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Poetry and Rhetoric

" A good poem helps to change the shape and significance of the universe, helps to extend everyone's knowledge of himself and the world around him." —Dylan Thomas



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Jazz and Prayer Daniel Leavitt

 

I think God invented jazz.

Jazz is spontaneous, creative, soulful, raw -I think our prayers should be like that - from the heart, from the core of our being, poured out from our circumstances and yet deeper more profound than our spoken language can reveal. Soul to soul. Jazz can be abstract yet deeply profound. Truth and freedom of expression beyond the print. That's good jazz. Most of the music we hear is written down, composed, conducted, recorded, sampled, looped, produced, rehearsed, but good jazz like good prayer is created on the spot –not rehearsed, not read from a book or repeated each Saturday night or Sunday morning the some old way each time. You don't need a conductor to create good jazz, you don't need sheet music, you just lay it all out there with respect and dignity for the art. There is nothing worse in jazz or worship than relying on comfortable clichés, memorized or stolen licks or even worse, a flippant disrespect for the audience. The sophisticated jazz crowd is not interested in hearing how well you can imitate Armstrong, Coltrane, Bird , Miles or even how great you can play -how high, how fast, how loud. No, we want to hear YOU. You interpreting your deepest longings, experiences, where your pride and your humility, successes and failures, victories and defeats, your very reason for being.
I think that is what prayer should be. When Jesus prayed in the garden, the Bible says,

"And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground." (Luke 22:44)

Deep, profound, excruciatingly personal, raw and honest. That’s what great jazz is. Not the words, thoughts or feeling of someone else, but YOU. I pray that we all would commune with God on the deepest of personal levels. Profound, courageous, open and honest, with respect and dignity to our audience, the Creator of the Universe, Our Father, Our Lord, Savior and Friend.

Take a chorus!

 

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