Four background principles
Some discoveries I’ve made:
1. HEARING FROM GOD
People describe this in lots of ways ‘a sense of what is right’ ‘a prompt’ ‘a common-sense thought’ etc.
Don’t be put off if you think you can’t hear from God in a particular way – and try not to always equate hearing from God with the spontaneous.
You might in fact be hearing from God and have a clear idea of where to go because you’ve written everything down – or you may lead in a way where all you know for definite is the first song [if that!!]
I guess whatever we call it or however we express it – let’s make space to ‘hear from God’
By this I mean continuity – how we move from song to hymn to prayer to reading within our time ‘slot’
You could choose to link each section with a prayer or instrumental, or a chosen chord progression [say the first four bars of the song you are moving from] or even link the sections with silence.
I also like to encourage continuity within songs
Holy, Holy, Holy [Heber]
In using this hymn you might start with a reading from Isaiah 6 – maybe over an instrumental of verse one…
…on to singing verse one and two and three…
… you may wish to emphasize any of the lines by sung repetition or by re-stating the lines in a prayer eg: ‘Holy, holy, holy, though the darkness hide you’ might lead to prayers of intercession for your community or prayers of confession where we have not always seen God…
…you may wish to repeat the last line of verse three ‘Perfect in power, love an purity’ maybe encouraging the gathering to sing out/speak out/pray out/think silently about other characteristics of God that come to mind
…you might have an instrumental then leading to verse four.
3. SONG BREADTH
There are so many dimensions to our gatherings.
• How we relate to God – and how God relates us.
• How we relate to each other.
• How God relates to the world full of people God loves…
• …and how we are called to love, care for, pray for, and live in that world.
• The Trinity, the Incarnation to name but two deep places in Christian faith
• High praise and Lament,
• Intercession and Confession
No one song will say all this, neither will any one hymn or anthem, chant or solo…
…and it would be a very long meeting that made room for most of these expressions[!]
Having said that – I’d like to work towards [across a year or a term or a sermon series] a sense of breadth in the song choices I’m making.
I talk in [even more] detail about song choice, breadth and vocabulary on another page.
4. LOVE FOR THE CONGREGATION
I was challenged a number of years ago reading the account of Moses and the Israelites and the golden calf episode in Exodus 32
As Moses pleads with God to continue with them – God says that he will instead send his angel ahead of them.
Moses again pleads with God – asking God to walk with them to lead them…
…but I hadn’t noticed a comment Moses makes [tucked away in verse 13]
‘…remember these are your people…’
Moses heart for the people – his perspective that the people are God’s responsibility and Moses ability to take it to God as a prayer was an eye-opener for me!
It becomes an ongoing challenge when there are questions from our gatherings about drums being too loud or too quiet, songs being to long or too short, there not being enough silence or enough singing and a myriad other questions that you are faced with too I’m sure…
…the challenge to us is to be able to remind God as Moses did – remember these are your people, your responsibility God…
…asking God to check our hearts and motives and give us wisdom, strength and grace to love the people we are serving
November 14, 2006