Collecting Tears

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May our tears collect in an ocean of active compassion

“I collect all your tears.  I am the God of Love.  I am life.”  I have been releasing tears and asking a loving god to collect them since my church shared that our pastor’s credentials are again under review for once again officiating at the marriage of a gay couple.  How long must we spend energy and time on these reviews, energy and time sorely needed to do the ministry of Christianity: Loving?

Comfort and inspiration have come to me from watching the 1993 film, “Philadelphia,” the story of Andre Beckett’s struggle to receive justice from the law firm that fired him because he was a gay man dying of AIDS.  This character’s integrity and courage represent hundreds of real men and women who have suffered through the stigma reserved for those who live outside familiar “norms” of society;  men and women whose sacrifices now sustain others.  If you missed this film or were moved by it the first time, now might be the time to visit it.

As he awakens to the unavoidable truth of his impending death, Andrew Beckett listens to the aria “La Mamma Morta,” and experiences pure ecstasy, in the sense of standing outside of oneself.  He becomes one with the god who is love, who is life itself with the god who “collects his tears.”  Listen.  Open.  Be comforted.

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La Mamma Morta, The Dead Mother,” is an aria from Umberto Giordano’s opera, “Andrea Chenier,” composed in 1896.  It is sung by a daughter whose mother died protecting her during the upheavals of the French Revolution.

 

Libretto

They killed my mother
at the door of my room
She died and saved me.
Later, at dead of night,
I wandered with Bersi,
when suddenly
a bright glow flickers
and lights were ahead of me
in the dark street!
I looked –
My childhood home was on fire!
I was alone!
surrounded by nothingness!
Hunger and misery
deprivation, danger!
I fell ill,
and Bersi, so good and pure
made a market, a deal, of her beauty
for me –
I bring misfortune to all who care for me!
It was then, in my grief,
that love came to me.
A voice full of harmony says,
“Keep on living, I am life itself!
Your heaven is in my eyes!
You are not alone.
I collect all your tears
I walk with you and support you!
Smile and hope! I am Love!
Are you surrounded by blood and mire?
I am Divine! I am oblivion!
I am the God who saves the World
I descend from Heaven and make this Earth
A heaven! Ah!
I am love, love, love.”
And the angel approaches with a kiss,
and he kisses death –
A dying body is my body.
So take it.
I am already dead matter!

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_mamma_morta

 

 

Photo Credit: http://www.easyfreeclipart.com/sad-face-with-tears-clipart.html

 

Calling All Prophets

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“The Sound Of Silence”

Hello darkness, my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silenceIn restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone
‘Neath the halo of a streetlamp
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
No one dare
Disturb the sound of silence

“Fools” said I, “You do not know
Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you”
But my words like silent raindrops fell
And echoed in the wells of silence

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the sign said “The words of the prophets
Are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls
And whispered in the sounds of silence”

Photo Credit:

https://www.pexels.com/search/art/  CCO license

We Are The Song

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Louise Penny writes a mystery series about a detective in a mythical village in Quebec called Three Pines. I love these books especially for the author’s keen insight into human nature and her prose which flows like poetry. A favorite from the series is The Beautiful Mystery, about a murder in a monastery set deep into the wilds of Canada. Although hidden away, the monks are renowned for their near perfect expression of Gregorian chant. The abbot says, “Each of us individual notes. On our own, nothing. But together? Divine. We don’t just sing, we are the song.” The narrator says, “Gamache wondered if an equally important part of a chant wasn’t just the notes, but the space between them. The silence…They had such a profound effect on those who sang and heard them that the ancient chants became known as “The Beautiful Mystery.”

 

The Beauriful Mystery

 

 

Photo Credit: https://www.smov.info/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=347&Itemid=717

Anthem Before Inauguration

 

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Anthem- Leonard Cohen

The birds they sang
at the break of day
Start again
I heard them say
Don’t dwell on what
has passed away
or what is yet to be.

Ah the wars they will
be fought again
The holy dove
She will be caught again
bought and sold
and bought again
the dove is never free.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.

We asked for signs
the signs were sent:
the birth betrayed
the marriage spent
Yeah the widowhood
of every government —
signs for all to see.

I can’t run no more
with that lawless crowd
while the killers in high places
say their prayers out loud.
But they’ve summoned, they’ve summoned up
a thundercloud
and they’re going to hear from me.

Ring the bells that still can ring …

You can add up the parts
but you won’t have the sum
You can strike up the march,
there is no drum
Every heart, every heart
to love will come
but like a refugee.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything

That’s how the light gets in.
That’s how the light gets in.
That’s how the light gets in.

 

Photo Credit: photopin.com

Sting: Living in the “Shadow of the Shipyard”

Dry dock number 2. This still remains today.

 

Thomas Wolfe tells us we can’t go home again, but we must.  So Sting found out when the “songs stopped coming.”  In a recent TED Talk (linked below ) he tells the story of how he lost his muse and found it again in his home town of Wallsend in the North East of England.  It is a profound telling of life in the “shadow of the shipyard,” of the men of the town walking down to the sea in the morning and back up the hill in the evening, an ever present ship looming between houses lining narrow streets.  The yard was “noisy, dangerous and toxic,” but he returned to try to understand his ‘folk,” to honor the community he came from.  The songs he has written are integral to his first musical, “The Last Ship,” premiering in Chicago this June 10- July 13.  I hope you enjoy Sting’s talk and performance as much as I did.  We all have to take this same archetypal spiritual journey in some form in order to become whole.  I’ll meet you along the road.

 

 

Photo Credit: N04/5794537953/”>detroiturbex.com via photopin cc

http://www.ted.com/talks/sting_how_i_started_writing_songs_again?utm_content=awesm-publisher&awesm=on.ted.com_f0FwL&utm_source=lm.facebook.com&utm_medium=on.ted.com-facebook-share&utm_campaign=

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-tyne-23866406

http://www.sting.com/news/title/stings-new-musical-the-last-ship-anchors-in-chicago-prior-to-broadway-bow