‘Come home’ [Part one in Embodied Worship Project]

So I’ve been working on a new song – although its less a song and more a ‘piece’. Its a totally different direction for me, so I confess I’m a little nervous sharing it…but the flip side of nervousness is excitement. I’m excited about where this journey might be heading!
I have a dream to develop an experience of worship where people actually move, as if they have bodies. I know, it’ll never catch on. My concern is that our worship has become too wordy, too heady, and our bodies get relegated to the rank of ‘brain taxi’ rather than something God stepped back from and said, ‘Now that’s REALLY good!’
So I’ve been scheming and dreaming for over a year now about writing music that people could move to. Not dance, because who wants to dance, but move – in order to enact the story of God coming to us, and us coming to God.
After all, at the centre of this story is The Word becoming flesh, and dwelling in our midst. How then can we meet this Embodied Word without the help our own bodies?
So this song is the call to worship. As you listen, imagine a big space, cleared of all furniture, except in the very centre maybe there’s a table, or a large basin of water, or a pile of cushions – or whatever. As the song starts, everyone is scattered around the edges of the space, all isolated. As the song progresses people begin to move into the centre, and come together. Perhaps some people act as gatherers to go and draw people in who want to feel the connection and welcome in a tangible way. All in all, this song is giving voice to God’s welcome of us – even if there aren’t many words.
Its a fledgling idea, a hope for an experience of worship that is richly rooted in the story of God but has room for us to feel our way home, to walk there, to be lifted or carried if need be – because its never just been about believe or agreeing, its also about communing, resting, abiding, turning from and turning to, connecting, holding and being held.
So I hope you love this song and hear God’s call in it. I loved making it, which I guess makes it all worthwhile. Blessings to you and yours. Malcs
  • Andrew Galloway

    I’m not usually able to connect well with things like this. But, I read your words while listening to the track and it felt really powerful. The words resonate strongly with me at this time where things have been really tough. Thanks Malcolm, that was great!

    December 13, 2012
    • Hey Andrew, well that’s exactly the hope – that this might allow God to come to us in a way we aren’t so used to, and therefore aren’t so guarded against. It also means we get to come as children – because we aren’t pretending to be experts anymore. Good news all round. I’m humbled it connected with you, and blessed to know its heading in the right direction.

      December 13, 2012
  • Simon Cornwall

    I just went outide on my own with my laptop and lisened to your new song under the Christmas lights, I loved it. What a gift and talent Blessings on you Malcolm – Simon

    December 13, 2012
    • Thanks Simon – glad you found space to enjoy it.

      December 13, 2012
  • Paul

    I sat and listened to a (fairly prominent) Kiwi authority on worship recently and he talked exclusively about music, and in the standard chorus singalong mode. I was deeply disappointed. But this… this inspires me and fills me with hope. This I could do. This I would do. This connects all of me with all of God’s children and all of His love for me. Thanks Malcs; we need these songs and experiences in our communities of faith. Keep it up mate.

    December 13, 2012
    • Hey thanks Paul – that’s some hefty affirmation. I’m sad to hear of your uninspiring encounter recently. I find myself drawn to something more primal and emotive, hence the ‘homecoming’ theme. Its so evocative, you don’t need many words because our heads and hearts are already filled with memories and feelings. Again, thanks for the affirmation 😉

      December 13, 2012
  • Jess

    Amazing as always. I could see what you meant… kinda initially had an old school monastic vibe but then grew and expanded to encompass more and more as others approached or were brought in. Very nice Malcs – you should definitely keep exploring this idea.

    December 13, 2012
    • Hey Jess, thanks for the feedback. I hadn’t thought about the musical development as ‘expanding and encompassing’ as you put it, but I really like the implications! Feel free to deepen the meaning of my music anytime! 😉

      December 14, 2012
  • Carol Vicarage

    Love it Malcs, its such a peaceful piece of music, so different from your usual.
    Life is full of words, words & more words, sometimes they mean nothing, this is refreshing.
    Keep at it, this is your ministry at its best. Blessings to you, Vanessa & Sam. x

    December 14, 2012
    • Thanks Carol – its so affirming to get your encouragement. I’m so happy to hear you connected with the piece.

      December 14, 2012
  • Tony Zwies

    Great stuff malcs totally ace! So one of the things I really like about this song but also the concept is that it removes me from my individualism and my own head space were I can be stuck in my own thoughts. I really like how this song/concept of worship becomes a verb.

    December 14, 2012
    • ‘worship becomes a verb’ – I like that a lot Tonz. Also I’m glad you expressed that ‘being drawn into something bigger than me’ feeling. Worship has to begin with this, like you said, or we get tangled up with our own insecurity or pride.

      December 14, 2012
  • Adrian

    Thanks Malcolm – good for the soul. You can definitely lose yourself in the moment. I think I’ll be revisiting this more.

    December 17, 2012
  • Tom Mepham

    I like it Malcs!
    It’s a refreshing and wonderful approach to worship music. I like the monastic, heavily vocal feel at the start and how it grows and develops. It still feels like a ‘song’ by the end but overall like a ‘piece’ of music …. (with words). It defo lends itself to movement; and the movement (non-dance) approach to worship is a neat idea. I look forward to how this will develop!

    January 10, 2013
  • Cheryl

    Hi Malcs
    just listened to this and read your description and all the comments. I was struck with how this idea has some similarities to walking a labyrinth- on the way in bringing yourself and burdens, prayers to God weaving around and around, not having to worry where you are going because eventually you come to the centre- to home. Often a symbol is there at the centre to remind you that God is the centre- God is home- to stay there as long as you need, lay your burdens down before walking outwards again, light and free.

    That is one brief description and I could see your music fitting really well with this winding path inwards to the center,.
    REALLY excited to see and hear more of this – as you know I am keen to explore how children can be part of worship more and they would totally GET this and even help/lead adults to express themselves in worship with movement more…exciting! keep going! God bless

    January 19, 2013
  • Howdy!
    I just came across this while Googling “embodied worship” and I was floored!
    The first bit of the tune reminds me a lot of the Shape-note music of my Appalachian home. gorgeous stuff that I can definitely imagine using in holy time.

    Thanks and Shalom!


    April 4, 2013
    • Hi Chris, thanks so much for your encouragement. Perhaps I’ll now find the motivation to keep working on this project! I’ll send you an mp3 so you can give it a go in worship. Let me know how you get on. blessings, Malcs

      April 4, 2013

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