invitation: opening the doors of the heart

Invitation means opening the door of our churches, of our choir rooms, and organ lofts so others can tentatively, confidently, or curiously step through. It requires a willingness to put our agendas aside and meet people where they're at. It's more than a handshake with a guest or visitor but instead taking time to know them and to affirm that their presence really matters to us. Invitation includes the possibility of carving out new spaces for others' gifts and talents, rather than assuming they will fit neatly into existing structures or schedules. Invitation is doing the hard work of opening our lives and hearts to all those God might bring to us, not just when it's convenient.

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music that nourishes and sustains

Music-making, especially singing within a spiritual community, is soul food. It shapes and integrates our experience and understanding of the Holy. It gives voice to our heartfelt praise and prayer. It connects us to other voices and bodies around us. It moves energy within a worship space. It engages our whole being - body, mind, breath, spirit. Words and tunes continue to sing in us even when we are not fully conscious of them.

But as I work with congregations around the country, I frequently see that the formative, generative, and enlivening potential of music is unrecognized or diminished. While congregations might be able to articulate a theology of worship (why they sing), their musical practices (how they sing) can be disconnected from, contradict, or subvert, their theology.

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