For the past two Sundays I have been invited to make music in two separate ,very different churches. Last Sunday it was Grace Episcopal Cathedral in San Francisco. Some call it the Mecca of the west coast especially for Episcopalians. A magnificent structure atop a hill in the city Grace Cathedral is known for its grace-filled welcome to all peoples. The congregation is large and diverse and many in the gay and lesbian community find a warm welcome here. It was a joy for me to be at Grace Cathedral and to hear the congregation singing my " Lord Have Mercy" , my new Celtic Alleluia and others.
Today I was at the piano to lead a different congregation at a church in San Jose called First Christian Church, part of the Disciples of Christ denomination. Here I find a smaller gathering including those who are homeless and formerly homeless. The people and the structure are modest. During the service the congregation engages in a practice of dialogue with the speaker. This conversation happens every Sunday and is an honest response to the sermon. It takes some guts on the preacher's part to have such a spontaneous response which may include disagreement. After the service a man who goes by the name of " Wolf" gives me a big hug and says that 70,000 angels surround me as we make music together. Who am I to argue? An incredibly beautiful vision. It seems at times I can almost feel such a loving, enveloping presence. Wolf sleeps under a nearby bridge most nights and comes to church when he can. Later a man named Richard takes me upstairs to show me his art work. Richard was formerly homeless and his art clearly reflects his struggles ,his hopes, his fears. Following the service a class meets to focus on the topic: Following Jesus in a Culture of Fear. Good topic.
Blessings from California,