Tonight we went for a wonderful meal out on Mount Washington with fantastic views over the city of Pittsburgh. The restaurant was a superb fish grotto with windows all round so we could enjoy the views while we ate and listened to some great jazz.
Back home the Vicarage walls are currently resounding to the melody from Abba’s ‘Thank you for the music’ along with Verdi’s ‘Anvil Chorus’. My youngest daughter Hilary is practising for her Grade 2 Trumpet and in the process giving us all earworms that we can’t escape even in our sleep!
The Anvil Chorus is a great piece of music though (not that Abba isn’t!) and comes from an opera called ‘Il Trovatore’ meaning ‘The Troubadour’. Troubadours came up in conversation this morning as someone was talking about the work of consultants to churches.
Just as troubadours pick up songs from the places they visit and sing them in new places, so consultants have the task of collecting and sharing stories of what is going on in other places.
Today on the conference we’ve been thinking a lot about racial segregation and I’ve been massively challenged to face up to and address my own bias and assumptions as a middle-class middle-aged white man. I need to listen more carefully to the troubadours in my community who can sing me the songs of other places and tell the stories of people who are not like me.
Then I need to take more seriously the call to be a troubadour and sing those songs to others so that they too can hear the voices we don’t often hear. As I am being led to give more thought here to the kind of research I might like to do at some point in the hopefully not too distant future, helping the church to hear the voices of those in the pews and in our communities feels like a good and fruitful thing to try to do. And in doing so, new ideas might emerge and together maybe we can begin to create some new harmonies from the different melodies.
Now that would be an earworm I wouldn’t complain about!