Tag Archives: love

Luke, Merdine T., and love

Luke and Merdine TEach item packed,
was packed with care,
for each was so much more
than a physical object,
each
transcended time and crossed miles
with unbreakable cords
of memory,
connection,
love.

The wooden box came apart
in Eric’s hands.
The pieces, sixteen black and sixteen white,
he nestled securely inside;
then rubber bands bound the box together,
until the hinges can be repaired.
Into a plastic bag,
then into a cushioned bag
went the box.
Eric smiled at me;
I smiled at him,
warmth washing over us both.
As he took the package to car,
I turned to Essie,
“Someday, have him tell you about
Luke and
Merdine T.”
As she agreed,
Essie smiled at me.
I smiled at her,
knowing the love will pass along.

3 July 2017
Cleveland Heights, Ohio

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Filed under Family, Poem

The Cellist of Sarajevo

It was the longest siege of a capital city in modern history, and produced the worst atrocities in Europe since World War II.
Sylvia Poggioli

And everyday he made me wonder
Where did he ever find
The music midst the madness
The courage to be kind
The long forgotten beauty
We thought was blown away
– John McCutcheon
In the Streets of Sarajevo

61ZpqI2PvnL._SS500April 5, 1992 saw the first casualties in what became a 1,425 day siege of Sarajevo during the Bosnian War.

More than 10,000 residents died because of shelling, bombing, the blockade, sniper fire, and other aspects of the siege.

In the midst of the siege, “the madness” to use John McCutcheon’s word, Vedran Smailović, of the Sarajevo Philarmonic Orchestra, played his cello in publuc. He played in ruined buildings, often performing Albinoni’s Adagio in G Minor. He played at funerals during the siege, even though snipers often targeted by snipers.

After mortar fire killed 22 people as the stood in a bread line, Smailović played for 22 straight days in their honor. This part of Smailović’s story has made its way into writings and song. In an article in The Australian, Smailović expands on his experience:

I didn’t play for 22 days, I played all my life in Sarajevo and for the two years of the siege each and every day. They keep saying I played at four in the afternoon, but the explosion was at 10 in the morning and I am not stupid, I wasn’t looking to get shot by snipers so I varied my routine. I never stopped playing music throughout the siege.

Twenty-two days, two years, all his life. The time frame is unimportant. What matters is that Smailović found music and courage and grace and love to make a witness in the face of war and horror.

I give thanks for the Cellist of Sarajevo, and I look for others who, to paraphrase McCutcheon, “do not stand aside … refuse to be defeated … and rage against the tide.”

See you along the Trail.

P.S. After leaving Sarajevo, Vedran Smailović collaborated with Irish singer-songwriter and peace activist Tommy Sands to create an album Sarajevo/Belfast.

P.P.S. I use the image of the CD cover because it is a photo I took of a copy of the CD I own.

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Filed under Current Events, Music

Lent 2017, day 39

lenten-reflections-on-the-confession-of-belhar“Like hurricanes and floods, God’s justice should uproot systems of oppression established by our political, religious, and economic prejudice. It should cleanse the world of all its racial, xenophobic, and gender-based violence. God’s justice should wash through our hearts and minds, like the waters of baptism, reforming us into new creations dedicated to fulfilling the law of love and justice for all people.”
Bertram Johnson
Lenten Reflections on the Confession of Belhar

This Lenten season I am using a new resource to explore the Belhar Confession: Lenten Reflections on the Confession of Belhar, edited by Kerri N. Allen and Donald K. McKim. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), in which I serve as a teaching elder (pastor), added the Confession of Belhar to our Book of Confessions in 2016. This confession came from the Dutch Reformed Mission Church during its historic struggle against apartheid in South Africa.

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Antiracism, Books, Lent, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Lent 2017, day 31

lenten-reflections-on-the-confession-of-belhar“The Belhar pushes the church, as she confesses, to be present in the lives of others beyond formal gatherings and policy-making engagements. Belhar calls the church to come to know itself, to actually love the neighbor, and set captives free.”
Mark Lomax
Lenten Reflections on the Confession of Belhar

God help me, help the church, love our neighbors and free captives. Guide our actions.

This Lenten season I am using a new resource to explore the Belhar Confession: Lenten Reflections on the Confession of Belhar, edited by Kerri N. Allen and Donald K. McKim. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), in which I serve as a teaching elder (pastor), added the Confession of Belhar to our Book of Confessions in 2016. This confession came from the Dutch Reformed Mission Church during its historic struggle against apartheid in South Africa.

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Antiracism, Books, Lent

Lent 2017, day 30

lenten-reflections-on-the-confession-of-belhar“Jesus calls us all in the church to love one another, a sign by which we are identified as Christ’s disciples. This identifying sign is so important to our witness! Let us use the precious gift of time given in this holy season to lean into Jesus’ teaching and learn more of Jesus’ love, that we may reconcile with one another, even–especially–at the table.”
Cynthia Holder Rich
Lenten Reflections on the Confession of Belhar

This Lenten season I am using a new resource to explore the Belhar Confession: Lenten Reflections on the Confession of Belhar, edited by Kerri N. Allen and Donald K. McKim. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), in which I serve as a teaching elder (pastor), added the Confession of Belhar to our Book of Confessions in 2016. This confession came from the Dutch Reformed Mission Church during its historic struggle against apartheid in South Africa.

See you along the Trail.

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Lent 2017, day 33

lenten-reflections-on-the-confession-of-belhar“It is easy to serve God on our own terms when our lives are free of pain, difficulties, and disruptions. Jesus is calling us to follow him now–free from possessions that bind and blind us. He is trying to turn us toward a simple, uncluttered life with nothing in the way of meeting, greeting, and loving God in those whose ‘lives matter’ too.”
Galen Motin Crawford
Lenten Reflections on the Confession of Belhar

This Lenten season I am using a new resource to explore the Belhar Confession: Lenten Reflections on the Confession of Belhar, edited by Kerri N. Allen and Donald K. McKim. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), in which I serve as a teaching elder (pastor), added the Confession of Belhar to our Book of Confessions in 2016. This confession came from the Dutch Reformed Mission Church during its historic struggle against apartheid in South Africa.

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Antiracism, Books, Lent, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Lent 2017, day 19

lenten-reflections-on-the-confession-of-belhar“The church’s essential unity may not be threatened by having multiple structures and names; we remain one because Christ has made us one. But when we live separately–when we do not meet together for worship, or hold one another accountable, or study the Bible together–we are all the lesser, unable to speak or hear truth from one another. It’s hard to show love to someone who isn’t there.”
Brian Ellison

Lenten Reflections on the Confession of Belhar

This Lenten season I am using a new resource to explore the Belhar Confession: Lenten Reflections on the Confession of Belhar, edited by Kerri N. Allen and Donald K. McKim. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), in which I serve as a teaching elder (pastor), added the Confession of Belhar to our Book of Confessions in 2016. This confession came from the Dutch Reformed Mission Church during its historic struggle against apartheid in South Africa.

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Antiracism, Books, Lent, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)