Today’s sermon ended with Monty Wyne singing and playing “Blue Skies.” Monty’s been a member of Pilgrimage for, what? 20 years, maybe? A long time, anyway. I only learned a couple of years that he’s a jazz pianist. After a little coaxing, I talked him into playing for church. Initially, he didn’t really think it was okay to play jazz in church.
Whew! I’m glad he got over THAT idea!
I’ve been convinced of the appropriateness of jazz in worship since I first heard Dave Brubeck’s piece, “The Voice of the Holy Spirit.” (Listen to it. You’ll love it!) The piece is basically a classical choral work of the events of Pentecost (and a few things after that). Every now and then, when you get to the parts of Acts where the the Holy Spirit blows in, the classical sounding piece suddenly goes jazz.
In the liner notes, Brubeck says that he didn’t want to associate any one instrument with the Holy Spirit. For him, jazz is the thing that represents the Spirit–literally, blowing where it will. So, one time it’s the piano, another time a flute, another time the sax playing jazz.
Yes, I think God’s spirit must be a jazz musician (whatever the instrument)–taking what is familiar and expected and pushing it to new places, places that set your soul soaring.
That’s EXACTLY what Monty did today. While he played, my soul was able to soar, to go with his flow, a flow that I think must have come straight from God.
Thanks for your music, Monty! It was a wonderful gift….and it helped me meet God.