Through conversations and meditation, “Community” has become apparent as a theme for the Lasker Summer Music Festival Community to explore in the year ahead. While there will be more to share about last year’s theme – God’s Creation and Our Creativity –the holiday season is a good time to start thinking about the theme of community.
The festivities of the holidays bring us a greater awareness of community. As we go about our special activities at this time of year, we are likely to notice and contemplate the various communities to which we belong: church, family, friends, schools, professional communities, groups for which we perform or to which we minister, etc.
Throughout the holidays, we also remember parents and other family members that we’ve lost. In this regard, the various communities to which we belong may become more important as the years pass, even becoming like adoptive parents to us. With friends and church we sometimes find acceptance akin to that which our families showed us. And in our audiences, we find a family. We musicians were brought up in that greater family of listeners. Then we distinguished ourselves as ones who make music. As we perform, we find gratification in pleasing Mother/Father Audience.
It seems that all of the most important issues with which we struggle as Christian musicians arise, and are played out, in the context of community:
We are pushed to discover and articulate the meanings of music in community.
We are driven to determine how best to understand and use music by our awareness of community.
We find creative depth for interpreting music through considering community.
Questions about our roles and identity as Christian musicians are thrown into relief by being in community –
How do we serve?
How do we relate?
Sometimes we feel like misfits in church because of our musical talent and experiences.
Sometimes we feel like misfits in our musical circles because of our Christian faith.
Sometimes we feel special because of our musical calling. Does that musical calling justify any special treatment from the people around us?
All of these issues come to bear on the essence of our daily work and ongoing questions about how we should go about it and what impact our going about it should or should not have on those closest to us.
I hope we’ll be able to explore these and many other questions in 2008. But as the new year approaches, perhaps a single resolution would be in order for musicians concerned about community – a resolution that encapsulates the Christmas spirit:
to live more for others.
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us . . .” John 1:14
I look forward to the year ahead and especially to making music with many of you in Lasker this summer.
Christmas Eve, 2007