This post is half a week late. The point in time that I want to talk about actually happened last Wednesday.
To set the scene, in biology class I had heard from a friend that she was going to be singing at an open mike night at a local coffee shop that night. I’d heard her hum in class and was wild with curiosity to hear her voice so I said I would go hear her sing. I took advantage of the opportunity and texted my almost sister-in-law Joanna and asked if she wanted to go with me since we’d been to the coffee shop a few times together and hadn’t spent much time together. So it all worked out and we showed up at the shop…
We ordered our coffee(The term coffee is used loosely here. It was actually a naked smoothie and cinnamon roll in my case and hot chocolate in Joanna’s.) We had been sitting for a grand total of five minutes before this old man sat at the piano and started playing loud, obnoxious music(the term music here used loosely as well). It was so loud, raucous and odious that we couldn’t really hear each other for distraction. His harsh, slurred tone diverted our attention.
He ended his first song and prefaced his next song with “I wrote this song as a response to a misunderstanding that conservatives have.” yammer yammer yammer. the song is lashing out at conservatives.
This song went through bible stories like Lazarus begging at the rich man’s gate and the rich young ruler who was told to sell all he had and give it to the poor and it jabbed at conservatives saying “How can you say ‘I don’t want to pay for your health care’ when Jesus told you to take care of the poor.”
Joanna got riled up and I rolled my eyes. This man clearly didn’t know what the bible said, given those stories in the bible were, put simply and not going too in depth, intended to show the folly of putting material things in the place of God and the gentleman(term used loosely) belting at the piano was attributing the exact opposite meaning to them.
We suffered in relative silence. For my part I didn’t know what to say. I was baffled. Is this man really demonizing conservatives(ME!) in a public place? He doesn’t know who is listening! He doesn’t know how this will go over! I just sat there with ears bleeding, hoping his fifteen minutes would end soon. 3/4 of the way through my cinnamon roll the “I don’t wanna pay for your healthcare!” song ended and he said these words.
“All due respect to the original writers of the original hymn ‘Nothing but the Blood’ but I revamped the lyrics”
Joanna and I look at each other steely eyed with jaws clenched as he begins to disrespectfully sing nothing but the blood with different lyrics. Lyrics about liberal agenda.
I lasted ten seconds before I scooped up the rest of my cinnamon roll and Joanna and I rose from our seats.
Now I don’t know who this lady was who was sitting next to us, but she was obviously in some sort of relationship with the man at the piano. She’d been glancing over at me the whole time this was happening and as resolutely headed for the door, she grabbed my arm and feebly asked if I wanted to see her Christmas craft that she was making.
Rage, most likely of the unrighteous sort, filled me and I didn’t even acknowledge her. I dumped my cinnamon roll and stormed out after Joanna. For the next ten minutes Joanna and I vented our anger at this man.
How dare he.
How DARE he!
You can sing your liberal agenda all you want, but leave the hymns alone. Leave Jesus’ blood out of it. You can blaspheme my ideology, You can blaspheme me personally, but DO NOT blaspheme even the mere thought of my Jesus.
As we saw this man and the woman who tried to grab me leave the coffee shop we went back in and resumed our conversation. Talking and relaxing as best friends are want to do. My friend Shannon showed up a bit later and we realized it’s a really small world.
When the time came for Shannon to sing she was really nervous. For her first song her voice was quiet and her music tentative. She sang a song about God’s love and how God is love.
I have never seen so many people so quiet. A peace just settled on the room and it struck me how different Shannon and that awful man are.
The atmosphere in the coffee shop when the old man was singing was rowdy, loud, chaotic. The sound of twenty people trying their hardest to continue on with life despite what they’re hearing. But when Shannon sang I was surrounded by the sound of thirty people(more people had come in between the two) holding their breath, craning their necks, trying their hardest to hear this beautiful young woman with a beautiful voice singing about the beautiful love of God. The contrast was very stark in my mind. God brings peace. He quiets the crowd. He makes you hold your breath. He makes you press pause on life and just…. rest….
He brings peace and contentment and joy in a way that no political activism, right wing or left, can.
To be continued….