The Creation was set up to work, and work well.
Part of the equation was that it was free to work well, or not.
So, part of the equation was that (at least in some times and places) it probably wouldn't.
So, part of the equation was that the Creation would need some fine-tuning and tinkering.
Even a little repair; even, a major overhaul.
There is a necessary freedom, within the subordinate parts of the Creation, that the Creation might be creative.
This is our freedom: that, if we wish, we may co-operate with the unfolding Creation.
This freedom is our right as human beings.
This freedom is also our obligation as human beings.
So, our right and obligation are the same.
The price to be paid for this freedom is to honour the obligation.
The reward for honouring this obligation is freedom.
We have abused our inherent and natural freedom, even forgotten it.
We choose not to meet our obligation, rather, to live in debt.
Redemption is the process within which the Creation arranges for our debt to be sufficiently honoured that we may be free once more to pay our own way.
That is, the act of redemption returns the gift of freedom to us.
This places upon us a further obligation, and grants us a further right.
The further obligation is to contribute to the debts of others, where we are able.
The further right is to contribute to settling the debts of others, where we may.
That is, we are free to contribute to the act of redemption and participate within it.
Redemption is an actual event, and a process.
For redemption to enter our world, we need to allow the process of redemption to take place within us.
When we behave rightly, we can handle the repercussions.
When we act wrongly, the consequences overwhelm us.
When we behave rightly, things work.
When we behave wrongly, things break down.
Redemption is a process of repair in which the repair job may become stronger than the original model.
The work of redemption is underway in the world on such a colossal scale, and so close to us, that we may not see it.
The act of music is one of many possible actions through which the inexpressible benevolence of the Creative Impulse may enter our lives, direct and shape them in a way and manner so radical and overwhelming that one single note might change our world:
providing that the one single note is the right note, and that we hear it.
Better, then, if we wish to hear that we learn to listen.
The possibility is always available, despite the limitations and restrictions placed upon the event, that the action taking place within the act of music may change our lives.
No professional musician can fail to be unaware of the cynicism, greed and violation upon which the music industry is based.
Our own cynicism, in response, is too high a price to pay: it puts us outside the event.
Despite all attempts to constrain the power of music, the act of music is always remarkable.
Perhaps we have noticed that the world with which we are familiar is collapsing.
The abrogation of responsibility, by those in positions of power towards those dependent upon them, is a leitmotif of our recent history: political, personal, professional and moral violation is endemic in contemporary culture.
The new world is struggling to be born, carrying passive repercussions of the past and facing active opposition from the old.
The future is in place, and waiting, but we have yet to discover it.
Our present position is the bridge between.
This position is hazardous, because we are building the bridge while crossing it.
A reasonable person might despair; but Hope is unreasonable.
Artists, musicians and poets deal in the unreasonable on a daily basis.
The living breath of our work is the invisible glue that holds together performer, audience and the song.
Redemption and repair, for those committed to serving the Creative Impulse, is an aspect of applied art and utterly practical.
Grace, readily available, simply experienced, beyond understanding, requires no reason to enter our lives: but does need a vehicle.
Something has gone terribly wrong.
Because of that, many things have gone terribly wrong.
Because of that, everything may go terribly wrong.
This is all meaningless unless we experience the terror of being separated from the source which fuels the Creation, and the conviction that Redemption is entirely real.
The outcome is not guaranteed.
One bad note carries repercussions.
This one bad note disturbs the note that follows.
This makes two bad notes.
The first bad note disturbs the note that goes before.
This makes three bad notes.
One bad chord in a sequence interrupts the progression.
One beat, out of time, disturbs the rhythm.
Once the rhythm is lost, the composition is set adrift from its unfolding in time.
Time continues but the composition is apart from it.
We live, voluntarily, in the basement.
But, for us to move upstairs, someone has to pay the rent.
Any choice we make to escape our debts, to dishonour our obligation, blocks the bridge over which we return to the whole.
This is a dis-integration.
The aim of addressing obligations that have not been honoured is that we may re-integrate with the whole: at-one-ment.
Atonement is the gift to us within the act of redemption.
When a Good Friend pays my debt, and releases me from the repercussions and weight of that debt, I am free to work and acquire something of my own.
When I have a little in the bank, perhaps I may pick up the tab for someone else.
In paying their debts, I settle my own.
July 15th. 1994
(Revised: Monday 2nd. September, 2013).