In our work, we often use the word and concept of reconciliation. True reconciliation is pretty scary though. It suggests risk, vulnerability and a search for truth; a willingness to know and be known. No matter how many times I read the story of Jacob and Esau's reunion, I am overjoyed by their emotional meeting. It encourages me to think that such a reunion may occur in Iraq, both small- and large-scale. "No way," you say. "Lembke, you pipe dreamer ... you myopic, naïve, optimist."
Well, I took my Jacob-and-Esau motivated naiveté into the studio this past week to record some encouragement under the title New Dawn Songs, with fellow musicians and technicians. Most of the songs aren't new (I've written them over the last 10 years), but the tempos, style and intent are fresh. Our title song, "New Dawn," will become a music video, with footage of good things going on in Iraq: schools, soccer fields, business ventures and other things that express hope for Iraq through music.
Song titles include "Roots," "Listen to the Lord," "Remember," "Stay in the Ring" and a new offering, "Grace-full Person." I'll be working with a new acquaintance, Canon Andrew White of St. Georges' in Baghdad, the church's youth group, and the conductor of the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra to have "New Dawn" translated into Arabic and recorded for Iraq radio.
In the story of the reunion between Jacob and Esau, there is a wrestling match Jacob goes through the night before, the uncertainty of the meeting and then, finally, the joyful reunion. It's a precarious story, clouded in wonderment and fear, right up until the moment when the brothers embrace. I suppose it's like that here in Iraq. There is great uncertainty. The specter of the unknown looms large and expectations aren't high for positive outcomes.
I am reminded in his reflection of the risk of reconciliation and the wonderful joy that is accomplished through it.