Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of May 19, 2008
John Michael Talbot listens for one note
Musician says ministry must be rooted in prayer, in silence
By GLEN ARGAN
"In order to make Christian music properly, we need to hear everything in that one note."
"There is a correlation between the one note and the one word. And the one word is Jesus.
"Jesus is proclaiming all the time even if he is silent. He is ministering all the time."
Many traditions say God created the cosmos with music, "that he sung creation into being."
But harmony is lacking. While only Christianity has a doctrine of original sin, all religions say, "We know something is out of whack."
If the original harmony remained, we would not need religion to get us back on track, Talbot says. "Religion" means to bind, to bring back together.
Prayer and meditation help to restore harmony. Through prayer, we begin to see all that is good in life as well as the things that need to be fixed or to be let go.
"A certain kind of Christianity" so over-emphasizes sin that it loses sight that humans are created in the image and likeness of God.
Talbot quoted Thomas a Kempis' The Imitation of Christ as saying, "If you are holy inside, all you can see outside is holiness. And if you are unholy inside, all you can see outside is unholiness."
The Eastern fathers, he said, knew that "You become what you think."
As well, all good religions lead us into mystery. "They all make the jump beyond logic and objectivity into pure mystery.
"One way to get to the deeper truth is through paradox, through mystery."
Paradox, he said, is an apparent contradiction that leads to a deeper truth. For example:
"You find that paradox through private prayer."
Talbot taught the group to meditate using the Jesus Prayer - "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner" - stressing the importance of proper posture and correct breathing.
Breathe in during the first half of the prayer; breathe out during the second.
It is in the letting-go of the second half of the prayer that we find our identity. It is there - in letting-go, in paradox, in silence - that ministry becomes possible.
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