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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Thursday, March 25, 2004
    Improvisation
     


    It's precisely four years on from our experimental jazz celebration of the Annunciation at Ridley Hall. Our Cafe Emmaus broke the mould; Elizabeth Jennings' words (above) inspired us; as did the testimony of a number of women in our community who shared what they'd felt the moment they heard that they were pregnant; as did the music of Pharoah Sanders; as did Janet Morley's And you held me (from All Desires Known); as did this picture of The Annunciation by Noelle Zeltzman.


    Today, far from ground-breaking experimentation I stumbled into a new phase of life. Served probably the least-well prepared, unsatisfactory communions of my brief 'career'. It was all light and energy then; now, it feels awkward and messy. The only similarity - that Cafe Emmaus was all about improvisation. That's what jazz musicians do; that's what Mary had to do, an ordinary girl astonished by the angel's message. And that's what I'll be doing for quite a while, it seems. Perhaps that's no bad thing ...