Good Friday 2011 - redux

This year's experimental liturgy on Good Friday - an on-going 7 year exploration of contemporary music, the Passion narrative (in various forms), visual art, poetry, prayer, silence and environmental art - was a high point in my opinion.  It was clearly one of the most effective and beautiful (and ranks right up there with our first U2 Good Friday and our last anti-war presentation in Tucson.) For me, it worked on three important levels:

+ First, for the first time we recruited a small cadre of local artists in the church to work on creating a worship environment that evoked "the garden of betrayal."  It probably helped that we had one of the hardest winters on record this year, because there was a TON of under brush to use - and our artists made great use of it al.  Creatively and powerfully, they transformed a big barren hall into an intimate and edgy indoor garden. Not only was it fun to work together, but it was exciting to see how the creative juices started to flow. Clearly, this collaboration paid off in spades and reminded me why St. