5.October.2014, #264

Lots and lots to discuss...

We started with a few rounds of All My Favorite People, which is a great tune that I always try to pare down and streamline - a few too many examples of vocalese for the congregation (and myself as well) to handle.  I decided to follow that with the "Hallelujah" chorus from Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah, along with Thank You For Hearing Me from Sinead O'Connor, but I needed something to bridge the gap between being people who are broken and praising God for that fact.  Couldn't think of anything, so I wrote this:

Fill us with your love, Lord, Warm us to your truth

Break out pride-filled hearts, Lord, Then take and make them new

Soak us through with grace, Lord, Call us back anew

Break our stubborn hearts, Lord, Make us more like you

It ended up that there wasn't enough material to comprise any significant time, so we basically did everything twice.  And I think it worked fine; everyone embraced the new tune as if they knew it already.

We finished with a corporate reading of parts of Psalm 51, followed by a prayer I read solo from some guy named Allen Happe - a cursory internet search says he's a late UCC pastor - which I modified, as always.

O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.  For you have no delight in sacrifice; if I were to give a burnt-offering, you would not be pleased.  The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.  Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.  Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me.  Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit.

God, you who are full of grace, we come to this place bearing the marks of a bitter and broken world.  We come with dry and thirsty spirits.  Remind us, in the breaking of the bread, of our need, and of your sufficiency.  Refresh us, and make us whole, through the sharing of the cup.  In this time together, draw us nearer to each other and nearer to you.  Amen.

Same thing happened with this set as the previous one - not enough material, so we just repeated everything.  But maybe the crowd was exceedingly generous today because it still worked, and worked well.

We played through They'll Know We Are Christians (for which there is no good available version btw), and because that song lacks a chorus I supplemented the one from Higher Love in between each verse, which worked like a charm.  We ended with half of Everything by Tim Hughes, which has a chorus/bridge(?) that I've always found is too jumpy for a congregation to comfortably navigate and which we skipped accordingly.  So it's basically the "God in my __ ... be my everything" a few times and then quit while you're ahead.

Posted on October 17, 2014 .