I think I still get chills every time I read these words…a poem…a liturgy of sorts that Mark Pierson included in his book The Art of Curating Worship. My favorite portion of the poem is below, but check out this post for the entire thing. It’s worth it!
We often forget the story which came to us,
Preferring order to uncertainty;
Orthodoxy to love,
And religious piety to unmerited grace
Come to us again, Lord Jesus,
And whisper your words of welcome;
Fill our hearts with reckless wonder,
And our minds with splendid nonsense
Awake in us the dream of the kingdom;
Resurrect our dead and perished visions;
Alert us to the heaven in our midst;
And quicken us to laugh and love
“I hate, I despise your religious feasts; I cannot stand your assemblies. Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” – Amos 5:21-24
It was almost a year ago that I remember actually hearing that passage for the first time. God messed with my head that March 4th in Nashville when Paul Briney, who I am now honored to call a friend, shared that passage of Scripture. That was the spark that lit the fire that eventually took me away from Appleton and brought me to Nashville.
You can read the rest of the post here. Love looking back on memories like this one. :)
I have had more than one conversation about the very idea of “enhancing the Gospel” in the last week and it’s got me thinking about it again. Couldn’t help but bring back this post today for throwback Sunday.
Using the word “enhance” makes it seem as though we think the Gospel is insufficient or ineffective on it’s own, or that it’s just not quite good enough. Personally, I think the Gospel works in spite of us and the way we communicate its message.
Now I’m not convinced that the above is really what we mean when we use phrases like “to enhance the Gospel.” But, I think if we’re not careful, very quickly the words we use to describe what we’re doing will become the focus of what we’re doing. Meaning, even if we don’t believe we can enhance the Gospel but we continue to use that wording we will eventually get to the point where at least part of us believes that is indeed what we are doing through our creative efforts.
You can read the rest of the post here. I would love to hear your thoughts on the topic!
Just a note: I’m really loving this Throwback Sundays series because it’s like a virtual conversation over a good cup of coffee reminiscing about what was but in doing so always dreaming of what will be. And that is one of my favorite things in life.
On with this week’s post. This Sunday is still one of the most memorable Sundays in recent memory for me. Technology failed miserably that night, but worship went on without it. And for me as a visual worship leader being forcibly pushed over the cliff of visual silence and realizing it wasn’t nearly as scary as one would think made me more willing to walk over that cliff on my own.
And I always appreciate when God gently reminds me that He’s bigger than any light, any camera, any projector, or any microphone. He is God. And He has blessed us with those tools but He doesn’t need them and neither do we.
Have you ever experienced a major tech fail during worship? What was the result?
I’ll be honest, I’m 100% guilty of too often not dying to my artistic pride. I too often sit in judgement of people I deem as not “getting it.” I can be overly critical. I can analyze and pick apart for hours on end. My friends know not to ask me to filter something unless they want an honest critique.
Now, I recognize that questioning and analyzing to some degree is a healthy practice. But, too many times I take it to an unhealthy extreme. And in doing so I think I end up doing just as much damage, if not more, to the Church as those I am criticizing for hurting the Church…or maybe just the perception of the Church in the world (that could be a whole separate post…can we really hurt the Church anyway?)
If I’ve learned anything in the last couple of years it’s that there isn’t one “right way” to do most things in the Church and corporate worship. I’ve learned that a whole lot of it is personal preference. And in the end a whole lot of it doesn’t really matter anyway. I’m learning which hills to die on…and to die in service and humility, not because of artistic pride.
So, tell me, do you often lose the battle with your artistic pride too or am I the only one?
I mentioned in a post the other day that I’ve been struggling lately with corporate worship. Corporate worship settings often aren’t the place where I worship with complete abandon. They aren’t often the places where I am left in complete awe & wonder of God and my heart is without words as I consider His power and glory. Honestly, over the last several months I feel like I’ve had more powerful moments of worship driving down the road in my car. Something about this bothers me. Maybe it should, maybe it shouldn’t, but it does. I want to be able to worship completely and authentically with other believers on a Sunday morning.
For too long I’ve sat and blamed this fact on churches. I criticize what I see as “high production.” I get frustrated with the “noise” I feel some churches create. All the while I’m forgetting that there are hundreds of thousands of people who are worshipping with complete abandon in the very settings that I’m criticizing.
A couple of weeks ago the lightbulb went on…
Maybe it’s not so much the particular church or the worship setting or style that’s the problem…maybe it’s me.
I think oftentimes we get so busy critiquing or looking for an opportunity to throw punches from the sidelines that we don’t give our hearts a chance to simply worship. I know that’s been the case for me recently. The solution isn’t changing every church and corporate worship gathering in America to be what I think it should be. The solution is adjusting my focus and the mindset of my heart when I walk into those places to worship.