I sat, thrilled and delighted, playing with Daniel before our Shrove Tuesday supper. He was teaching me samba rhythms. While singing and playing we were approached by Nori who plays charango. We decided to work on an Easter musical offering. God is so good. In St. Augustine’s words, “To sing is to pray twice,” so we were really praying and in a foreign tongue.
One of my great joys in Peru is the fact that most churches sing with vigor, vitality and in such a way as to energize the angels. Only our cathedral has an organ. It is electric, in our climate a pipe organ cannot survive. So the universal instrument is the guitar, with the accompaniment of the cajón or drums. The Peruvian cajón is a wooden box with a big circular hole in the back and the large surface is drummed with the hands. The sound is solid and hollow-ish
Since these instrument are plentiful and modestly priced it means that Peruvian young people are able to participate and learn. The huge patience that I see in the Peruvian relationship with the young is in evidence here. The musicians are often young and the groups include children where possible. Youth ministry is often focused around singing and worship.
I cannot resist a picture of our singing bishop. Bishop Bill Godfrey is handy on the guitar. I remember two years ago during a service for the clergy, while communion was being administered, he sat down, played and sang for us a deeply spiritual, though simple song of devotion.
Meanwhile this Lent, God has given me an opportunity to teach a Lenten series at the Cathedral. I felt led to focus on the three missionary trips of St. Paul. The subject lends itself to our current age. I am convinced that the Apostolic Age confronted much that is so similar to our present “post-Christian” world. We compete with other religions and beliefs and so must be able to reason, gently and with respect, with those of other beliefs. We need to have a firm grasp of what we believe and the essential Christian message – the Gospel. We need a thorough grounding in the Bible, being ourselves both formed by it and being Biblically literate. We need to know the “power of the resurrection” and the leading of the Holy Spirit. We need to be open to the power of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus, to heal, to expel the demonic and to transform individuals, communities and society. We need to know how to bring Jesus to people and people to Jesus. What better book to study than the Acts of the Apostles! What better teacher after Jesus than St. Paul on his missionary trips as he opened up the Gentile world of the Roman Empire. With St. Paul we pray “that I may know him and the power of his resurrection.” Philippians 3:10 (ESV)