Tourists and Pilgrims

What is the difference between a tourist and a pilgrim?

In England, I felt like both a tourist and a pilgrim. In my opinion, a tourist is someone who is just going somewhere for fun. I was mainly in England for a pilgrimage because our church choir was in residence at the Bristol Cathedral. For most of the trip, I would be exploring places that were quite foreign to me.

The pilgrimage began on July 31st, but my family arrived two days early in order to get used to the time difference. Those two days are the days I felt much more like a tourist then a pilgrim. All we did the first day was walk around London and I was able to see some of London’s most well-known attractions. They included Big Ben, the London Eye, and WestMinster. We even got to see a guard, which is what originally made me interested in going to London in the first place.

It wasn’t until the second day I started to get something more  out of the trip. It felt like my family truly got to do something. We spent the morning at Platform 9 3/4 quarters at King’s Cross Station. After that, my family headed over to Paddington Station for some exploring.

In fact, the best part of that trip happened the night of July 30th. My mom took me to the West End to see Les Mis, which was a dream come true. That night I only had one understudy for Valjean. The moment the show began, I knew it was more then excepted. The way the opening notes affected me was how I knew that I was in for a treat. Throughout the entire show, I felt a ton of positive and negative emotions. Les Mis is just that kind of musical that gets better each time you see it. It speaks deeply in your soul and heart and there are no words to describe the emotional impact. The show is so heartbreaking, but so inspirational at the same time. The acting was brilliant from the ensemble to the leads. I even got to meet the actor who played Valjean at the Stage Door and he signed a my playbill and mom took a picture.

As far as being a pilgrim goes, they search for something deeper then a tourist. Because most of the trip was a pilgrimage, I knew that I would be going on a spiritual journey. It made perfect sense that I saw Les Mis the day before the pilgrimage began because both are spiritual journeys.

Moments that stand out in the pilgrimage are Windsor Castle, Berkeley Castle, Chepstow Castle, Tintern Abbey, 10 church services at Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral,  and ultimately Bristol Cathedral, and Stonehenge. Stonehenge was the Mountain-Top moment of the pilgrimage. The moment I got there, I could feel the sacredness of that place due to the atmosphere, which had dark clouds circling around it with lots of wind. Seeing services at Bristol Cathedral were the best because it was our church choir singing there. It wasn’t until the final Evensong that I realized just how transforming the trip was.

It was none of the things that we did that was the best part of being a pilgrim. It was the fellowship among the 72 pilgrims had for each other because it added meaning to each of the things that we did. Even today, I can still feel the same fellowship when I am church.

In your opinion, what is the difference between a pilgrim and a tourist?

Below are links that reflect this post

Spirituality of Bristol Pilgrimage

Mirror Characters of Les Mis

“I Dreamed a Dream”

Tourist

My Thoughts on Hamilton

I recently read a blog post titled “7 reasons to love Hamilton”. The link to the post is listed below.

https://readingturtleduck.wordpress.com/2016/05/30/reasons-to-love-hamilton/

I first heard about Hamilton around the same time it gained all the hype. Here are my thoughts about what I heard so far. As far as the basic plot goes, it does sound like a good idea considering it is about one of our founding fathers.

But I feel a bit unsure about the music in Hamilton. The score is hip-hop and rap and the problem with that is I have never been interested in that kind of music. How can a score dealing with hip-hop and rap fit in the musical world? When it comes to musicals, I can be quite protective of the songs. The songs are what usually make me decide whether or not I love the musical. I have heard other musical scores that have a collection of other songs that are different then the typical musical score, but they do feel like they belong in the musical collection. These are scores such as “Les Mis” or “Phantom”, but they do work for musicals.

I am still trying to visualize how hip-hop or rap can fit into the musical universe? I in fact have listened to some of the music. Some of the songs sound like they belong in the musical world while others don’t. So far, only the non hip-hop and rap songs seem to work. I do understand that musicals must have an emotional connection. I heard from others that the hip-hop and rap songs make more since once you see the show live.

While I agree with things that the article said, I still do not know weather or not I should see Hamilton or not. In fact, I can understand the hype around Hamilton. That is because it represents diversity and is about one of our founding fathers. I think it also appeals to a younger audience due to the music. I think Hamilton has proved to be a groundbreaking musical because it is dealing with a type of music that a musical has never experienced.

What your thoughts on the whole hip-hop/ rap concept on Hamilton?

 

Power of Love

Love is patient

Love is kind

Love never fails

Now these three remains: faith, hope, and love.

But the greatest of these is love

-1 Corinthians 13

These are sections taken from 1 Corinthians 13. Love is the most powerful gift of all. It is what allows us to show humanity. It allows us to accept us for who we are. God gave us the ability to love others. He wants us to love each other and show compassion. We feel the need to love others, but at the same time want to feel loved back. The more love we show, the better the world becomes. Love guides us each and every day no matter what. Even though yes God is the one who guides us, love is the key to heading in the right direction.

The most interesting thing about love is how layered and complex it is. There are different kinds of love, but each has their benefits.

 

The Bishop Analysis

Possible Spoilers:

The Bishop in Les Mis plays a huge part in the journey of Jean Valjean. Without him, this musical would not be what it is today. When Valjean was released from prison, the Bishop was the only one who showed Valjean any kindness. He welcomed Valjean into his house and provided him with food and a bed. But despite the Bishop’s kindness, Valjean woke up in the middle of the night and stole the Bishop’s silver. Valjean was caught by the police and was sent back to the police. The Bishop covered up for Valjean and told the police that he gave Valjean the silver. Valjean was surprised by that the Bishop lied.

