We listen today to the history of Estonia. How the history is told depends on who is telling the story. Your story if you are a peasant is different to the story of the hierarchy.
How vital it is that we listen deeply to the one who is telling their story. Are we ready to hear another's story?
It was so good then to go to the Arvo Pärt Centre and hear Pärt's story. He composed music in tradition of his times. He describes it as hard, disturbing, later, even evil but he was good at it. To pour your soul into something disturbing perhaps it is inevitable that the creativity will dry up. The mind and body maybe rebels and for 8 long years Pärt could write nothing.
As he returned to his childhood faith he began to discover something new. A ‘new song’. He developed a new way of composing, a 3 part background and a simple melody. He describes the melody as our sin and the triad as redemption.
Our sin, our distraction from God is so clear but behind, infront, beneath is the beautiful redemption of Christ. Perhaps today we can reflect on that. Our sin is obvious. We long to be without sin, but far deeper is the love of God which lives and welcomes us and redeems us in the love of the Trinity.
Pärt is very aware that his music grows out of his own emptiness, his poverty, his silence.
How beautiful then to stand in the silence of the woodland...to hear at a deeper level...to see, not into future events, but the leaves beside me, the birds over my head, the emerging leaves and flowers.
To go then and stand in silence in the memorial to those who were transported to Siberia during the Soviet regime from 1940 until 1991 and the 90,000 who died there and know that in our absolute poverty and silence there is love, Love even, we know that those who wept, those who cried in pain and fear, those who longed for home, did not cry out alone. Christ was with them. We stood in a holy place. To go into silence takes us to creativity and to the truth of our sin, the terrible sin of war and pain and then deeper still into the redeeming love of God that never leaves us.
As we walked in that place we grieved that war is upon our continent again, that this evil still prevails. May our steps and our grieving hearts be prayer for peace and a sign of peace. May there be healing in Europe.
Tomorrow we are silent. Maybe we can be in that time, not busy asking God to show us things, but rather, open to see with clarity our distraction from God and the deep knowledge that we are eternally loved.
Preparing for the Chant Workshop at the Arvo Pärt Centre
Click the link below for a video of the chant rehearsal.
When Arvo Pärt could not compose music, his creativity found outlets in painting plant pots.
Passing through the Memorial walls -
Apple trees were planted as a sign of hope and new life - the blossoms were just opening when our pilgrims were there.
The whole group alongside the Memorial.
Sunlight falls on the Baltic Sea and on the Memorial wall.