we have caused, and admit our own iniquity. Times of repentance. Times of forgiveness.
These are the times when we cry out from our core,
the times when we sing from the heart of our heart,
the times when we rest in silence and taste a peace that surpasses understanding.
These are the times when we get to the root of who we are, as people, as bodies, as souls – fragile, flawed, broken, beautiful, exquisite, fully alive with this electric life
Our hands open and empty, our voices open and empty, our hearts open and empty … all before this Great Mystery whose Name that takes our breath away.
Thanks be to that Great Mystery.
Delivered June 5, 2016
First Congregational Church of Walla Walla
Rev. Nathaniel Mahlberg