21 August 2016

In God Alone

This may be a different and more challenging version of this chant than some are used to. The instruments improvising over the chant sometimes, even often, seem to miss the mark. And yet, under it all, grounding and giving coherence to every note --- if only we have the patience and trust to hear it --- is the profoundly stabilizing refrain or antiphon, [[ In God alone my soul can find rest and peace, In God my peace and joy, Only in God my soul can find its rest. Find its rest and peace.]]  As I listened this morning I found myself hanging onto the antiphon with a kind of fierceness during parts of this as I waited (and sometimes yearned intensely) for the improvising instrument to come to rest solidly again in the ground of the antiphon --- especially in the longer original recording.

So it is with us I think. We sing our lives improvising around this "theme" --- this internal antiphonal truth that sounds in our hearts; sometimes we seem to have journeyed so far as to have stopped listening and lost touch with it altogether --- though in our music-making we seek it still! And then, with patience, trust, and perseverance in our hearkening, we reconnect more clearly and come once again to that place of rest in God who alone makes sense of the whole of our lives --- even those bits which seemed to or may truly have lost touch with the Divine chant or "theme" grounding them.

For whatever else, the chant continues faithfully, unfailingly in a way which both shapes the improvisational journey and allows the player to finally come home once again despite the far and even foreign places to which they have traveled in the meantime: dissonances are resolved and the harmony of the whole is enriched with musical "stretches" and surprises that rather than troubling or disturbing us now delight and even move us with awe.