Our pal Jenny Snipstead lead the music this past weekend, and she graced us with an original song. Enjoy!
We are the house where you will dwell
So build it strong and build it well
Let your light pour from our windows
Let the weak walk through our doors
Help us to love each other, better than before
Cause in your house-the hungry will be fed
And In your house I can always find a friend
The thirsty will drink deep And weary eyes will sleep
The outcast shares a table with the King
In your house
Build our foundation on what’s true
Your perfect love will be the glue
Build the pillars tall and mighty
We don’t want to build in vain
You say the one who trusts in you is never put to shame
‘Cause in your house the lonely are brought near
And in your house there’s nothing I should fear
Our hearts will be made strong
Cause we know where we belong
The door is open wide to all who come
To your house
Cause in your house-the hungry will be fed
And In your house
I can always find a friend
The thirsty will drink deep
And weary eyes will sleep
The outcasts shares a table with the King
In your house
Scripture was Acts 17:1-9, and the theme was How does the truth of the gospel change the cultural rules of engagement? Paul goes to Athens and does his thing, the thing he finds necessary based on his reading of the Gospel, and it doesn't go over well with the natives. The second half of our musical/liturgical portion was in keeping with that theme (hence Neil Young questioning how we should be conceiving of God and the prayer about failing to love like Jesus), but for the first part I decided to flip the question to How does the truth of the gospel change? A very interesting question indeed. We started by singing some songs that in the Church's history have been very popular, and then we did a confession in light of the fact that we have very clearly gotten it wrong very often. The songs are pretty thoroughly offensive so I'm not even dignifying them with a post; you can click through if need be.
The Lord's Army here
Onward, Christian Soldiers here
Lead On, O King Eternal here
The fuller explanation is here
We sponsored/supported an Artwalk in the local community a few weeks ago - by all accounts a resounding success - and we're going to do a reflection. So I suppose the theme is the arts, in which case I'm at a loss as to what songs to utilize, at least with regard to hymns or typical "worship" fare. So here's the plan: Beautiful Things by Gungor mashed with the chorus of I Am Nothing Without Love by Nate Reuss. Play them both straight, skip the loud part of Beautiful Things (totally unnecessary in my opinion), and just revel in how God takes what we have and what we are and puts it to good use and calls us to do the same.
Speaking of art, Degas was born on this day in 1834. Thank God for Degas.
Our text today was Acts 10:34-48, where the Spirit further widens its reach. The theme was: limiting our expectations on God serves to make God more manageable in our lives. We also continued our over and above focus on race. The two themes were loosely connected by the sermon and the words of institution, but mostly I focused on the latter. Which made for a bunch of fun mashup songs.
Yahweh by U2. I swapped the chorus for the chorus of Like an Avalanche, the idea being that as God changes us, redeems us, works on us, God does so in an entirely grace-filled manner. At the end we sang just the middle section of Give Us Clean Hands, the part that says “Give us clean hands, give us pure hearts, let us not lift our souls to another.”
Blowin in the Wind by Bob Dylan, which I ended (again) with Give Us Clean Hands. This came after a dance that included, among many other things, a long (and partial) list of the recent victims of violence against African-Americans. What other response could there be besides Dylan’s rhetorical questions? This is a case in which the “secular” utterly outdoes the “sacred”.
Elvis Costello’s Peace Love Understanding, which I think was written by Nick Lowe but I’m too lazy to check at the moment. Following each of the choruses I mixed in the chorus from the still-yet-to-be-decently-recorded version of Lord, Make Us Instruments of Your Peace. And, of course, ended it with that smidge of Give Us Clean Hands. Followed by a big old prayer from someone named Barbara Blossom.
We're doing a 4-week-long over and above, except instead of donating money to a certain cause we're giving extra attention to the issue of race in America & American churches, specifically focusing on the African-American community in light of the recent events in Charleston. So the first half of the service was varied and lengthy: we sang 3 songs, had 3 readings, had a ritual with candles, followed by 2 more songs, and finished with a confession.
When God Made Me, from Neil Young, followed by Rich & Poor, from Robbie Seay, followed by one I wrote called Fill Us. Then the quotes:
The ritual involved this picture. For each of the 9 names read there was a brief biography, and a candle was blown out. Then the 9 candles were re-lit as 9 passages from Scripture were read that relate in some way to resurrection.
We then sang We Shall Overcome, by Pete Seeger, followed by Create In Me, by Keith Green. As a close, we sang "We'll BE overcome" before reciting this confession together.
I'm generally not a fan of recent worship music contributions, but this one's fine. I'm not sure what they mean by "You surround me with a song of deliverance from my enemies", so I've told myself a story about how it refers to the author's drug habit, which he's trying to kick, and therefore deliverance from that enemy is very much something to sing about (like I said, I'm making this up, in order to make such a lyric palatable). That's all beside the point actually, because we only sang the chorus of the song, which I find extremely compelling. "I'm no longer a slave to fear; I am a child of God."
I changed the word fear to as many other "enemies" and things to create or sustain bondage that I could think of. So it went like this:
Prior to singing this song, we had a moment of reflection on this prayer. This is one I use pretty regularly, as I find it to be one of the more compelling and provocative statements one can make about the body of Christ.