Broken Glass and Keeping It Simple

Leonard Bernstein in rehearsal of his "Ma...
Leonard Bernstein in rehearsal of his "Mass" (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This was a great post yesterday here using Leonard Bernstein's Mass to relate to reflections on the 39th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood from Fr Austin Fleming At A Concord Pastor Comments.

If you are unfamiliar with Bernstein's Mass , a helpful synopsis and further musical extracts are  here 

This is a review of The Mass, which took place in Carnegie Hall in New York, 2003, the first time since the original performance in 1974, which explains why it is still very relevant to our present times.

and another lengthier review here.

In the concluding scene:

A priest, dressed in gorgeous liturgical vestments and holding a beautiful glass chalice, is lifted high above the audience by a pyramid of dancers. Suddenly these dancers stumble. The priest is cast down to the stage floor, his vestments stripped away. The glass cup is shattered. Then slowly, the priest gets to his feet. He’s now wearing just blue-jeans and a t-shirt. He walks barefoot through the ruined debris of his former glory.

At this point, a children’s choir begins singing the “Laudate” (“Praise, praise, praise be to God.”) and the priest looks down at the pieces of broken chalice for a long time … then he speaks the final words of the play:

Isn’t that odd?
I never realised that broken glass could shine so brightly
I never noticed that before.
How easily things get broken.
– “Things get broken”*


 Henri Nouwen's words also draw from Bernsteins' s Mass.

"The more I think about the meaning of living and what acting in the name of Jesus, the more I realize that what I have to offer others is not my intelligence, skill, power, influence, or connections, but my own human brokenness through which the love of God can manifest itself. 
The celebrant in Leonard Berstein's Mass says: "Glass shines brighter when it's broken....I never noticed that." 
This to me is what ministry and mission are all about. 
Ministry is entering with out human brokenness into communion with others and speaking a word of hope.  
This hope is not based on any power to solve the problems of those with whom we live, but on the love of God, which becomes visible when we let go of our fears of being out of control and enter into His presence in shared confession of weakness."

-Gracias! By Henri J.M. Nouwen

Fr Austin ends his post by saying that thirty-nine years later, it's the healing of brokenness that he celebrates and ministers,trying never to loose sight of how much  his own broken life is in need of the Lord's mending mercy.

The lyrics of the final Song remind me of the way St Francis lived his life.

"Sing God a simple song
Lauda, laude
Make it up as you go along
Lauda, laude
Sing like you like to Sing
God loves all simple things
And love is the simplest of all."* 

Amen and Alleluia to that !! 

Reconciliation and healing the brokenness in humanity lies at the heart's core of the Christian life. Few issues are more urgent for the world than how human beings can learn to live together. It always will take a lot of spiritual commitment to live out the Gospel and the fact that the institutional church is not doing it very well at the moment, for me at least, remains one of the scandalous questions that is still looking for an adequate response.

                                                                  He Qi Holy Spirit Source

and I'll add this prayer while we wait for Pentecost's spirit to infuse us all ....

Come Holy Spirit, Spirit of Love, Spirit of Discipline,
In the silence 
Come to us and bring us your peace;
Rest in us that we may be tranquil and still;
Speak to us as each heart needs to hear;
Reveal to us things hidden and things longed for;
Rejoice in us that we may praise and be glad;
Pray in us that we may be at one with you and with each other;
Refresh and renew us from your living springs of water;
Dwell in us now and always, Amen.

        by Father Robert Llewelyn
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