Clap your hands if you’re alive in this

Turns out I’m alive, and turns out I’m in this. Get to dancing and grooving; the hula hoops are in the back.

I spent this weekend at the Joshua Tree Music Festival out in the desert. I don’t have dreads, tattoos, or skills with a hula hoop, but there I was. The whole experience was ridiculously new to me, but it was great. I spend so much time in books these days, I loved the live music and the wonderful laid back folks who emphasize peace, love and fun. To be part of a community ready to celebrate life (and not just think about it) was a great break and quite eye opening. Chatting up strangers until they aren’t strangers anymore is the mode of operation. I was impressed by the hospitality around us (which started with offers to help us set up our tent within 5 minutes of our arrival).

My good friend Katie was raised in the festival environment and passionate about the great music and people. Talk about hospitality – the weekend started with her bringing me into the festival world. I’m so grateful she shared the experience with me. In addition, the music was quite different from my store-bought CD music knowledge, and I needed some background throughout the weekend:

Me: “So…why don’t they stop between songs?”
Katie: “That’s how they play, stream of conscience. It’s called jamming.”
Me: “Oh!”

The first night I was hit by so many thoughts. I guess my theological mindset travels with me and wants to affirm where I see God moving and working. In this environment it was clearly evident: the community, hospitality, attitude of celebration. But even more I was struck by how these artists were sharing their work for the benefit of the whole – unabashedly rallying the crowd to the cause of peace, joy with a quality crafted beat to move and groove to. Call it hippie music, but it was good. It was holistic and direct from the source of those who’d created it.

One of the artists, who played solo by looping beats and melodies on his guitar, was grateful to share the “healing frequencies” he’d been playing this past year. My made my heart twinge in my own gratefulness for him. I wondered if I’m finding ways to share my own “healing frequencies” with those around me?

Granted admist all the wonderful things I saw, and there was much to pass on. I tried to keep the deer in the headlights look to a minimum. Yet there is something to it… and the freedom to choose God made my tie stronger to him. Thought it was interesting how many artists acknowledged a spiritual connection, whether it was a mystical, eastern, “mamma earth” or “creator”, it’s obvious they were tapping into the spiritual realm too.

Larger picture: it affirmed the need (again) for spirituality in religion. John Drane said it best when the secular society has become spiritual, but the church has become secular. A squeaky clean welcome/worship/message/in an hour God is good, but nothing close to kinesthetic, spontaneous, hospitable and incredibly personal God I felt closer to this weekend. There are droves who’d drive out to the desert to find community and haven with each other, and are seeking some larger connection to the divine. Something to think about.

Pictures? In the theme of sharing and community, check out photos from other festival-goers tagged on flickr. A pesky memory card error left me with corrupt jpegs, and will keep this weekend’s memory only in my mind. Perhaps that’s where it needs to be to remember the larger picture.

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