Grace Chapel’s eleven o’clock service couldn’t be less Episcopal, from aesthetics, use of multi-media to lyrics requiring standing, clapping and swaying, if coordinated. Amps, guitars, percussion and energetic younger folks lead the music where robed choirs once stood and sang, accompanied by organ. I still prefer choirs and organs with some exceptions but Maggie Blue, loved the music. “It’s like camp, Momo!”
Wasn’t it St. Paul who said something like, “Whatever it takes” and Jesus, “Let the kids come”?
In Garrison Keillor’s Life Among the Lutherans, he tells the story of a visiting organist from the Cities who subs one Sunday at Lake Wobegon Lutheran.
“Scripture says, ‘Be still and know that I am God.’ This is not the organist’s philosophy. Organists despise stillness. They’re sitting there with the organ equivalent of a 300 hp Ferrari and they want to put the pedal to the metal and make that baby fly.”
The organist sent ahead music for the choir,”The motet was in French, for crying out loud, and the anthem was a piece of fifteenth-century plainsong with odd little square notes—-the opening hymn nobody had every sung before in their lives. The Lutheran Book of Worship was, of course, put together by a committee, and there are hymns there that you know were included as a sop to the closet Anglicans on the committee, those weird hymns that reflected the mood of a community of monks living on a rocky island off Wales in the fifteenth century. The opening hymn was a sort of musical hair shirt…basically unsingable. The congregation sounded like a fishing village keening for its dead. There were eight verses.”
“Laugh and Learn,” I tell myself.
For sure, music matters.
I need occasional helpings of Grace, seeing familiar faces, hearing Bryan Wilkerson preach, and sensing what’s happening in this branch of the Family. Grace feeds my heart, seeing all God’s Colors seated around me, internationals, hungry hearts seeking something more together. Enough to make me even stand, clap and sing along.
We’ve come a long way. When Jud and I began attending Grace in the late 70s, women could share but not preach, and couldn’t be ordained. Pastor Sheryl Lackey preached today, continuing a Summer Series entitled “Life…Punctuated.” She had me at the title.
Sheryl focused on the role of the period, God’s stops and endings, illustrated through the life of Moses, and Longfellow’s,”Great is the art of beginning, but greater is the art of ending.”
True, for more than the creative process.
Never thought of God as Editor-in-Chief until I read Psalm 18 in The Message.
“God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes.”
Throughout life’s question marks, pauses, run-ons, exclamations and stops, God’s there to help us finish strong.
Organ or guitar?
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