I have just returned from the last trip of the summer and now I'm looking forward to the 2015-2016 academic year. For the first time, I am blogging from my cottage in our music village.
For those who might not know, this “music village” is the temporary home of Southeastern’s department of music. We expect to be camping out here for the next twelve months while new facilities are being built. Our little neighborhood consists of 18 cottages that house practice rooms, offices, and storage plus three music-specific modular units – a music office and computer music lab, a percussion studio, and a keyboard lab.
Back to the summer’s trips - they were excellent and involved a Christian summer music festival exploring the significance of diversity in Christian theology, a trip to New York with Kathy’s girls choir, and a great church music conference in New Orleans followed by a wedding deep in Cajun country. These journeys reminded me of the great big world that’s out there. They also challenged, inspired, energized, and focused me in new ways. That said, I believe the transformation that needs to happen within me will occur over the course of many days and weeks of hard work here in Cottage 16.
At the end of the school year, we moved from our old buildings (which no longer exist) to temporary structures in the field on the north end of campus. The process required that we look at every single item that had come to find a comfy, if crowded, home in the old facilities, and determine which things should be carried into the field with us. A number of things were left behind as they no longer served a purpose or were proving to be unnecessary weights as we moved forward. Now that we are in the village, there is more sorting to do.
Just as the physical move provided an occasion for this great house cleaning, I think our move into the village also provides an opportunity for each of us to undertake a more important spiritual inventory.
There are many good things we need to take into the village with us, but it is also an ideal time to consider what things we would like to leave behind. We might even find some treasures in this field that will enrich our lives together when we move into our new home next year.
I encourage everyone who will be spending time in the village to invite the Spirit to shine light on the things that might be good to leave behind. A list of several that have occurred to me might help with other folks' self-evaluations.
Lack of discipline in worship or prayer
Unwillingness to be shaped by the Spirit
The tendency to feed anxieties
Expectations built on old relationships
Attitudes that contribute to cliquishness and sarcasm
To some extent, the daily life of our department has been drawn out into the light of day because our village is now in this field. Most of our nearest neighbors have never lived this close to our community before. The logistics of the move and the rearrangement of where we are on campus have resulted in lots of folks meeting and interacting who had only heard of each other before.
I am hoping that more good things can come from this dynamic in the year ahead.
I am imagining the worshipful sounds of hard work emanating from our village and lifting up those around us. I am dreaming that the activity of our neighborhood will convey not so much a sense of talents or giftedness but qualities of sweetness and listening. I am praying that we will become aware of the presence of God as we move through our narrow streets.