Sunday, February 03, 2008

You Might be One Holy Harmonica

When I was a kid, Dad would occasionally pull out his $5.00 harmonica and play us a tune; some rousing Irish jig or lullaby or Red River Valley. We thought it was pretty cool, and I guess that's what stirred me into playing the Irish tinwhistle.

Now as a kid, these two instruments, I have to confess, seemed to me more like glorified kazoos than orchestral implements. But then I heard Paddy Maloney play the tinwhistle, and that $7.00 piece of metal and plastic took me to the Aran Islands and beyond... to Tir na Nog.... to windswept rocks and crying gulls.

There's a line from Shakespeare that has a character pondering the power of the violin.... "Strange", he muses, "that sheep's guts should hail men's souls from their bodies."

Amen to that!

Now as a Catholic, I have daily encounters with ordinary stuff (water, wine, bread, oil) that's been supercharged and divinized by the God Who took on our flesh and became one of us. So it's not a puzzle for me to see melody flow through the muddy hands, and music from the makings of wood and steel, brass and pipes. It's incarnational! But a harmonica?

Enter Buddy Greene. He plays the harmonica like you've never seen. Now if he can play music like that through a little piece of camp fire chotsky, what wonders can God do through ridiculous me? The catch is... I have to let Him pick me up and send His Holy Spirit whistling through.

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