Jazz--it was the topic for our writers group meeting; and although I never did get the piece written, if I had, I would have tried to capture a scene from a movie that I love, The Colour Purple, directed by Steven Spielberg and based on the Pulitzer Prize winning novel of the same name by Alice Walker.
There are several scenes in that movie that speak to me powerfully even 20 years after seeing them for the first time, but this is my favourite--at least today.
...It is the Deep South, Georgia in the 1920’s; a Sunday morning, and the summer air is sultry and heavy inside a church built on the edge of a swamp. The church folks, dressed in suits and ties and Sunday dresses, fan themselves, hoping to catch a breeze from the open windows. I bet that a fly buzzed lazily overhead, a mild distraction from the black robed minister up in the pulpit. "All us been prodigal children, one time or another," he shouts down at the congregation.
...There is another sound and it is coming in through the windows on the breeze. Lazy, sensuous, the music seems to personify the very sin that the minister is talking about--a honky tonk tune.
“But I’m telling you children," he continues, gripping the edges of the pulpit, almost as if he is preaching to himself, as indeed he is, " It’s possible for the Lord to drive you home; drive you home to truth!“
A woman’s voice wafts in on the breeze, competing for the ear of the worshippers.
“Sister,” she is singing, “We’re two of a kind; soul sister...”
It is evident that the attenton of the children and some of the adults is no longer on the sermon.
A large black woman in the congregation takes charge of the situation and urges the choir to sing, "God's Trying to Tell You Something," and that's when something happens that is indescribable, although I am sure that Alice Walker did it beautifully in her book.
Here is a clip of the scene, which I cannot watch without the hairs on my arms standing up. It is the story of the call of the Father, the One who waits with arms open for all of his children and maybe especially, for the wayward ones.
Psalm 42:7 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society
7 Deep calls to deep
in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
have swept over me.