I am not sure why angel voices are those of women or of boys when the named angels are Michael, Raphael and Gabriel. But if I am not very much mistaken, the voice of the Webb Sisters is absolutely heavenly as it bears the gravelly voice of Leonard Cohen to the heights of beauty. For me this voice of the angel from John Tavener’s Eternity’s Sunrise sounds like it’s from the very heart of heaven. I wonder if this is how angels sound. They seem to have all the time in the world.Friends Christopher Burkett and Jayne Shepherd have shared this story illustrating the power of words – surely the touch of an angel. (I wonder why Church of England bishops can’t sound and look like this).
At last we see Leonard Cohen – a brilliant concert at the NEC in Birmingham. Jeanette and I both commented on his music being a strong thread through our lives.
The concert led me to think of this all as a sign of heaven – I mean the band playing together, round one another, giving way to one another, respecting one another – producing harmony in spite of the underlying knowledge shared by LC that there is no such thing as “our perfect offering“.
And on the other hand, I am preparing for our “patronal festival” – church dedicated to St Andrew – and wonder why we use individuals so much as our “icons” of God, instead of community, band, group, family and Trinity. In that case, I wonder what communities (or what sort of communities)become the windows for seeing God’s love. Is it the local church, the communities of reconciliation? Is it the bands of artists who play together, the teams of scientists who work together and the local Christians who pray together?
How about this:
I am so often accused of gloominess and melancholy. And I think I’m probably the most cheerful man around. I don’t consider myself a pessimist at all. I think of a pessimist as someone who is waiting for it to rain. And I feel completely soaked to the skin. … I think those descriptions of me are quite inappropriate to the gravity of the predicament that faces us all. I’ve always been free from hope. It’s never been one of my great solaces. I feel that more and more we’re invited to make ourselves strong and cheerful. …. I think that it was Ben Johnson, I have studied all the theologies and all the philosophies, but cheerfulness keeps breaking through.
Leonard Cohen quoted in “The Joking Troubadour of Gloom” – Telegraph 26th April 1993