Monthly Archives: November 2009

God, What Are You Up To?

Chinese-MusiciansThis entire month I have been seriously moved by my experiences drumming and painting in the presence of God. I am preparing for a show in January at Bethlehem Lutheran Church and am somewhat stressed about this as I always am preparing for a show. I am also quite interested in the way these shows always come together. I am already thinking of who will be in the space there, where their hearts will be, and what God may communicate to them through the pieces I have there. I am working on a quite sizeable piece on freedom in Christ that is taken from a story I heard about a dancing concubine who danced for a Chinese emperor on Lotus blossoms … which became the impetus for bound feet in time. I use the lotus as a symbol of resurrection, and am playing with the double meanings between the brokenness and the image of restoration there.

I also was quite taken by a man who came to the hostpial drum circle today. He is Native American and has told me on more than one occassion that he really connects with the drumming that I do in the hospital. He wants some day to be able to play the “honor beats” on the large drum at the pow wows he attends. Today, he selected a large frame drum and was beating the thing nearly to death. He was loud, and kept changing the beat up. I pulled the group to a halt, and in the assessment of what was going on in the circle, asked him how he was doing inside today. He was called out of the room a few minutes later, but he came up to me later and asked about this. I told him that I very much wanted him in the circle again, and that I wanted him to play that same drum. I told him that I was concerned, however, with the kind of energy that he was emitting through his drumming. I wondered where the state of his heart was today. The drumming is opening up opportunities for me to talk about real things with people … and I am becomming more comfortable with taking the step of faith to talk about these things with people.

God, what are you up to? I don’t know where I am going, but I know you are with me. Thank you for changing my heart to make me more like you want me to be.

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I am becomming interested in seeing how the structure of the “Tabernacle Progression” we use at church to structure the worship portion of the sermon could be adapted for a drum circle format of worship. I think this is an idea that has some currency, and I want to pursue this and see if I can develop a protocol that would embody the ideas to create a method of non-verbal worship that connects people creatively to God.

If there was one thing I could do with my life, it would be to help people find creative connections to God, to be the people God designed them to be, expressing themselves in their own unique way to the God who made them each so differently.

God, please … grant me this desire if it is your desire too.

My Heart is Changed

Chinese Character for Heart
Tonight as I write I have realized that my heart is in a new place. I am changing, and I think it is for the better.

I brought drums to church again today. Whereas before people needed to be called up to play along with the worship team, this time, all the footed drums were snatched up before the service even began. It was not long before all the frame drums were also taken. Something good is coming from this experiment in worship. Again, I had the privilage of seeing people from all walks of life playing together. My mother and my daughter came forward to play. There were two young children – a boy and a girl, and two men as well. Three of the church staff, including two of the pastors, came to play … and I get the sense that they enjoy this for what it is and not because they are doing it purely to be a support to me.

Tomorrow, I am preparing to lead another drum circle at church in the basement. I am ready to accept whomever comes – regardless of their age – and am looking forward to seeing who God brings into the circle. My job is to be there and serve the group. It is God’s job to bring whomever is supposed to be there.

God, thank you for shaping my heart.

This new space in my heart is manifesting itself in my artwork as well – as I have a new painting that I have begun which is a composition that is so exciting to me.  I can’t wait to begin the journey.

Blessing Others

Ashikos

I was asked by a friend to bring drums to church again on Sunday to play during worship. I told her some of the stories that I had about bringing drums to worship. She told me that I was being a blessing to others by continuing to bring these instruments every few weeks. It is a very humbling thing to bless others with something so typically foreign to worship as a drum.

But I think she may be right.

She told me that her husband, who was in a shoe store the other day, ran into a man who has been coming to my drum circle at church. He asked if the drums would be available during worship on Sunday. I thought this was wonderful, and quite moving in a quiet way.

God, help me to do what you want, and not what I want.