Some new friends and new prayers...

My colleagues did a GREAT job today in sharing music, prayer and friendship with our friends at the American Baptist Church today: we led a retreat we called "Can We Sing the Lord's Song in a Strange Land?" From my perspective, we need to flip the first words of that question so it becomes an affirmation that we CAN sing the Lord's song in a strange land.

+ And our market-obsessive culture is certainly a strange land for those of us who seek to follow Jesus as the "man for others." We spent the opening session highlighting our counter-cultural values: compassion rather than selfishness, an open table instead of a gated-community, justice rather than the bottom line as well as willingness to suffer for the well-being of the common good.

+ One thing that is fun being with Baptists is that they KNOW their Bible: I could ask about Matthew 25 and the could complete the quote about being hungry, thirsty, naked and alone. Same with Psalm 137: By the waters of Babylon...

We moved through a time of Taize worship - with icons and lots of silence - as well as a powerful liturgy from Iona about reclaiming God's image amidst everything that disfigures us. We spent time talking about what we experienced and gleaned from these worship experiences, too. And then entered into our our multi-media use of contemporary art, poetry and popular music to discern God's still speaking voice amidst the chaos, violence and fear.

We brought the day to a close with U2's "When Love Comes to Town" as both a genre-bender and sweet expression of how God's voice is celebrated in rock and roll. My band mates, Brian and Dianne, were spot-on in singing, playing and reading - and we missed Sue and hope her time away with family was rewarding. Now, on to World Communion Sunday tomorrow (after a little red wine and supper!) We made some new friends, shared some new prayers and felt God's blessings.

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