12.October.2014, #265

Started with a great medley of I Will Offer Up My Life + I Surrender All + the chorus of Orange Sky + a pass of the first verse of My Jesus, I Love Thee.  If you start out with the groove from Orange Sky you can make it through all 4 songs in succession.  Fair warning: they're noticeably slower; but it's actually pretty great.

Then we closed with this reflection/prayer...

How holy and wonderful are you, O God of Mercy and Justice. From the beginning, your excessive love created the universe and fashioned us in your own image and likeness. When sin scarred the beauty of your handiwork and ingratitude weakened the pulse of history, you did not give up on us. Rather, in Jesus of Nazareth, you worked the marvel of a new creation, giving us life in abundance.
In an outpouring of service, Jesus entered into the chaos of pain and suffering and became the first disciple of his own discipleship. He emptied himself as the servant of creation and boldly proclaimed, to all who would receive him, a more humane and graceful culture and society. His death and resurrection promised a future to his mission.
Your incredible energy of creation is still active among us in the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus left as a gift to his church.
In this Spirit…
you have inspired us to publicly illustrate our commitment to the work of Christ’s mission.
In this Spirit…
we are honored to be called toward ever greater maturity, extending your creative love to any and all.
May we be worthy of being your ambassadors of life to others, sharing the discipleship of Christ as our greatest praise, and serving the works of justice and mercy as our greatest thanks.
— This is from a Catholic dude named Fragomeni (edited, as always). We turned the last few lines into a call/response.

One last thing, I should mention that I often tweak the lyrics of songs.  I note fairly regularly that most of the prayers we read are modified, but here's a great example of modifying the words to songs as well, with the Redman tune.

The original lyrics to the 2nd verse are:

You deserve my every breath for You’ve paid the great cost

Giving up Your life to death, even death on a cross

You took all my shame away, there defeated my sin

Opened up the gates of heav’n, and have beckoned me in

 I changed the second half of it to:

You can take my pain away, and defeat every sin

As your kingdom finds its way, there you beckon me in

Reasons being a) I'm pretty uninterested in speaking about shame, even if it's meant to be used only in a theological sense (or, more specifically, an ontological sense), because the church has done a great job of shaming people, even if only in a social or moral sense; b) I put "you can take my pain away" because show me the person who carries no pain and I'll show you the person who buries it; to me the can, implying God's innate ability, also connotes has + hopefully will + definitely will, i.e. God has taken some pain away in the past, currently I hope God will take more of it away, in the future I believe God will take yet more/all of it away; c) I like the idea of can as also pertaining to defeating sin, because our struggle with sloughing off our selfish tendencies is an ongoing/neverending process; d) I like the idea of there being a kingdom, and us often being a part of it, and us often being near it (Luke 10:9), and us often not being a part of it (1 John 1:8), and yet us constantly & continuously being called toward it.

Hence the lyric change, with all due respect to Matt Redman.

P.S. On that score, Cornel West recently paraphrased W. H. Auden: "The charge in each one of us is how do we learn to love our crooked neighbors with our crooked hearts."  Beat that.

Posted on October 17, 2014 .