There was much buzz last week about the upcoming Brahms German Requiem. Although a part of the regular 'Concerts With A Cause' at St. John United Methodist, this one was held at the larger suburban First Baptist Church.A guest conductor, the Symphony orchestra, a baritone and a soprano soloist, members of five choirs, and words in German held the attention of the overflowing audience. My daughter and I claimed seats near the center and much too close to the front, but with that many participants, we opted to have a unique view of a few.
Although the Requiem is a prayer about grief and suffering, it seemed to speak to this glorious day. I circled a phrase in the program notes: ". . . your heart will rejoice." John 16:22 But, as the concert ended, it was the last line which I knew would define the Brahms and this day for me.
Earlier in the day, I had overheard visitors to our morning service say to our minister that they were here for the afternoon concert. Something made me speak to them, asking where they were from. When they answered, I said, "I used to live there." I asked where they went to church and when they answered, I said, "I used to work there." One of the two brothers looked at me and said, "Wait. Are you Annette Bush?" Mike and Ray talked at once remembering that I conducted their confirmation classes, that as teenagers, they often sat around in my office which is still there and more . . . . Our families just stood by a little stunned.
We didn't talk long on the sidewalk, but it was long enough for the cobwebs to be swept away from forty+ year old memories about that congregation in another state. (We even made some new connections as we realized that, at last year's Birthday Party for Jesus, Ray's son-in-law Charles joined my daughter Kathryn and baby Belle to portray the Holy Family.)
It has been strange looking back on 'one of my other lives' and it left me feeling a little discombobulated. Aside from a four month special project, that had been my first real job after I graduated from college in 1963 with a degree in Religion. I did the job as best I could and it was work I enjoyed. Who could know that the impressions made on two young brothers would remain with them for forty years?
As Brahms' glorious music came to a close that afternoon, I circled the final phrase in the program notes,
". . . for their works follow after them." Revelations 14:13
It's a scary thought.