Closures and open doors

I worry a lot.  (Yes, I know this is a direct violation of Jesus’ “consider the lilies” saying.)

Closure No. 1
One of my needless worries is that, in my professional life, I find myself oh-so-ready to put away a set of music after an ensemble has been rehearsing it for weeks.  I get tired of it.  I wish I didn’t, but I do.  And I can’t wait to file it all away and get started on the new set of music.

It’s part of the rhythm of my life — digging in to a few musical works for a specified period, performing them, and then moving on to a new set.  What I worry about is that I’m regularly finding myself ready to get rid of the old about a week before  the performance.  And sometimes, I’m more interested putting some music to bed than I am in waking up the beauties of the new music.

This happened just this past week.  I had a somewhat troubling dress rehearsal, which was not made any better by the fact that there were three personnel changes during the final few days of preparation — and I felt like just skipping the concert.  I was not looking forward to it at all.  I went through with it mostly out of (1) habit, and out of a sheer sense of (2) work ethic:

  1. I’ve produced more than 70 concerts in the last 14 academic years, and the process is rather habitual.
  2. I have to do this because it is my job, and I get paid for it.

All that angst aside, I am now past the concert.  Calendar constraints pretty much forced the concert date of Saturday, 4/4, and the audience was sparse during the holiday weekend.

The performance, however, was far better than I had anticipated during the week.  It was a good evening.  And so, a relatively positive closure occurs:

  • The old music is turned in to me for refiling.  (And the inevitable reconnaissance missions are scheduled — in order to search out and recover missing music from a handful of forgetful players.)
  • A couple of community players bow out, for personal/medical reasons.
  • Two other players join in for the next set of rehearsals and concert; new music is reviewed and prepped for rehearsal.

Closure No. 2
Because the regular teacher for an adult Bible class series is travelling, I had the distinctly energizing experience of wrapping up the weekly class on Easter Sunday.

I had no real angst in this case.   Plus, this scenario is not clouded by the job/paycheck aspect.  I did this preparation and teaching because I want to, and because it is something I can do.  Biblical material is more compelling and important to me even than musical material, so it was easy to commit to this.

The class has been dealing with Paul’s letters to believers in Thessalonika.  I had filled in before, so I had some material I wanted to review — themes, unique and/or especially significant vocabulary, and an emphatic, compact section of text (chapter 4:1-12).  First, though, I decided to “step back” with the class to look at the “forest” — both chronologically and theologically.  By that, I mean that I noted these things, among others:

  • what happened in ca. 29 and in ca. 33
  • Saul-Paul’s conversion — as early as 33 and as late as 37
  • missionary activity and obvious theological development from 33-48ish, when our earliest-written NT documents, including 1Thessalonians, began to be written

It is very exciting to ponder the realities of those early years — “between Jesus and [the letters of] Paul,” as author Paul R. Barnett puts it.

There have been times this spring in which three different Bible lessons were in various stages of preparation, and all the books and files (paper and electronic) can get overwhelming.  But in this case, it is a satisfying  sense of accomplishment that leads to fulfillment in putting the 1Thess files away.  Closure no. 2.

Open doors
And now, doors are open to me — namely,

Door No. 1:  to study Mark ch. 4 in preparation for teaching a lesson on Wednesday

Door No. 2:  to read Joshua so I might have something intelligent to contribute when the other teacher is back on Sunday

Door No. 3:  to continue in my deeper study and translation of a passage in 1Corinthians, working toward an online presentation next month

Door No. 4:  to continue to prepare musical works by Camphouse, Bobrowitz, Fuchs, and Forbes for rehearsals in the coming weeks.

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