Malaysia / Sri Lanka 2012 - Love Over Everything.
No one's attention span is long enough for me to report all my findings and lessons learned from my trip to Malaysia and Sri Lanka a few weeks ago. It has taken me a bit of time to allow the deep truths of God to permeate fully into my Soul and Spirit. Brief Background: I (Jeevo) was invited to perform at the Sri Lanka Unites Conference held in my birthplace - Jaffna, Sri Lanka. This was the first of its kind in Jaffna - a revolutionary idea and bold initiative that is sparking social and political change in my war-torn country. Controversial? Yes. But so is everything that is worth fighting for. On route to Jaffna, I had the honor of performing in Malaysia at my Pastor's home church, where he goes once a year to train leaders and minister to literally thousands of people. I basically went so I could take notes and be a fly on the wall :-) What an honor it was for me.
Nothing fills my heart with more joy than seeing people love God wrecklessly - and unapologetically. You mix that with music, and the joy becomes irrationally uncontainable. You add a dose of "it doesn't have to look like a certain way" mixed with "God is bigger than conventional and cultural boxes," and now you are getting weeping joy. The kind of joy that explodes from your core and meets the world's greatest needs.
In certain settings I got to run workshops in Sri Lanka. I performed in Jaffna as well as the Capital of Sri Lanka - Colombo. I spoke to the youth, I spoke to leaders. I had dinners and meals with people from all over the world. In Malaysia, I got a taste of what true servant leadership looks like. I got to see what a dynamic move of the Holy Spirit truly looks like. If you are not Christian, message me and we can talk about what the Holy Spirit is. You may even experience it while reading this post and when my 4th album comes out :-)
Jeevo was being asked to perform. People were expecting Jeevo - but what seemed to be more important than Jeevo was Rajeev. The music was great, but much to my dismay, the vessel seemed to be more important. I got glimpses into how I must be with regards to my music - something that I have known years ago, but only have been putting into practice in the last 3 years. Artists like to hide behind their music and be so artsy that they forget who they really are. They like to say whatever they want and tell everyone to deal with it in the name of art. I do not agree with this. I have another understanding of music.
On Zer0 & 1ne, I have a song called "Coming Home." It is about the racial issues in Sri Lanka and about forgiveness. Strangely enough, I wrote a line in there that had nothing to do really with the song - "I'm not an artist who really needs his craft / Music ain't my therapy, that's why my songs last." In the most important song that I wrote for my country, I had to for some odd reason make it known that I don't need music or need to be a musician. Three years later, I realize why. I went to my country, and realized that God was more interested in using me, than my music. People were more drawn to Rajeev, than towards Rajeev's music. In some ways, this makes me genuinely question whether I should be doing music, and whether it's even necessary. Afterall, if I'm more effective than the songs, what is the point?
The formation of the vessel is God's way. We can either decide to believe it, or fight for our crafts or our strengths in an unhealthy way. I realize now more than ever, that I must stand in front of my music. In many ways, my music does not speak for itself. I must speak for it, and it's not a bad thing for my personhood to be more impressive than my art. Many of you are chasing excellence, but you are forgetting that the brightest point of your excellence must be yourself. If what you do is better than who you are, then you should quit. If you have to look to your craft or the thing you do to show people your best face, then you are ugly. You are covering up your ugliness with your gift. We must become people who are willing to wear whatever shoes will do the job. Whatever shoes fit for you to execute your highest calling is what you must be willing to do. America is so obsessed with fulfilling dreams and feeling "job satisfaction." How come morality is so low here, but success is so high? In my book, this generation is failing because we do not push excellence of character or excellence of love. We only push excellence of vocation. What a miserable situation we have found ourselves in, and put our children and loved ones in.
In Malaysia and Sri Lanka, love won. Love always wins. The thing about love that is different from everything else, is its duration. It never ends. Great music, great art, great sermons, great achievements - these things all come to an end. These things are all partial - they are not complete. Ask any real musician if they ever feel like their song is finished. But Love never ends (1 Corinthians 13:8). The force of love trumps your gift. Love trumps everything. Love is your calling. Love gives you the ability to throw away your dreams and desires so that the world can be loved more. Love makes you change your ugliness into something beautiful. Love makes people more important than your supposed calling. Love makes your calling to be loved, and to give radical forms of it.
If it is Rajeev you want, then it is Rajeev that you will get. But Rajeev comes with Jeevo :-) The revolution always comes with songs. May we be vessels formed in deep love, for deep purposes - Peace, and much love to you - Jeevo.