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"Improvisation and Gift" - 4th Sunday in Easter: Family Ministry Sunday - April 25, 2021




When we lived in Austin I’d sometimes go to this place called The Elephant Room. A dark basement bar that always had live jazz.

Monday nights were my favorite because it was a rotating jam session, where local musicians would just hop on the stage and improvise. I liked to look around the room and watch how people interacted with the music. Because everybody has their way of listening to jazz…unless you hate jazz, then your way is to run, screaming from the room. (Which now makes me wonder if that’s what some people want to do when they’re in my office for more than 2 minutes…oh well.) But everybody does have their own way of listening…

There is always a couple at the small table, holding hands, whispering during the bass solo and they look like they want to dance…but that’s a commitment.

There’s the guy tapping his foot beneath the table and a cocktail straw on the rim of his glass.

Then there are the serious listeners, you assume, because they sit motionless, with pursed lips and furrowed brows – but you do wonder if they’re students of jazz or is the music just making them constipated? It’s hard to tell.

Me…I like to lean over and watch the ice melt into my bourbon and ginger ale – or maybe I lean into the music. Billy Collins has a poem where he talks about people leaning forward into the music like it’s holding them up.