In Touch February 1, 2014
Posted on February 4, 2014 by under Touché,

The Worship Wars are Over

The choir is getting ready for the closing worship service at the Calvin Symposium of Worship.  The upright bass, the electric guitar and the drum kit will be somewhere up front.  The massive organ in the Performing Arts Center at Calvin College will be unleashed and over one thousand voices will be singing some of the greatest ancient and contemporary music together.

I am here at the symposium with Owen Borda, our interim organist.  Pray that Owen makes it through the snow at O’Hare to be at the organ bench at Hopewell tomorrow.  I will stay with Andrew, Cathy and Sarah in Holland Michigan as we battle another Michigan snow storm.

I figured since I was out here it would be good to attend this symposium.  There are over 1,300 participants from over thirty countries that gather to celebrate with music, the arts and preaching.  It is the first time I am able to make this conference and if there is a word to take away from these days it is “convergence”; convergence of music styles, of worship liturgy of the ancient and modern.  It seems that worship has moved through the battles of “contemporary” and “traditional” and come to a convergence that appreciates the depth of tradition, with the blessings of the new.

This is some of the “deeper” of the deeper and wider vision that I am inviting us to at Hopewell.  I found in Andrew’s accident that I needed to drink from the deep wells of words that had been tested by time and prayers that had been prayed by other long before me.  The music that touched me had weight and glory and had been distilled through the years.  All of this made me appreciate that we bring to God our best in worship in ways that are thoughtful, faithful and true.  We will have discussions of how this is lived out, but you will note that tomorrow in the liturgy the elders will include the Great Prayer of Thanksgiving that is rooted in the fourth century.  We will sing or say the Sanctus (Holy, Holy, Holy), pieces of the liturgy shared by millions upon millions of Christians through the generations.

One of the intriguing things of this conference is that ancient/modern movement is being driven by a younger population.  The people recovering an appreciation for liturgy are twenty something urbanites.  Perhaps in an age when many are feeling rootless the ancient ways have an attraction.

I write in the moment and share some quick reflections before I go into the closing worship.  The shape of vision for the next generation at HRC is yet to be seen, but I look forward to writing that together and going deeper in the journey of worship together.

In Christ,