I have often wondered why hymnody prevails on Sundays in most Christian sanctuaries. Perhaps its because the alternatives on offer with their praise bandy shallowness insult the intelligence of those who have made the effort to gather together on the off chance of an encounter with the Divine. Radical theologian, Peter Rollins has suggested that worship leaders ought to consider inviting musicians who sing the blues into our churches to facilitate worship that includes all of life. When I consider the plethora of musical styles that could be employed in worship to open us to the breadth and depth of our abundant lives, I wonder if those of us employed in the art of worship planning need to look beyond our hymnals and song sheets to discover the endless possibilities that might facilitate worship that opens us to the deepest mysteries of this life.
As a teaser, I offer two videos that interpret the work of English folk rock musician, Keaton Henson’s piece “You”. Both interpretations, the first by the poet himself, the second by the brilliant actor Derek Jacobi, function as both prayer and praise. Can I get an “Amen”???
So many new beginnings: Back to work this week; a new beginning. Team Ministry; a new beginning. As students and teachers head back to school, churches begin a new program year. At Holy Cross we are are using the Alternate Lectionary (scripture readings) for Creation and this Sunday’s readings call for a celebration of Humanity. The first reading is the Hebrew creation myth found in the first chapter of Genesis; the all too familiar story. Churches have been telling this particular story of our beginning for centuries. Standing here at the beginning of a new century makes me wonder why we don’t tell a new story of our beginning.
When I begin to study the Genesis story with Confirmation Students, I ask them to imagine our ancestors sitting around a campfire asking one another, “What’s it all about? Why are we here? Where did we come from? Who are we?” Looking back at how we once approached these questions of meaning is a perfectly fine exercise. But we can’t stop there. It’s time for us to change the scene so that it better reflects who we are here and now. Gone is the campfire. Gone is the three-tired universe. Gone is the belief that Genesis is history.
The time has come for us to imagine a different gathering at which the same questions emerge. Only this time those who have gathered can reach into their pockets and take out their mobile devices to access the wisdom of the ages. This time a new myth emerges to capture our imaginations, a new myth from within which we can begin to imagine who we are, where we came from, why we are here and where we are going???
So this Sunday our first reading will not come to us from the book of Genesis. This Sunday we will begin our celebration of humanity by telling a new creation myth, one that emerges from the wealth of knowledge that science offers us. I can’t wait to begin!