Wonder (part 8)

This the penultimate post in a wee series of musings I have posted up during December inspired by some lyrics that have stuck with me longer than many.  Post 1 can be accessed here.  Post 2 can be linked to by clicking here.  Post 3 is connected here.  Post 4 is here , post 5 is here  , post 6 is here and post 7 is here.p7260034

The closing lines of the song that generated all these posts goes:

“This is Church.

This is State.

Rock ‘n’ Roll.  Amazing Grace.

It makes me think, it makes me deal

With the situation – how do I feel?”

from “Wonder” by King’s X

I love that phrase “Rock ‘n’ Roll. Amazing Grace”  I have found so much of God and so much that has shaped my world view in both of those things – rock ‘n’ roll and old hymnals.  I love playing my heart out on my drum kit and making a joyful noise.  I relish the fact that some folks in our church have permissioned us to do that once a month and I am so grateful to the little fluid collective of friends who are musicians and singers who join me in that.  We are all on the same wavelength and the music is so secondary.  It’s just about creating a time and space where we can set everything else aside and regain our focus and actually begin to engage and ask questions.

Sometimes I wonder if we elevate music in our services?  I mean that as a generalisation across the church rather than as a specific criticism of our congregation.  As someone involved in that side of things, I struggle with the notion that all we do is create a holy “knees up” or “feel good” session through swells of sound and music and then kid ourselves that we have “met with God”.  At the end of the day, if we are adding to the noise – then I would hope that someone would tell us to be quiet and to pack up our gear.  If we are all able to draw closer somehow with music used as a vehicle to prepare our hearts and ears ahead of a sermon or in a response time, then count me in.  If we walk out of our church building, into our everyday lives, with a changed perspective and a heart hungry to live in obedience and aware of mercy and grace, then I guess we have been good stewards of our gifts.


4 Responses to “Wonder (part 8)”

  1. 1 Jason December 27, 2008 at 3:50 pm

    I completely agree that many churches elevate music. I’ve heard time and time again, “It’s a shame we had to stop good WORSHIP for a SERMON…” meaning that the music was what people thought worship was. A lot of churchgoers don’t feel like they are worshipping unless they’re waving their hands in the air or whatever.

    Worship happens whenever we get together in the Lord’s name. Sure music is a part of it, but it’s one of many parts.

    Thanks for your insight!

  2. 2 thestatethatiamin December 27, 2008 at 9:36 pm

    Thanks for your comment. I am increasingly learning that worship is every bit about how I conduct myself in my workplace, in how I adjust my attitudes, in the decisions I make, in how I spend my time, my money, what I reuse, what I reduce my use of and how often I recycle – amongst a whole plethora of other things.

    Music is a gift and a vehicle that can help us draw near to God or unlock a bunch of emotions or express ourselves in meaningful ways. Some of the most memorable “worship” times I have experienced have involved a meagre acoustic guitar, hoarse or out of tunes singing, but hearts full of gratitude and have often not occurred in church. Other times have been in church with music I can easily relate to. Other times I have just found myself overwhelmed by the grandeur of God, whether in something small or in the vastness of nature – a sunny bluebird day in the snow or the sun setting as I sit on my surfboard listening to the ebb and flow and the gulls diving in the spray awaiting my last wave back to shore…

    Worship is a wonderful thing and whilst my heart can’t contain it at times, at other times I need to re-tune my very being in that direction.

  3. 3 brunettekoala December 28, 2008 at 2:05 am

    I think one of the issues is that we are seeing more marketing and consumerist attitudes towards church.

    The skills needed by the people ‘up front’ in church are the similar to the ones needed by entertainers in our celebrity and fame seeking entertainment industry. It kind of creeps into church.

    I wonder if David, Asaph and co wrote more Psalms or just the 150 that are in the bible as we know it.

    You know… “Now that’s what I call a psalm 640 BC” – the top 150 worship songs live recordings from the temple in Jerusalem sung by worship leaders King David, Haman and Asaph.

  4. 4 thestatethatiamin December 28, 2008 at 8:25 pm

    Thanks BK – I seek authenticity rather than performance and, yet, I know what you mean.

    I read a book by a music journalist who wasn’t a Christian but who was investigating the whole Contemporary Christian Music scene as he realised that many record companies were pouring money into it as an emerging and lucrative market. In one chapter he talks of attending a worship event where the David Crowder Band were playing. At one point the band couldn’t be seen behind the lighting and dry ice and yet the audiences reaction was no different. Then the writer realised that the reaction coming from the crowd was nothing to do with the people on stage – they had disappered and he suddenly got what this form of worship was about – not idolising those up front or particular songs, but something higher and greater…

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"The priest in the booth had a photographic memory for all he had heard. He took all of my sins and he wrote a pocket novel called "The State That I'm In"". From "The State I Am In" by Belle and Sebastian
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