Three years ago, when I was invited to be a part of this annual commemoration, I hesitated. Good Friday had never been high on my list of days, even though I was raised with a dogma that honors it. I wondered whether I was the right person to read such a highly revered story.
It turns out I am just the right person, because I am the one who had so much to learn. Part of the lesson came with the words I spoke, and part of it came with music performed around me.
The people who sing and play for this event are not all Christians. Some of them practice in other faiths, and a few of them don’t believe strongly in anything in particular. Music brings them together.
The beauty of the score, and the opportunity to share it with an audience, unites musicians. That is what they do: They share music, no matter its source or its message. No one stops to think whether they are singing about their own beliefs. It is their purpose in life, and they perform to their fullest because they are musicians.
One line from the Holy Week passages used to annoy me when I was young. This weekend, however, as it was delivered in a powerful piece of music, that line became one of the most beautiful passages I have ever heard. It was because I heard through the instruments of an interfaith collective.
I ask you to reach beyond your own traditions and dogma to listen as others, who don’t share your faith, may hear them. The result may be a richer, clearer, more meaningful experience for you and for them.
Reach beyond what you know!
And the next time you meet a musician, thank him/her for bringing us all together.
In my circle of musicians, we lost a good one this weekend. Mark Angeles was raised on Sinatra and the blues, and he belted out those genres and more for secular audiences and congregations. All who heard him are grateful for his music and his smile.