Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Tale of Courage, A Miracle, And Beauty

By now, you have likely heard about the gunman who opened fire at a school board meeting in Panama City, FL. It is a difficult video to watch - the gunman fires on the school board members. The security officer, Mike Jones, a former police officer, shot the gunman twice, and the gunman ultimately took his own life. Thank heavens the officer was there.

There was another hero in the room last night, School Board member, Ginger Littleton. What she did was unbelievably courageous, and brave:

Isn't that amazing? Of course, her daughters are right - she could have been killed doing what she did. But it was her immediate response that she could not allow these fellow school board members to sit there like ducks without trying to do something.

And then for the miracle part of this whole encounter. The following video has some difficult scenes in it, just to warn you. But what is really remarkable, as retold by the superintendent, Bill Husfelt, is what happened when the gunman opened fire on the school board members:

This was truly a miracle. Husfelt is convinced that God stepped between him and the gunman's bullets. I know I was shocked that the superintendent was not hit. Thank heavens.

As noted, it could have been so, so much worse, considering students and their parents had just been there. Wow. A miracle indeed.

Recently, Larry Johnson gave us a pleasant surprise - a flash "mob" singing the "Hallelujah Chorus" at a food court in a Canadian mall. Many people wondered if that kind of thing would happen in the States.

Well, it did. The Opera Company of Philadelphia engaged in a "random act of culture" at Macy's in Philadelphia, which is home to the largest pipe organ in the world. As the daughter of a church organist (and choirmaster), who awakened to the sounds of my dad practicing the organ every Sunday morning, this was particularly moving. And it is incredibly beautiful:

I'd say that's another miracle,, of a different kind, wouldn't you?

And while this doesn't quite rise to "miracle" status, it is my favorite organ piece, and is just beautiful. I used to turn the pages for my dad when he played it. It is performed here by Diane Bish, widely considered one of the greatest organists in the world:

May your day be filled with beauty and miracles.


Anonymous said...

There's another flashmob act in Philadelphia where the Opera Company did the Brindisi in the middle of the Reading Terminal Market. It's FANTASTIC. My hometown has a lot going for it. :-)

And I love organists. They've got flash and dazzle that's amazing, and they can improv like no one's business. That's the only place in the classical music world where flash and improv survived for a long time -- I think of it as the Virgil Fox Effect. I love the sparkle and flash organists have.

Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy said...

LOL abt "the Virgil Fox effect"!! You are so right, Janis - organists are great at improv. And cool that you know who Fox is!! :-D

Diane Bish DEFINITELY has the sparkle going for her, doesn't she?

I'll say your hometown has a lot going for it. The Opera Company there is really amazing, isn't it? The sheer number of singers they got together for the Macy's event was amazing (I think I heard them say it was abt 65 groups). Outstanding!

Anonymous said...

Hi Rev. Amy!

I was watching that news coverage on Fox yesterday afternoon and it was just amazing that none of the school board had been shot. Really, there had to be some divine intervention there. Just an amazing story all around.

My cousin, Sr. Antoinette, sent me the video with the Hallelujah chorus in the mall food court. It really did lift my spirits. I want to show it to my mom when she comes to visit, but might have a hard time explaining a "flash mob" to her. She still believes that Skype is "just like Flash Gordon". :-D

---Nunly/Mary Ellen

Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy said...

Hey, ME!

I know, right? Certainly, the superintendent is convinced it was divine intervention. Every time I see that video, I cannot believe he wasn't hit. Amazing. And thank heavens.

ROTFLMAO abt "flash mobs" and explaining it to your mom! So good to *see* you again!! (And I think of you every day, you know...)