Major jet lag among the team. And the news that Bob has taken ill—too ill even to meet with us yesterday—has me concerned. But I have been preaching to the team since before we got here that when ministering to the Italians, “you have to be flexible.”
We are taken to Crista E La Risposta (Christ is the Answer) ministries where we will perform our first concert under the tent. I posted a blog last year on this amazing ministry, which is a small community of Christians that functions under very spartan conditions and has a large circus tent big top. Internally, I am a little worried that we haven’t played a single note together, yet in less than eight hours, we are to put on a concert as a band. But I keep my anxieties to myself.
It was my job to select the music for the Piazza Team. Based on the suggestions of some of our host pastors, I decided to select some rock classics with spiritual messages (e.g., “Jesus is Just All Right” by the Doobies, or “Free Ride” by Edgar Winter Group), and augment that with fun, up tempo songs written by the team members themselves. This allows us to grab people’s attentions, as well as model mutual support and diversity among our team. I think it also allows the talents of our team to show off. I feel quite blessed to be a part of such a talented group.
Six hours later, we have rehearsed five songs. Complications in set up, as well as the obligatory long Italian lunch, have slowed us down. It will have to do. Bob shows up, miraculously well and infectiously optimistic. We play the concert to about a hundred people, then gorge ourselves once more with a post-concert dinner. There were definitely more than a few boffs and miscues during the performance, but the worship was real and the people seemed to respond.
As I reflect on it now, it is a good opportunity to internally exercise my spiritual formation mantra: To be passionate and dedicated to a thing while letting go of the results of that thing. In other words, I need to be able to give myself fully to a mission and a vision, but not attach my identity to the successes or failures of that mission. I think I am able to shrug off the personal disappointment. Plus, there is tomorrow, an important outreach concert at a Piazza close to the Torraccia church. Ive called for a morning rehearsal. I think we will be okay.
Fun Facts: (1) The Piazza Team has decided to call our band, “What About Bob?” Baby steps, baby steps… (2) There is this weird red soda called “ginger” that they keep serving us before meals. It is supposed to help your appetite. Actually it makes you want to gag.
Photos: Above photo is a rehearsal at the big tent at Crista E La Risposta, with Brandon Bee, a producer and recording artist out of the Seattle area in the foreground. I’m in the middle whispering music jokes to Bob Kilpatrick. Bottom photo is lunch at the tent.