A few months back, I started working on a side project (now that I’m a real musician I’m allowed one. My wife said so). The project was to see if I could write music that was more of a sound track for a kind of worship that doesn’t really exist in my world yet.
Much of our worship is static. It is stunted. We stand up to sing. We sit down to pray (or vice versa at Mass). A friend commented to me that he had gone to church recently and when the service finished, he was struck by the thought that he could have gone through the whole thing without engaging at all. It just didn’t ask anything of him.
Worship must ask something of us. It mustn’t demand it, but it must invite, enable and create the space for response.
So a few friends and I began dreaming. Taking our inspiration from Mainly Music, where kids sing and dance for half an hour, we wondered what it would look like to incarnate the story of God’s love for the world as an act of worship. The traditional liturgy does this, even if its normally carried out in a pretty stuffy way. So I began by writing a piece that would serve as a Call to worship, called, ‘Come home’. You can hear it here.
As you listen to it, imagine people scattered around a large empty space. And a few ‘gatherers’ who go and draw them in. They begin alone and separated, but they are gradually and lovingly drawn into a community, a family. Their movements tell the story of a God who goes after his lost and wayward people. And this is a story we are formed by. It is nothing less than the story of our own creation. God calling us out of nothingness into embrace. Its Genesis 1 as much as it is Luke 15.
So now I have written the piece that flows on from that beginning. It fits the movement of ‘thanksgiving’ in traditional worship, and draws on the opening verse of Psalm 126: ‘When you brought back the captives, we were like people who dreamed.’
This part of the story (the celebration) is really defined by the first part (the welcome). We can only use our lives to praise God because gave us life in the first place. Everything is set on the foundation of that central verse of Ps 126, ‘The Lord has done great things for us.’ Imagine this gathered family now responding with actions of thanksgiving and joy for having been found and placed. What would that look like to you? I’d love to know.