CBF Field Personnel / Missions / offering for global missions

Cultivating Beloved Community: Collaborative Expression

CBF field personnel, Jonathan Bailey is a musician. He plays the cello. Though he is not a professional musician, music has been an integral part of Jonathan’s life. 

Recently Jonathan reflected on the opening lines to Robert Frost’s poem, “Mending Wall.”.

“Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun’
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.”

Jonathan notes human nature’s proclivity to erecting barriers. Barriers guard or protect or hide. 

Following a sojourn in the states due to COVID shut-own, Jonathan and his wife, Tina, returned to Bali. Over the past 15 years in Bali, Jonathan learned and played a new instrument, the Balinese gamelan. The cello he notes is a gorgeous solo instrument, but nothing prepared him for the social aspect of playing music in the Balinese culture. 

Playing the Balinese gamelan produces a sense of connectedness and collaborative expression that is a significant part of Balinese music. It is the sense of being one with a group in playing and in being together. There is bonding that occurs through the music. It is connecting and building community through music. 

The pandemic meant that gamelan musicians could not come together and play. They missed this specific way of expressing themselves and being in beloved community with others while sharing music with each other. Jonathan explains that making music together is a force that opposes walls. The key word is “together.” 

As Frost said, “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall.” 

Because Jonathan was present to the musicians in the gamelan orchestra, he was able to join them in expressing beloved community through music. Because presence matters!

“And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10: 24-25, NRSV)

Join Cooperative Baptists around the world this week during the Offering for Global Missions Week of Prayer. Learn more and find resources to pray throughout the week at www.cbf.net/ogmpray

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