Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Summer Changes

Sometimes when I'm starting to write an entry and want an accompanying image, I'll just type a keyword into Google Image search and see what comes back. The word "change" brings a variety of images: Obama's campaign and an attack on Congress, a homeless man, climate change in various guises, an ostrich with its head in the sand, the famous Gandhi quote about being the change you wish to see in the world, and this simple photograph of a cityscape. I don't want this blog to be political or controversial, and I find something beautiful in this simple, unexpected image. It presents the word almost on a blank canvas - is it an imperative verb or a noun? Is it inevitable or suggested? Attacked or promoted? Political or personal? Change is all around us every day, in ways great and small, wonderful and terrible, mundane and profound.

Somewhere in the middle of all those scales come the changes in worship this summer. We have a new schedule, a new experiment with Wednesday night worship, and new liturgical settings. None of these is outrageous or radical (at least I hope no one thinks so), and they present an opportunity to take a fresh look at worship.

A person close to me sometimes worries about the danger of "vain repetition" during the church service. By doing the same thing week after week, the words run the risk of eventually becoming meaningless. The same kyrie and gloria roll off our tongues with nary a thought of the text. The new liturgical settings this summer provide an opportunity to grow not only by an increase in musical repertoire but in a theological perspective. Perhaps the new melody will emphasize a word you've never considered important or maybe the change will just catch your attention and keep you focused on the deeper meaning of worship.

New music can be challenging, but I hope that reframing it as an opportunity to grow in faith and musicianship will help you embrace these minor changes with enthusiasm, the same way you embrace the change of seasons and the coming of summer.

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