For some reason, it doesn’t sound quite as ominous, does it?
So last Friday I took my guitar to the streets. G has asked me to bring it earlier in the week, and I thought it might be fun. Usually a few of the kids enjoy strumming a bit and making a racket. They quickly tire of it and move on – very hit or miss. G came up and saw me playing on the steps, grinned his gap-toothed smile, and scurried over wanting to play. I handed over the guitar and grinned as he began to pick out an “No Woman, No Cry.” And singing along (as best he could) mimicking some of the English sounds, and substituting Portuguese lyrics where he felt like it. It was a hit – we immediately had a small crowd of street people gathered round smiling and singing along.
As he finished, he moved on to “church songs” that he knew and loved. There’s something sweet and powerful about singing songs asking God to keep his promises – reminding ourselves that God has his eyes on us and his ears hear our cry, and he sees our pain. He sees the life on the street – injustices suffered and committed – and is not satisfied.
I took back the guitar after a few more songs and began to play a few more while G and a few other guys went down by the water for a smoke. And when he returned we had moved down the sidewalk a bit to where another group of our friends had spread out their blankets and cardboard on the pavement. Five or six of us sat in a small circle as G and I traded the guitar back and forth taking requests and worshipping. People walking by stopped and stared, interrupting their homeward commute. Something about the music, the emotion of the singers, and the substance of their songs made people notice. It was heartfelt and sincere, and I felt at home. It was holy ground – from the little children climbing over me and G as we played music, to the passers-by who stopped to listen, to the feeling that this is a beginning of something.
As to what is birthed, that we shall have to wait and see.