Sometimes you do something just for the fun of it. No one orders you to, it isn’t part of your job description, you’re not sure how you’ll benefit from it, and there are a million reasons to let inertia make you stay put right where you are. Sunday, July 22, I actually shortened my naptime in order to take advantage of what promised to be fun. Little did I know that it would also be inspiring.
It began with a friendly welcome (“Be Our Guest”, from Beauty and the Beast) and sent us forth on the cheerful sounds of a Disney medley, ending with the song “Friend Like Me” (Aladdin). Throughout the afternoon, the Oakland East Bay Gay Men’s Chorus encouraged laughter, poignancy, even some conscience-raising. For instance, the song “God Help the Outcasts” (The Hunchback of Notre Dame) is a prayer sung by the character Esmeralda:
“I don’t know if You can hear me, Or if You’re even there;
I don’t know if You would listen To a gypsy’s prayer.
Yes, I know I’m just an outcast. I shouldn’t speak to you.
Still I see Your face and wonder: Were You once an outcast too?”
This is what I refer to as “message music”. It wasn’t written for a worship service, but it sure has strong challenging lyrics. Think Pete Seeger (“Where Have All the Flowers Gone”), Bob Dylan (“Blowing in the Wind”), the Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby”, and Glen Campbell’s “I Will Never Pass This Way Again”. There are even life lessons to be learned from children’s songs: “Love Is Like a Magic Penney” and many others performed on Sesame Street.
Attending Sunday’s concert was definitely a treat to myself. Oh, yes, I was there to support two particular participants: David Guerra and his daughter Alegra. (Bravo to you both!) However. it’s MY pleasure to get to know more about the people with whom I worship. The music was almost all unfamiliar to me; I wasn’t sure I’d like it. But I did! And the biggest “message” I got was that if God has something to say, or something to show me, it happens not only in worship- but can happen anytime and anywhere else!