Mission as Intersection  


I recently came across the work of American theologian Frederick Buechener. He spoke of a concept that impressed me greatly. He defined vocations as realizations of mission as intersection or “the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” This maxim is true for the teachers of El Sistema and all educators who recognize music as a congenial space that is both inspirational and transformational. For Maestro Abreu, these men and women of service are “messengers of the highest social mission of art.” That is a tremendous responsibility. It implies building a noble and aspirational path for those in need of the comfort that only artistic endeavors can bring and that society desperately needs—“spirituality, solidarity, compassion, and above all, happiness,” Abreu contends. I’ve written elsewhere about the ineffability music, and yet its powers always seems to manifest themselves more clearly and succinctly when practiced as part of a social endeavor or experience. In the classroom or rehearsal space, every teacher with an authentic vocation (those who care deeply about nurturing a higher cause) will come to be surrounded by the fraternal, a spirit that inevitably becomes magnified by the connections that she has made with her students through the communal experience of art. These invisible connections, and in our case, concerted by and through music, allow teachers to derive a deep gladness and invite students to turn their hearts directly to a place where hope awaits. Infinite as music.

September 2013. 
 

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