Dance through the shadow of my past
making everything call out to the First and Last."
Years of listening to Nickel Creek and a growing desire to play the mandolin, plus even more years of wanting to write songs that evoked emotive reflection like those written by Sting, plus meeting a Chinese dulcimer-player with the same passion for collaboration across language and culture were key elements in what has grown to be the music of Avodah. Having begun in large measure by Chris Gaertner processing a season of deep melancholy through writing songs, Avodah's five-plus years of collaboration, performance, and engagement with the life of our city has helped this music take shape
Life is lived in the present. We grasp for Presence: the presence of God, struggling to be “present” in the moment with those whom we love (or are at least called to love). Our experience of Presence in the present, however, is imbued with Memory. The person one is today has been shaped by a lifetime of Memory.
Memory haunts. We are haunted people. Memory casts a shadow over the present, and we feel the sting of loss, guilt and regret. But Memory also haunts with longing. It may be a longing to return to times and places and people not under that shadow (if we ever did experience such things). It may be a longing to forget, to remember no longer. But whether we know it or not, it is more-so a longing to see the past redeemed. A redeemed memory does look backward, because it longs for what was First, living in freedom from guilt and loss. But that has been lost. And so, a redeemed memory is not only backward-looking, it is also present and forward-looking, because redemption is a foretaste of restoration at Last.