A meditation to remember

There never seems to be a dull moment at Rainbow. And as year 2018 draws to a close, I’d like to highlight a moment of worship that stands out above the rest. (And I thank Kristina for permission to post this video above!)

It was August 12, 2018. A guest preacher was here sharing about her borderland travels with Mennonite Central Committee. In those days one couldn’t (and still can’t) open news channels without hearing/seeing heartbreaking stories and images of children being separated from their parents. I was grateful to hear our preacher that morning address some of these unjust immigration practices and policies. 

The sermon from that morning was powerful. And so was the music, particularly Kristina Yoder’s “solo” violin performance of Méditation on Thaïs by French composer Jules Massenet.  I put “solo” in quotation marks because she was unexpectedly joined by her young daughter.

It was a moment/meditation not many of us will soon forget.  At times it almost seemed choreographed–like a moving tableau of motherhood. And the way her daughter sits still at the end is well, you can decide for yourself, but I thought it was amazing.

I appreciate how Rosi has described this moment:

I’ve known Kristina since she was five. Even as a child, Kristina grew a new persona with a violin in her hand. I know that she chose to play this piece on this day because she was visiting her parents and it is her mother’s favorite piece. As a performing musician, I know what it’s like to deal with distraction. Kristina’s ability to hold the moment was one of the most amazing I have seen. For a while as she played, I closed my eyes to block out the chaos going on around her, but near the end I found myself watching, enthralled by Kristina’s ability to be aware enough of her daughter to not hit her with the bow (and she had to change some of her bowings to do it) and yet maintain the intense musical ethos of the piece. It was obvious that it would not have been helpful for any of us to distract or try to contain her daughter; she was as focused on her mother as her mother was focused on the music.

There would be easy analogies to make about being calm while the storm rages around, or keeping one’s focus on what’s most important and ignoring everything else. But what I saw was Kristina being aware of the chaos and adjusting to not let it derail her. The music was so internalized for her that short of the bow coming out of her hand there was no stopping her. Afterwards, she was a bit embarrassed by her daughter’s actions and surprised because it was out of character, but also matter-of-fact. She offered her best despite the distraction.

 

What do you, my readers, experience while listening and watching?

 Note: Recently Kristina participated in a benefit concert for Tree of Life synagogue.  Her performance with Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra will be broadcast live on PBS at 8 pm Eastern time on December 11. 

 

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