Are you telling me I’m wasting my time here?
That was my question to the manager of a local winery recently. They feature live entertainment in their tasting room on a regular basis, so I wanted to get my name and music in front of them and see if it might be possible to play there. I had just given him a card and was preparing to write the address where I could send a DVD of a live performance.
My business cards contain this description of the music I perform: “An acoustic blend of folk, gospel and Americana.” That prompted him to ask, “How much of what you do is gospel music?”
He went on to tell me that he was really averse to having any mention of God or religion or Jesus as part of the musical performances in the tasting room. In his mind, that’s what Sunday was for. “On Saturday,” he said, “people are out to sin. They can repent on Sunday.”
I knew I wasn’t likely to be booked there, but I thanked him for taking the time to talk with me.
Life seldom fits into neat little compartments, like we have a Saturday life and a Sunday life. The mathematician in me points out that life is continuous, not discrete. The distance between Saturday and Sunday is infinitely small. The beauty of calculus would indicate that no matter how close we think Saturday and Sunday are, they can always be closer, to the point where one may not be over before the other begins.
Our creation of boundaries between days is, in a way, arbitrary. We are who we are, regardless of how we name any particular day. Our feelings, thoughts, values and behaviors identify us each and every day. Every day has sin, and every day has repentance.
If you have seen me perform, you know that you will hear some hymns and gospel music of both the traditional and folk variety alongside everything else I do. My hope is that, like the distance between Saturday and Sunday, it’s hard to tell where one leaves off and another begins.
I’m content to let a song say what it says. Quite often the song has a better message than anything I might conjure up. Whether it’s Wayfaring Stranger, Love Divine, Five Foot Two or Five Pounds of Possum, a song will reach different people in different places, and performers do well to release the song into that space.
Trust the song, and you trust the Spirit. Give a song space; turn it loose, and it will stir up whatever might be in the pot. In laughter and tears, in quiet smiles and tapping feet, something sacred is happening.
Maybe I didn’t waste my time after all.