Thursday, December 24, 2009

Seasons Greetings

A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all readers!

This blog is going on holiday until the 3rd or 4th January.

I will post comments (as able) but not interact with them.

Best wishes

Monday, December 21, 2009

The power of music

Being present in our packed Cathedral last night for its Nine Lessons and Carols service was a powerful reminder of the power of music to draw people into the presence of God. It is not disrespectful to Scripture being the Word of God written to presume that if the Cathedral had advertised a service of "Nine Lessons (no music)" only the faithful few would have turn up. Even "Nine Lessons (with cracker sermon)" would not have drawn the crowd which came last night.

Music has the power to move us, to draw us from our homes to go to a concert or a party or a church service. The music in a church service (some minimal requirements of tunefulness and rhythm being met) has the power to move our souls into the presence of God, to help us feel that we are meeting with God. Why? I think it is the capacity of music to take us out of ourselves and lead us to the transcendent. There the God who is God meets with us: our restless hearts, as St Augustine knew, find their rest in him.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Hold the Wise Men

Reading something by Doug Chaplin on preaching the Christmas stories from Matthew and Luke (worth a look here) reminds me of a point.

My point is this, the church has a calendar, and when followed the Wise Men (i.e. Matthew 2:1-12) should be centre of attention at Epiphany (6th January). Not before. No posters, banners, or other depictions of the Wise Men before 6th January please.

An exception might be a Christmas pageant service in mid-December as the wash up for the Sunday School's year in which a whole narrative of the birth of Jesus is told.

The great advantage of holding back the Wise Men for Epiphany is that the joys and glories of Christmas are extended for greater enjoyment.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Prepare, prepare, prepare

Is there any reason why a service should not flow, go well, and enable people to be focused on the Lord because they are undistracted by mistakes, clangers, and black holes of time and space occurring in a service?

Of course not. There is no reason why a service should not go well.

But it will take preparation, planning, purposive production and, well, you get the picture!

Prepare. Prepare. Prepare.

Be perfect. It's okay to be perfect in worship leading. People will be grateful.

PS For clarity: preparation includes prayer!!