Jazz at South Bridge has an open mike once a week, sometimes. As Steve and I walked in late one evening, we had no idea who was going to play or what to expect. The core group was playing jazz standards in what seemed to be a lull before a break. The quality of their music was excellent. They knew how to work with each other, bringing out the best. During the break that began shortly after we arrived, I noticed several talking with a genderless individual. They were encouraging. The laughter and voices were early indicators that something special was about to unfold.
The flags indicating what was coming did not give us any idea how special the set would be. As the pianist began playing, he invited Nelson to join them on stage. Nelson’s movements suggested s/he was nervous, uncertain, and passionate. As Nelson began to sing I found myself shutting my eyes of traveling with the words and intensity of the music. The tears and quiet laughter within my soul were amazing! I did not expect or ask to have this reaction. Yet, it was with me. In that moment, I was overwhelmed. Beauty, wonder, and a sense of possibilities flooded my soul.
I opened my eyes to a confusing scene. The individuals on stage did not fit the mold. It was hard to reconcile and yet I knew what was going on inside. The answer then, and now, is to give the Spirit permission to transform.
When I read how “Judas and Silas, good preachers both of them, strengthened their new friends with many words of courage and hope,” (Acts 15.32) I know that others had given the Spirit permission to transform. Life can be like that if we are willing to let it touch us. The laughter and smile of a child transforms our heart with hope. The loving embrace of a friend transforms our soul with strength and courage. The way light and color plays on our senses imparts a transforming sense of possibilities.
We have the capacity for more.
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