Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Sing a new song... or several!

As I sit on my couch this evening, after lots of fun and sweet fellowship at our "Italian Carnivale" Fat Tuesday celebration at church, and now watching the "Super Tuesday" results coming in on TV... I'm just glad to have made it home through the snow to be able to relax at home with my wife and get a little blogging in.

As always, one of the highlights of attending the Calvin Symposium on Worship is the rich breadth of music that is sung throughout all the various worship services. And what's even better is having good songs to bring home to my church that I think will be meaningful for us to sing together.

I was blessed to be asked this year by my good friend Ron Rienstra (whose last name blogger's spell-check wants me to respell as "chinstrap" ... hmmm) to participate in an Alt. Vespers service on Friday evening with a wonderful team of people, all of whom I feel very honored to have gotten to know. The service was a deeply enriching experience, and I hope to reflect more about it later, for now I want to focus on the new songs I learned while taking part.

The corporate songs used in the service had been newly composed for this symposium worship experience by Doug Gay, a pastor and practical theology professor from Scotland. Inspired by specific verses from Hebrews 10 that grounded the Vespers service, these songs are immediately accessible, simple yet theologically profound, and sing like they're old favorites. With Doug's permission I've created lead sheets for these songs which can be downloaded as PDF files here:

Into the Holy (Hebrews 10:19-22)
Wash Me Clean (Hebrews 10:22)
Hope This Hope (Hebrews 10:23-25)

We sang "Into the Holy" at First Pres. last Sunday as we shared in the Lord's Supper, and it resonated with deep meaningfulness as we sang words like "Jesus, our sacrament, making a way for us..."

Another highlight for me during the Symposium was meeting Greg Scheer, attending his workshop (which I have reflected on earlier) and being introduced to his music. I particularly enjoyed the song, "One Thing" (based on Psalm 27:4), which we will be singing this Sunday in the Chapel service, in connection with our Italian guest, the Rev. Gianni Genre's sermon - "The Kingdom of God: Seek to be Found."

I look forward to these songs becoming staples in our church's repetoire, and if you're reading this as a pastor or musician from another church, I hope they can become meaningful expressions of worship for your congregations as well.

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