This Sunday at First Christian we will do something different. A jazz quartet will accompany our singing and perform some renditions of the great jazz saxophonist John Coltrane’s masterpiece A Love Supreme. Why?
One reason is that our gifted accompanist and exceptional jazz pianist Jeremy Gregoire and I wanted to do something a little different in worship. We decided a jazz service sounded like fun and like a different medium to experience the worship of God. Then we looked for an approach; jazz is a pretty big ocean to swim in after all. At what point do you jump in? Jeremy suggested we consider Coltrane’s A Love Supreme.
Being a jazz ignoramus, I asked Jeremy to educate me. He showed me Coltrane’s liner notes, and right there in black and white Coltrane declares this four-song album is “a humble offering to God.” It’s not a shallow shout out to the divine as musicians do now at awards shows but rather a deep meditation on the “supreme” love of God. The fourth song is entitled “Psalm” and is a musical accompaniment to a poem of praise to God that Coltrane wrote (also included in the liner notes). Here are Coltrane’s own words about the album:
ALL PRAISE BE TO GOD TO WHOM ALL PRAISE IS DUE.
Let us pursue Him in the righteous path. Yes it is true; “seek and ye shall
find”. Only through Him can we know the most wondrous bequeathal.
During the year 1957, I experienced, by the grace of God, a spiritual awakening
which was to lead me to a richer, fuller, more productive life. At that time,
in gratitude, I humbly asked to be given the means and privilege to make
others happy through music. I feel this has been granted through His grace.
ALL PRAISE TO GOD.
As time and events moved on, a period of irresolution did prevail. I entered
into a phase which was contradictory to the pledge and away from the
esteemed path; but thankfully, now and again through the unerring and
merciful hand of God, I do perceive and have been duly re-informed of His
OMNIPOTENCE, and of our need for, and dependence on Him. At this time I
would like to tell you that NO MATTER WHAT . . . IT IS WITH GOD. HE IS GRACIOUS AND MERCIFUL. HIS WAY IS IN LOVE, THROUGH WHICH WE ALL ARE. IT IS TRULY —A LOVE SUPREME —.
This album is a humble offering to Him. An attempt to say “THANK YOU
GOD” through our work, even as we do in our hearts and with our tongues.
May He help and strengthen all men in every good endeavor. . .
May we never forget that in the sunshine of our lives, through the storm
and after the rain — it is all with God — in all ways and forever.
ALL PRAISE TO GOD.
With love to all, I thank you,
A “love supreme” indeed! That sounds like church to me! See you Sunday!
Grace and Peace,