new world….new tricks

Photo 18-10-13 3 43 09 PMThere I sat in the main lounge at Canberra airport, tired after a long week and ready to head for Brisbane and home.

And in wandered four snappily dressed people, a heap of music and sound gear on their trolley, and started unloading just behind us.

The Griffyn Ensemble – Canberra’s Best Chamber Music Foursome” read the banner as they erected it, and started setting up keyboard, microphones, speaker and music stands in what must be just about the most unlikely setting for such a group.

They slowly set themselves, tuning instruments, and completing little sounds checks as they set and reset volume and listened carefully for the acoustics in this relatively new airport lounge.

It seemed they hadn’t played there before as they experimented with different settings, looking for the perfect combination of sound in an unfamiliar, and unusual setting.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never heard chamber music live on a Friday afternoon in a busy airport terminal.

What I appreciated about the experience was watching this group bring their skills, gifts, instruments and equipment to a completely new setting.

It seemed experimental, unfamiliar and a challenge for the group (though it looked to be an challenge they were enjoying).

I couldn’t help thinking about other aspects of my life where those same experiences are under-way.

In the church I work with we are constantly wrestling with how to bring ancient rhythms and patterns, treasured gifts and approaches and apply them in a whole new world that is opening up around all of us.

The challenges of this new time and place are profound and unique – just as I imagine playing chamber music in an airport hall must be.

Sometimes we find it all a bit too hard, all but giving in to the temptation to pack up our instruments and head for more familiar territory.

But you know what? The gentle sounds of that soft and somewhat unusual music filled the room, and suddenly it seemed right and natural.

I don’t know whose idea it was, but I was glad for the Griffyn Ensemble that afternoon, just as I am glad every time I see someone experimenting, trying old things in new places, or even new things in old places.

My prayer for the church is the spirit of creativity, of boldness, of risk taking as it seeks to relate to a new and different world.

It might take us a while as we tune instruments, check the volume and get used to a new and unknown acoustic.

But the sweet music of grace, compassion and gospel can just as readily fill the room, wherever we find ourselves – if only we can find the courage and willingness to trust our giftedness…and try.

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