Dr. Willie James Jennings, a Systematic Theologian and Africana Studies professor at Yale University Divinity School, believes that the music of jazz inspires the faithful to see and experience the incarnation of God. In an article simply entitled “Seeing God in Jazz” Professor Jennings writes about the power of jazz and the lessons the church should learn from the way the music comes together and from the musicians who give it life. He contends,
“churches could learn much from reflecting on a jazz band. Here are a group of people who work very hard listening, yet give up nothing of themselves in that process, but in fact only gain a true sense of themselves in the common task of making music, producing sound that makes a central statement that exists only through the constitutive performances of each musician…Musicians live and play in tight quarters, which is not only a matter of the given but also a matter of choice. They need closeness to hear. Would that Christians could grasp this basic truth of our witness: We don’t simply need each other, we need to be close together in order to truly hear the words we should be saying to the world and, equally important, to hear more clearly the voice of the world in its pain, suffering and longing.”
In recognition of Jazz Appreciation Month, our diverse and faithful Jazz Vespers congregation will honor and celebrate local jazz personalities who have contributed historic and cultural significance to the local jazz community in San Diego and throughout the world at our weekly 5PM worship service. Our honorees for the month are Mr. John Phillips of 88.3FM on Sunday, April 7th; acclaimed jazz harpist Mariea Antoinette on Palm Sunday, April 14; and Mr. Joshua White on Easter Sunday, April 21.