A Musical Cross 2017
By Fred Pruitt
(I don’t usually share personal stuff on the blog, though that may be changing. Most of my online personal sharing is on Facebook. I know lots of people who read these writings are not on Facebook, and since I don’t want to leave anyone out, I will throw out some personal news here and there. Here is some news, then, for those who have not heard and might be interested. Janis is having colon/resection surgery Tuesday morning, Oct 10th, after undergoing flare-ups of diverticulitis and hospital stays. Two weeks ago I took her to the ER because besides her colon flare-up, she had heart-attack symptoms (intense pressure in the center of her chest). They confirmed that she had had a stress-induced cardio myopathy. Long story short, after 8 days in the hospital and a week at home recuperating, she will head back to Norton’s Hospital to have her surgery Tuesday, and we really look forward to it because she is feeling so crappy most of the time. So please remember her before the Father in faith and prayers, they would be so appreciated. Good thoughts, loving energy our way – we are glad for it all!)
(Revised from 2002) My wife is a musician, a “singer/songwriter.” She’s wonderful. She is enjoying a rising success here in Louisville after years of plugging away at it. The reason is that when she performs her heart comes through and touches everyone who is listening, whether she is doing a rowdy rock ‘n roll tune or something gentle and sweet. For years everybody has said the same thing.
Last night she had a job with her band, late night, often the case for this craft. She’s been under the weather, and had already had one job this week, with one more to go. It’s exhausting. Especially if you have a day-job, too. She feels the effects. I know this, but nobody else there does.
And the show is stunning! They’re on from 10 PM – 2 AM, with one break, and the time flies. The band cooks, Janis radiates. Everybody in the audience that I talk to tell me how much they enjoy her, her stage presence, her songs, her spirit. They could not have complimented her more.
This morning I said something to her about how wonderful she had been last night. It was not meant just as a general husband-wife support statement — I really meant it. She shines when she plays, and you know she is doing exactly what it is she was put on earth to do. But then she told me how self-conscious she feels so much of the time when she plays, how critical of herself. And the way she overcomes it when she performs is by simply going into the songs. She puts all her earnestness into the songs as a way to escape the self-consciousness and self-criticism. That’s as far as she goes in telling it, because then she’s just singing the songs. She has no thought for their effect past her singing. But the result for those listening is the magic of an earnest heart telling familiar tales through music that penetrate other eager hearts. Faces beam.
“There you go,” I said, “death producing life.” The Cross. Her “deaths” have been the ongoing self-conscious criticism that she has accepted as part of her musical process, which she knows always brings out the life, never failing. All that inward stress pushes her into the songs themselves and for a time forgetting everything else. Her stress “dies” in her earnest delivery; then out of that she almost ceases to exist except in and as the songs, which as I said above, truly bless and delight the audience.
(Her musical Cross is a clear picture in the natural of the original Cross of Christ, which Jesus described this way: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” (John 12:24).
(Jesus’ Cross was the one at Calvary, in plain sight to the whole world. Our cross, according to Paul (which just as Jesus’ death and resurrection brought “much fruit”), is outlined in 2 Cor 4:10-13 – “ Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you. We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak.”
(It is THAT life, and no other, which lives in us, the Spirit of Intercession, for all God’s people are a royal priesthood, that is, all God’s people are “royal,” because they decree the decrees, and “priests,” because they unite God and His people by their intercessory lives. In the Old Testament only certain members of certain tribes could perform any of the things of God. Only Levites of the House of Aaron could sacrifice in the Temple, and the “people” (laity) could only observe from afar. In Christ, ALL of us serve at the altar, ALL of us are kings and priests, and any “division” between so-called “clergy” and the so-called “laity” was destroyed when the veil of the Temple was split in two when Jesus died on the Cross. It was that “veil” that separated the priests from the people. God tore it down! It’s not there anymore.)
As much as in my writings I have wanted to share this tremendous principle of intercession that works in us to bring life to others in myriads of ways, Janis demonstrates it as plainly as it can be seen.
I saw it as crystal clear as could be. I saw the whole picture of what was going on in an instant. Only I know the tension involved in that music coming forth.
Only I know the stress, the worry, the dread, the pure hard work, the background of everyday life, that is behind every shining moment on stage. I’m the on-scene observer. And more than that, I also am caught up in all of the reality of every worry, every dread, the hard pulling-on-you-from-every-direction stress that she experiences, since we are one. But as if in a vision, in a moment I saw all that whirling dervish swallowed up in her “escape” into letting the Song take her over. Thank God for the whirling dervish. What forceful-passionate-gentle-strong-loving Life comes forth.