This past weekend I attended a San Francisco happening, "Hardly Strictly Bluegrass." It was a three day event of which I attended two and it is said there were as many as 750,000 people from all over the country as well as internationally in attendance. The event is free as a generous benefactor Warren Helman left a trust for years to come. The event had big names such as Bonnie Raitt, Chris Isaak's, Steve Martin and Steep Canyon Rangers and Emmylou Harris to name a few. It also featured some less known performers such as Mike Harris and the Roseland Rhythm Revue. It was this group that particularly struck me.
Throughout the weekend I could not help but notice the kindness of the audience to one another, the community spirit and often the preferring of one another. Yes there was the familiar, sweet smell in the air of natural products being smoked but really that was the exception. What was really in the air was a sweeter fragrance that at first was subtle but in time revealed itself increasingly. This was not a scent of one of the five senses but rather a sixth sense, a sense of the heart.
All around was the Divine's creation, the beauty of the preserved park with its beautiful trees, aromatic and dazzling plants and flowers, the radiance of the sun but most of all Creation's crown, the people. The people who were created in the image of their Creator and who shined with that image.
Throughout the weekend I sat in the disabled section, which I might add was more often than not right in front of the stage. Perhaps one of the most beautiful examples of love I saw was observing a group of attendants with some mentally challenged adults. There they were swaying to the music, holding hands, hugging, laughing and most evidently loving not only the music but one another. It was noticeable the bond they had. What freedom! I observed it in the simple things when there was a long line for the rest room and people allowed those who had a greater need to go before them without grumbling but with grace. Trust me, that is a lot at an event like this!
Mostly I witnessed it on Sunday morning when Mike Harris and the Roseland Rhythm began to play. Boom.....they exploded with life and brought a Hallelujah (God be Praised) spirit to the place! It was Gospel music at its best and you knew it was not just words or music to them but life exuding and flowing from and through them. They were radiant from their countenance to their message, "Love Has Come For You."
They also sang and spoke of mercy. It was clear that this message of love and mercy, the message of forgiveness and letting go went deeply into all. Hope, freedom and gratefulness came from the crowd and it took place in a park, on a Sunday morning.
I could only think about the Sermon on the Mount, the feeding of the 5,000 that was and is filled with compassion but this 2,000 years later took place in a park, a message for all,
"Love and Mercy Has Come For You!"