Friday, January 29, 2010

Piano Lessons: A Spiritual Asset

Yesterday I escorted my six-year-old granddaughter and my eight-year-old grandson to their piano lessons at Harmonia in Virginia.

I was nine years old when I began my piano lessons with Miss Dvorak. (I don't remember her name, only the composer that she loved so much.)

For several years, without missing a beat, my beloved piano teacher arrived every Tuesday afternoon to make music with me on our monstrous upright piano. She was the refreshing pause in my week that was regimented with public school, afternoon religious school and trips to visit my sister at the faraway rehabilitation center in Upstate New York.

Playing piano with Miss Dvorak was always a New World Symphony.

Today, while watching my grandchildren take their private piano lessons with the new Miss Dvorak, I heard a spiritual refrain.

Making music alone or with someone is a spiritual asset that is better than a new iPod.

As I watched my grandchildren use their "spider" hands to punctuate every black and white note, I relaxed to replenish my musical reservoir.

"It is time for more piano lessons," I heard Miss Dvorak whisper to me from another world. "Never too late to begin again."

Friday, January 22, 2010

When Way Closes, Way Will Open

The Quaker educator Parker Palmer speaks often about the traditional Quaker counsel, "Have faith, and Way will open."

The Way is our authentic path journey.

It may appear that the only path that opens for us is the wrong way.

The simple truth is that when "Way" closes behind us, it provides the guiding light towards the True Way.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Remembering the Message of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Please join me this Saturday evening, January 16, at 6:30 p.m. at Ohev Shalom Synagogue on 16th Street to pay tribute to the legacy of the slain Holocaust Museum security guard, Stephen Johns, and the preacher of non-violence, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. On June 10, Mr. Johns was fatally wounded outside the Holocaust Museum by a white supremacist.

The congregation from the Word of God Baptist Church (where Mr. Johns worshipped with his wife, Zakiah) will join the congregation of Ohev Shalom in prayer, song, and unity of spirit.

I will introduce Pastor John McCoy of the Word of God Baptist Church. I met Pastor McCoy on that fateful day in June inside George Washington University Hospital. We have forged a relationship to lesson the pain of intolerance and hatred.

What relationships do you need to foster to continue the message of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.?

For more information, please go to the synagogue's website:

Click here to sign my petition.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Carved in my Heart in Jerusalem

Seikh Abdul Aziz Bukhari lives within view of the Dome of the Rock (the Qubbet al Sakhra in Arabic), in East Jerusalem.

This past Wednesday morning, the Seikh extended home hospitality to our group of 28 students and faculty from Georgetown University who were completing a twelve day interfaith tour through the Holy Land.

A Muslim and a Sufi, the sixty year old mystic spoke only words of peace and compassion in the city of peace, Yirushalayim (Jerusalem in English).

"Carve God's name into your hearts so that you will remember to see God in everyone and in everything."

He gave us a blessing and a mission.

”It is your duty and responsibility to make peace for the next generation, for your children, your future. Educate others to what you have seen and what you have heard here. You have been given an opportunity to say, "Yes, I did something with my life. I contributed to peace in this world."

Then, we stepped outside and stood on his sun-drenched rooftop. We turned to face the domed Mosque and the Western Wall (HaKotel).

The American Imam translated the Arabic prayer of the Jerusalem Imam. The senior Rabbi offered a prayer for peace in Hebrew. Sheikh Bukhari advocated for peace in a gentle English.

Surrounded by the hills of Jerusalem, we created a unity circle. I was asked to sing the Israeli/Arabic peace song.

"Soon the loving peace will reach us all over the world. Shalom, Salaam, Salaam, and Shalom are like one. Shalom. Salaam."

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