Sunday, May 29, 2016

Lessons Learned in the Highlands

Saturday and Sunday, May 21 and 22, 2016

One thing that's become very evident to me over the years is that, while there are cultural nuances from nation to nation – and these are critical to understand – people are still fundamentally the same. We all love to sing, we all need to pray, we all grieve, we all want to share our stories.

Nowhere is this more evident to me than when we conduct a workshop.  On Saturday, May 21, our marvelous hosts had gotten out the word to musicians in all corners of the Archdiocese of Edinburgh, and we had close to a hundred of them gathered in St. Joseph's Broomhouse parish church for our afternoon workshop.

I know that much was learned on the part of our guests – we brought a rich repertoire, the Folk Choir sat in and amongst our attendees, and many, many issues were discussed.

But I couldn't help thinking that we, too, learned a lot from our Highland friends.  Their questions were spot on: fundamental questions about participation, collaboration with presbyters and the dynamic of working with limited resources.  These are all issues that face most American churches as well.

Being in the midst of our Scottish counterparts made me realize what a common bond we have on our spiritual journey.  On more than one occasion this week, the quote from St. Augustine has been raised: "Our hearts are restless, O God, until they come to rest in you."

That restlessness knows no nationality – it is part of our common, spiritual DNA.  And it unites us, across languages, oceans and customs.

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