At a concert hall in Portland, Oregon, the first clue that there might be more to John Doan than pleasant melodies was the quote from Jeremiah 6:16 in his "Celtic Pilgrimage" concert program: "Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls." Jeremiah (prophet before the destruction of Jerusalem, 586 B.C.)
Doan appeared on stage in black pants and a loose hand-woven smock. He opened the concert by contrasting the technological world with the serenity he had experienced on his pilgrimage to the Celtic Isles. Our lives are so full of noise—television, radio, cd players, video games—that we rarely stop to think about matters of the spirit.
Introducing his first few pieces, Doan told engaging stories (gleaned from his travels) about Saint Patrick, the lost tribes of Israel, and the stone on which Jacob laid his head. The themes were enchanting, decidedly spiritual, even Christian, but not explicitly so. Leading up to his fourth piece, "Wake—Waiting for the Dawn," Doan spoke of the wisdom of Ireland's druid priests.
But Doan went on to explain that in the fifth century, two druid priests had predicted the coming of a teaching, a kingdom, that would overthrow their way of life, destroy the people's gods, and endure forever. Soon after, Saint Patrick began his Christian mission to the Irish, ushering in the golden age of Ireland's history—a time of relative peace, when the arts, scholarship, and especially Christian faith provided a light in a dark age.
Doan wondered aloud what the druids would have done if they had known that the end of their era was at hand. His conclusion: They would have done what the Irish do today when someone comes ...1
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