One of the most meaningful ways that I have encountered the Light through music was during my sophomore year at George Fox University, when I took a History of Latin America course. The class was one of my favorites, and it included watching a 1986 film called The Mission, which depicted a Jesuit mission in South America. The movie touched my heart, and my less than favorable opinion of missionaries at the time, became more complex. A huge part of the story is about the redemption of a former Spanish slave trader, who dedicates his life to try to undo the damage he caused to the native community; his name was Mendoza.
The song in the movie that stuck with me was an orchestral score called “On Earth As It Is in Heaven.” It starts slowly, with the strings, and leads into an angelic sounding choir. Today this song makes me think about the Kingdom of God, and the mystery of that always helps me to pray. How can the Kingdom be present now, and also on its way? How do I live in the Kingdom? How do I work to get there?
After I was done with that class, my love for history grew, and so I decided to take it on as a second major. The professor who taught that class would become my advisor, and was one of the people who reached out to me when I was in desperate need of help at Fox. This song makes me remember his kindness, and I how I want to pray to have the eyes to see the needs that surround me.
The song also makes me think of Common Ground, and how I would pray for them. On the days where I felt like we had achieved a success, I would often fall asleep with this song playing, and visions the happiness of future LGBTQ children. On the days where I felt defeated and angry, I’d shut myself in my room and play the song. Eventually my tears would stop, my fists would unclench, and my heart would soften again.
God only knows how many times I’ve listened to that song on repeat, but the Light I encounter in it makes me remember, and it leads me into something new, every time.