While at least some humans have passed beyond the barbaric ritual of stoning religious adversaries to death, the concept was resurrected among members of the Island Community Chorus these past three months as we rehearsed with Peter Boak and Garrett Brown for the spring concert.
The chorus, along with soloists and a full orchestra, last weekend completed two powerful performances of Felix Mendelssohn’s St. Paul at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School Performing Arts Center. Audience response has been enthusiastically positive, and chorus members now have the music and Biblical lyrics reverberating madly through their heads.
This performer feels compelled to explain how she became inspired to sing the dreadful words, “Stone Him to Death!” with full lungs and gusto thereby effectively murdering God’s blasphemers, in words if not deeds.
For one who is not a mosque, sanga, temple, or church member, who is a free thinker and something of a scientist, I tend to feel more aligned with the heathen who will “surely perish” in the verses of St. Paul. If I must have a God, she is Gaia, our planet/mother nature.
A segment of the alto section put their discomfited heads together to decide who the 21st century blasphemers truly are. Who is to blame as Gaia now smites us with plagues, floods, whirlwinds, earthquakes and famines?
One of us had met the chief executive officer of the Monsanto chemical corporation. I dare not mention the full name here, any more than our ancients dared speak of Lucifer, lest that CEO send his legions of lawyers down upon me. He sues organic farmers who have suffered the spread of his GMO crops into their fields thereby robbing them of their purity. He sues as they have not paid for his seed.
Our group of free-thinking altos agreed that Monsanto, along with all the other corporations that despoil our globe, would suffer the fury of our verbal stones. Boy, did that concept lend gusto to our vocal delivery. We began to relish those dreadful lyrics as a way of venting our anger against capitalist evils in general.
Alert! As the musical score of St. Paul continues to beat the cadence in our heads, at any moment we are likely to burst out in song. In the post office parking lot you may hear one of us bellow, “Stone him to death, stone him to death, sto – oh — oh — oh- one him to death!”
This is a cry for our mother Gaia, the environment, sanity.
And the blasphemers shout:
“Mine is the power!”
Joan Ames is a resident of West Tisbury.