Thursday, April 2, 2015

Noteplayers or Musicians?

Recently I led worship at our home church for the first time since moving here. It's a strange congregation, with little sense of its own character. It certainly doesn't meet the clearly defined worship expectations that I carry around with me. And it could be expected to have some resistance to a card-carrying progressive Christian.

So when I found the lectionary invited me to think about John 3;16, that was a challenge.

I invited the congregation to consider the text and identify a key word that spoke to each of them. Google Images gave us a huge range of illustrations around different words in the text. These were screened as we noted the variety and strengths and shortcomings of each viewpoint. People acknowledged their own choices as we proceeded. Then we looked at the relationship between the individual words and any central theme or story that might lie behind them.

The musical director of our barbershop chorus had previously told me of a trombone student who was about to play the tune Maria in competition. The lad had got hold of the basics of managing the instrument.  But he played just the notes. Warwick realised that he didn't know the song. 

So our organist played the "Maria" notes on the organ, loudly, stiffly and woodenly. Then our hefty stereo suddenly filled the church with a heartfelt rendition of the opening of I've just met a Girl Named Maria down to "...say it softly, it's almost like praying".

As we follow the way of Jesus and interpret the biblical words for our lives, I asked us all, are we just noteplayers, or are we musicians?

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