It is a beautifully sunny morning here in Chicago. Here's a photo I took as I stood on the platform of Chicago's "Green Line" about an hour ago as I waited for my train.
This past weekend was a special one at St. James, my parish. On Saturday evening, the parish held its annual fundraiser for our food pantry. It's a jazz concert, which we call "Jazzin' to Feed." The pastor told us yesterday that they raised over forty thousand dollars for the pantry.
Each year, the Sunday Masses on the day following the event are Masses that feature jazz-styled music. Usually a group from Saint Peter's in the Loop here in Chicago lead the music. This year was a bit different. Our new music director happens to be an accomplished jazz musician. He invited two of his friends, a bass player and a drummer, to join him. We sang our usual selections of Easter Season music, but it all had more of a "jazz feel." After communion, the jazz musicians and the choir led us all in a meditation, Duke Ellington's Come Sunday. Here's a link to a youtube video with Mahalia Jackson singing the piece. I need to tell you that this piece was, in a word, sacred. My heart was lifted to the Lord as it was played and sung.
Can the jazz genre be classified as sacred? After my experience on Sunday, I came away with a resounding "yes."
After Mass, we all processed over to a patch of land next to our church building. There has been a small plot of land cleared. Eight parishioners and two clients from our food pantry will be planting gardens there. The pastor blessed the plot of land and invited us to sprinkle the land with holy water. Here are a few photos:
I hope your day is a good one and that the coming week is a fruitful one for you.
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.