This summer I studied abroad at Oxford through the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities. This was one of the many moments I encountered new and diverse people and learned lessons about showing God’s love in unexpected situations.
“Play me, I’m yours” slants across the side of it, white on wood.
It is chain-bolted to the cement floor of Liverpool Station. London sunshine points through the window frames at a cluster of seven singers staring.
“There it is. Finally, after two hours of tube hopping… we found one.”
The stool bleats as a childlike woman pulls up, accompanied by a black-bearded man wearing a cross.
They negotiate with their fingers as they skip down the ivories, finally deciding to perform ‘Where is the Love?’
Towards the end of the second chorus, a new voice warbles over all of the others. It is the sound of Broadway.
Broadway is a middle-aged blonde man with a gaping pearly smile who props his elbow on the edge of the piano top, leaning into the next line: “Father, Father, Father help us; need some guidance from above…”
The seven voices snuff out. He beams; he embodies charisma.
“The name’s David.” He asks a few questions. They ask a few more.
“Music is my life. Sang on Broadway ten years ago. Got the lead for ‘Singing in the Rain,’ I did. Best time of my life; I’ll never forget the lights. Now I’m a choreographer in California.” Awe answered him. “Mind if I join your little chorus group?”
After a few rounds of jazzy runs, the jam session stutters towards its conclusion. David breaks away from the piano ledge, gesturing towards another middle-aged man wearing a fixed disinterest in the chorus of twenty-somethings and a duffel bag.
“This,” he shares with the group, “is my boyfriend.”
The group waves, smiles nervously and skips a heart-beat.
“How about another go?”
One-by-one they turn their heads just barely, to notice that across the hall David’s boyfriend’s shoulders are shaking. He keeps glancing towards their self-conscious little flock, holding back sobs, his face wet.
David explains: “He’s crying because he is happy for me.”
He held back his own tears behind the crinkle of his cheeks, still smiling.
“Three days ago, my cousin died in a freak car accident. That’s why we’re here; we’re on our way to the funeral. It’s tomorrow morning.”
“He’s crying because he knows that for three whole days, I’ve not been able to smile. Laugh. Even listen to a tune; it just hurt. Living for anything hurt.”
“But you all—thank God for you. Hearing your singing, remembering my love of music, I felt joy again! Singing with you has given me the courage to face tomorrow with a smile on my face, and know that everything is going to be okay.”
The group feels an invisible fog suspended in that hall, heavy on their chests with conviction. With compassion.
“We’ll be praying for you both,” the man with the black beard offers, “while you’re at the funeral.”
“God bless you, thank you all so much!” David answered. With tears padded back, his boyfriend simply mouthed his thanks. The cluster of seven later walk soberly back to the Tube station.
The men unexpectedly found the love they were singing for through the compassion of their Christ-like audience.