The Bishop was able to forgive Valjean. He was able to teach Valjean the ways of the Lord. The Bishop showed Valjean compassion.  The Bishop told Valjean to use the silver to become an honest man. On top of the silver, the Bishop gave Valjean two candlesticks. These candlesticks would serve as a representation of the Bishop. It would allow Valjean to live by the words of the Bishop. Right after the Bishops’ act of kindness, Valjean realized that he was capable of changing despite how society was treating him. He realized he would not get very far in life if he kept on acting like a man full of hate. Without the Bishop, Valjean would never have been able to change.

In fact, the whole Bishop scene is the first time that spirituality enters the musical. This show may be a tragedy, but it does have an inspirational side to it. Because the Bishop scene enters early on, it gives us a hint that there is going to be spirituality for the show. These scene talks about compassion, forgiveness, and redemption. Some of the show’s central themes are shown throughout this scene. So never think the Bishop has no importance to the storyline.

 

“Be still and know that I am God”

This is from Psalm 46 verse 10.

This is hard line of scripture to understand. It takes a while to understand who God is. You never see him, but yet you can feel his presence. Having God in my life is such a blessing because He helps me become who I am. God created us in his image and formed all creation. He has this amazing capacity full of love, forgiveness, compassion, and redemption. I may be spiritually strong, but I still feel like I am still getting to know God. I feel like there are always ways to get to know God better.

I have my ways to connect to him. I love listening and singing to contemporary Christian music. The connection is the strongest when I am singing Christian music because I feel like I am filled with the Holy Spirit. Christian music is full of so much inspiration, spirit, and emotion.

Another way I can connect to Christ is through nature itself. The best place where I can feel God’s presence in nature is the mountains. That is why I love hiking so much. Going up the view, you are surrounded by God’s creation and along the way you can hear animals and sometimes a brook, creek, or waterfall. Once you reach the top, you can look at the view and you feel impressed by all that God has created. Sometimes it feels like you can look beyond what you can see.

Volunteering is another way I am able to connect to God. I feel as if I am called to give back to those living in poverty and homelessness. My spirit always seems to lead me in the direction of nonprofit. I know that I meant to work in nonprofit. When I volunteer, I get something out of it when I see the looks on the people’s faces that I am helping. To know that I have left an impact on someone else’s life is all that really matters.

So, what are ways that you connect to God?

 

 

Twists and Turns about Musicals

The link below is a blog I wrote about the things that were quite unexpected when it comes to musicals. I have been around musicals since elementary school and I ended up developing a preconceived notion about them. I truly believed that all musicals had to be comedies and had to have some kind of dance or spectacle. I also wanted to connect to the material as well. Whenever it comes to a musical, I always look at the songs before I look at the plot. For me as long as I love the songs, I end up loving the musical. Now in my college years, musicals have changed into something I never imagined them to be. The link below explains more about that.

Surprising Things about Musicals

It can be hard when musicals change so unexpectedly. Those changes can confuse you at first, but eventually you learn the value of them. All because of one gigantic change, the emotional world has gotten so much stronger. I am now able to analyze musicals at a deeper way then before. I have now fully realized how important it is for a musical to have the positive and negative emotions. The link below is another blog I posted. It is dealing with what I think is the core of musicals.

The Core of Musicals

Prophecy

Voyage of Life

Dear Readers,

I blog for two different audiences. I like to blog to those who love musicals and those who are spiritual. The two hardly overlap, but they both have awe and wonder in them. I hope my blog inspires everyone who reads it. The things I blog about are meaningful to me. I am a spatially strong person who extremely loves musicals.

The thing about life is you have no idea how it is going to turn out. You don’t know what kind of journeys you will have. You don’t know who will be a part of this voyage. Part of your life is determined by God and the rest by yourself. I had quite a voyage so far, which has surprised me in unexpected, but wonderful ways. You never know which path your voyage will end up. But remember, your voyage is what you make of it.

I was raised to be a Christian and that helps my voyage a lot. Trusting in the Lord makes life so much easier, even though yes it still will be challenging. I even was able to develop a strong love for contemporary Christian music. That love came from just one very special place.That place was Kanuga, an Episcopalian Conference Center, in the mountains. Through Kanuga, I learned that there is a God. But the most transforming part of Kanuga was Winterlight, a high school youth conference, that I did for two years. Through that event, my interest in Christian music turned into a love for that kind of music. Singing and listening to the kind of music just fills my heart with my Holy Spirit and I just feel so connected to Christ.  Just last year, I went on my first pilgrimage to England. Linked below is a summary of my pilgrimage to Bristol.

Spirituality of Bristol Pilgrimage

My life also has consisted of going to musicals. Growing up, I developed this interest for musicals. When I was in elementary school, I saw musicals such as Cats, Lion King,  and Beauty and the Beast live. But I also was exposed to musicals through movies such as Aladdin, Sound of Music, and Annie. But when I saw Wicked on Broadway in 2006, the show sparked my love for musicals. It made musicals head in the right direction to eventually turn into a passion. The real passion for musicals really came from 2012 when I first watched the movie musical of Les Mis. I later would develop an obsession for that inspirational musical, which would led me to seeing the stage show and the 25th anniversary concert. The first time I saw the stage show of Les Mis was in 2013 at my community college. But the first professional performance I saw of it was in London and I truly experienced the true power of the musical. Linked below is a description of what I believe musicals to be capable of.

Musical Capability

Voyage