One year ago, I stepped away from a steady job, a comfortable New York City apartment, my closest friends and family, and went on a pilgrimage. Beginning in Seattle, I drove down the west coast of the United States over a month, stopping to visit colleagues and friends, and leading worship and workshops along the way. At the end of the trip I was invited for a six-week residency at a church in San Diego but very little was planned afterward. Call it craziness or call it faith, God gave me courage to follow an unknown path.Read More
Interim/transitional music ministry and consulting is Easter work. And by ‘Easter’ I don’t mean the focus is solely on success, positive change, or growth. While some might offer churches a quick path to transformation or Seven Easy Steps to Worship Renewal, experience is showing me that healthy congregational processes require an encounter with loss and death.
Cycles of renewal and rebirth are visible all around us should we open our eyes to them. Like the Easter carol proclaims, grain rises out of wintery soil; the rich humus of what has died is a seedbed for new life. Perhaps we intuitively know that the church (the literal Body of Christ) will experience transition, metamorphosis, and even death. But we do not always live as Easter people and even resist what is inevitable, even as we praise the One who died and lives again.Read More
Worship is one of the primary places where we enact our relationship with God and others. And more than a form or formula for worship, liturgy is the holy, meaningful work that God’s people do when they gather. Worship isn’t thinking about or talking about God, but is speaking to and listening for Divine. Worship joins breath, voice and body in words and action, embodying deep wisdom about the Holy One and our selves. In worship we become the Body of Christ, a mysterious manifestation of Jesus’ spirit in time and space.
If we “live ourselves into new ways of thinking” as Fr. Richard Rohr asserts, then worship is one of the most formative and integrative things that we can do in Christian community. What we say and sing shapes us; we become what we create together.Read More