Participatory v. Performative Worship

Yesterday in church, we had two harmonica players

a cajon player and a potential fourth vocalist

Join us up on the stage,

simply because they took the initiative to step up.

At Beer & Hymns we have a room packed full of people

overpowering even our instruments,

except for maybe the pianist and the cajon player.

They shake shakers and play tambourines,

and its all so wonderful.

Of course, there are still a chords and keys,

time signatures and words,

but the semblance of structure

simply gives direction to the holy chaos,

it is a funnel, not a wall.

That is the challenge: to organize programs in such a way

that they invite and welcome everyone in,

so that all can join in the fun,

creating wonderful music together

before God and one another.

Hallelujah, amen!

 

 

 

 

Performers, Get Fed

Performers, get fed

Return to the fountain of your youth

Lest you continually drink from an empty well

and sing and speak with a mouth so dry

it spurts out dust and fly

instead of living waters.

 

Sit in the stands, in the pews

Be one with the audience, the congregation

Remember what drew you to the altar, the stage

in the first place.

 

We must be born again daily

or die slowly,

turning not into an aging beauty

but a skipping vinyl

playing the same song again and again

til people cup their hands over their ears

and either throw you out the window

or simply walk away.

The Performance of a Lifetime

My wife and I were watching a documentary on a burlesque troupe the other day.

I loved, as the narrative unfolded, the reoccuring themes that began to appear.

They spoke of freedom, of expression, of overpowering the shame hurled upon us by the powers that be.

We all have a unique gift to share with the world. Though we are always tempted to conform, even in art, to express ourselves only in ways we think we ought to act, think, and behave.

But there is richness to be found in self-discovery, a heavenly wink found as we uncover who we really are (and who we are not).

We think if we give the audience what they want, they will be happy; but they will be happier still if we give them what is true.

IF we are alive and engaged, it frees the audience up to do the same.