I don’t know exactly what a prayer is. I do know how to pay
attention, how to fall down into the grass, how to kneel down
in the grass, how to be idle and blessed (Mary Oliver, “The Summer Day”)
This past weekend Rebecca and Mark took a short drive south to take in the 122nd Sacred Concert of Music at the Auditorium in Northfield. The first Annual Concert of Sacred Music took place in May 1895, when the students of Northfield and Mount Hermon Schools presented a concert of gospel hymns for school founder D.L. Moody. Since then, the Sacred Concert has been held each spring in the Auditorium on the Northfield campus.
For the past three years, both Ellinore and Nathaniel have been singing in the NMH choir guided by the remarkably talented Sheila Heffernon.
This year, especially, the choral and orchestral music were fantastic. We especially enjoyed the three-part symphonic “Sunrise Mass” by the Norwegian composer Ola Gjeilo. NMH has produced a pretty nifty short video about the Sacred Concert tradition that you can view here.
The Summer Day
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?