Hushed tones to fully rounded ones implored the heavens for peace and justice: Like the balm of Gilead, rare perfume used medicinally in biblical times, harmonies seeped into the marrow of our bones and quieted our spirits. Late afternoon shadows dulled the art glass windows of Westminster Presbyterian Church (1882) that surrounded us.

In the sanctuary, fifteen members of the Missouri Women’s Chorus wearing black tops and pants followed the direction of Scott Schoonover in a selection of contemporary compositions from America, UK, Brazil, South Africa, Italy, Canada, and Norway. A moving template of the human family sharing our scarred existence in loving compassion stirred through the audience: Underscored was the plea to listen to each other, a daunting task disciplined by humility and honesty. Such purification rains down peace and justice from the Sacred and obliterates violence.

A praxis for peacemaking further enhanced the performance. St. Martha’s Hall, a shelter for abused women and their children, received donations of food, notions, and clothing from the audience.

And Christine Brewer sat among us.

While I was returning to the parking lot, supported by my cane, I noticed an abandoned two-story office building on the northeast corner of Delmar and Union Boulevards. I shuddered. The space had once housed enterprises whose signage had advertised human endeavors of varied stripes. Gone were the former tenants—My circumstances crowded upon me.