‘Back home’ – Part two in the Embodied worship project

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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.

Back home – Hallelujah FINAL

9 Comments
  • Erin

    So…….we would like to know is the music for this piece of compelling worship going to be made available….it is beautiful

    April 25, 2013
    • By the music, do you mean the sheet music, or will you be able to download the recording?

      April 25, 2013
      • Erin

        I think sheet music……

        May 3, 2013
        • Wow, I wouldn’t know where to begin charting a song like this! Theory has never been my strong suit. Is it yours? 😉

          May 3, 2013
  • julz

    i wonder often why we do not engage with a church service and it often feels like something we must do and worship often feels like a robotic action and then i was introduced to the Fathers love and all that he has to offer us and I realised that worship should be such a personal experience such a longing to be in his presence. Worship should be where we can fully engage with him on a different level as who wouldn’t want to be in the pesences and worship someone who offers us so much for so little . I am drawn to the message in the bible where we are told we need to become like children and when you talk about mainly music and the way kids engage it is so true in worship we should be like children and because of his unconditional love I now can dance skip sing but also stand and soak in his love as the worship and words wash over me and Malcs it is songs and lyrics like these that help us do exactly that
    xoxo

    April 25, 2013
    • That’s right Julz. I guess this music is my effort for us to FEEL those things rather than just talk about them. Thanks for your response!

      April 25, 2013
      • julz

        great job what an amazing calling

        April 25, 2013
  • Adrian

    Hi Malcolm, just had another listen to this… I can imagine actions centring around waking up could help embody worship. Actions like washing your face with water (particularly kneeling down beside a river), taking your resting pulse, or even rolling up a bed roll may give a sense of whole body worship. I think it would even better to watch others do these things as we enter in to the awareness of God’s presence together. The CEV entitles this Psalm, Celebrating the Harvest, so it lends itself to breaking the fast with Jesus – having breakfast on the beach or by the river would be appropriate. That’s what I imagine, that would be like a dream beginning to be realised.
    Be Choice Adrian

    April 26, 2013
    • I like the waking up imagery. And of course, it implies that what we’re experiencing is NOT a dream, but the realist kind of reality. Thanks for enriching the picture further Adrian.

      April 26, 2013

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