What is Blues Vespers?
Vespers is the traditional word for evening worship marked by music and prayer. Blues Vespers is a way of combining a time for reflection and prayer with blues music.
Blues music and its cousin, gospel music, often expresses in its words and music human joy, longing, passion and pain. An evening’s music reminds us that God is there for us in all of life, often in the places where we are most human.
Blues, like many other forms of music, can help express what we experience in life. At times music can be prayer. At other times God speaks to us as we listen and are entertained by the music. Musicians often find music a form of spiritual expression.
With all that said, there are times we simply enjoy listening to good music – which in itself is pretty nice and can nourish our souls.
Vespers Format: usually every third Sunday at 5 p.m. but can really be anytime or multiples so please check the calendar.
Blues Vespers is music, poetry and a brief reflection. All are welcome.
The event is always free. An offering is taken for the musicians or if it is a fundraiser we will take an offering for that cause.
· Welcome, announcements
· Band introduction
· Poem(s), introduce month's theme
· 2-3 songs from the band
· Poem(s), reflection
· 2-3 more songs
· Silent prayer, offering
· 1-2 more songs
Past Blues Reflection
Excerpts from Pastor Dave's reflection for the April 15 Blues(grass) Vespers (poems are on another page)
On April 4, 1968 when Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated, I was 19 and living in New Jersey in the middle of a mediocre year as a college sophomore. I was on the edge of political consciousness. I was leaning against the war and I had a hard time reconciling my Christian faith with the racism of my community and church. Dr. King's death shook me up, yet I was pretty much alone with that feeling in my white North New Jersey community and church. I learned some pretty scary lessons there. Black folks weren't really welcome except once a year - and this is true...
I went to church that Sunday morning feeling a strange mix of being at home and yet not belonging, a budding hippie in the middle of middle class America. I was shocked when our pastor, a kind man with the awkward name Don Trull, announced there was a non-violent march in Newark and he was going. If anyone wanted to join him meet at the church.
I decided to go against my fathers protestations. I showed up at the church and saw Pastor Trull. We waited and waited and waited...we were the only ones. We went on a huge march through the heart of Newark that the year before had been the scene of some of the worst riots in America. We marched with fellow Christians white and black. We sang, Don Trull and I and no one else from Bethany.
I was more than a little discouraged and cynical that no one else came. But without Rev Trull standing up and asking I would not have gone either. He set a trajectory toward involvement for me.
April 7, 1968 was a shift for me: I was involved, I was not a passive observer.
All due to a mild mannered pastor who decided to stand up for what he believed in, even if his church was not behind him.
If there is a lesson in this it is that when we stand up for things and try to engage in shaping the world, we do so not just for ourselves or because it is right, but because it may empower some younger person to stand up for what they believe and not be a passive observer.
That Sunday was a gift to me. I never said thank you to Pastor Don Trull, so I say it now.