yesterday was a banner day for us, The Blessing Tree.
we are in portland oregon these days, and will be for a few more days. yesterday we played 4 shows!
the first 2 were performances for sunday school congregations at the Imago Dei church. the church was held in the Franklin Middle School here in portland. the adult service was held in the school auditorium where they projected words for songs etc., up on a big screen. the service was well attended (about 250). but we were down with the kiddos in the sunday school, where most were ready to jump and shout. we did 2 great performances of the musical beatitudes plus some others songs. the newest version of the beatitudes includes a part where all dance like robots.
our 3rd performance was at the PDX (it means portland) Home. it is a church for homeless folks which includes a meal and a short talk on spirituality and community. the room was loud, and friendly, about 150 folks eating chili, talking, petting dogs. to be heard we all got up on chairs and hollered our songs at the top of our lungs. i had to sing about 3 intervals up from where i normally do, in order to be heard above the din. it was wonderful. no matter how loud a room, when someone sings at the top of their lungs, others notice and respect it. there was joyful applause, hi fives, and warm thanks. we finished by singing The Lord Is My Song (a 3 part a capella prayer) as we walked about, between the lunch tables. the pastor of this congregation has a gray mohawk and sings the virtues of community.
finally, in the evening we were one of 4 groups who played at a christian anarchist coffehouse (yes, such a thing exists!). we were invited by a new friend we met at the homeless church. there were piercings a plenty, tight black jeans, and jackets with red stars sewed to to the backs, much talk of the virtues of community, and lots of hugging and warmth. our new friend (who played first) did lots of serious and heartfelt singalongs, including a bold and brave rendition of God Bless The Grass by Malvina Reynolds. It was wonderful to follow him and sing to this audience of punk rockers in our style, using our words. we opened with Ever Near, another of our a cappella prayer songs. the concert went on for another 3 hours after us, and ended with a powerful band called Medicine For The People. All of the groups sang in one way or another of unity, love, and action.
it is cleansing and powerful to walk between groups, ways of thinking, appearances, and share what is yours. it is requiring some work from us to make our way into other communities, but when it does happen, then we find ourselves invited to continue on there. (we were invited at the homeless church to play at another homeless church down in santa barbara CA). so, we are continuing to play for communities who are familiar to us, but are delighted to branch out and explore.
god bless you all.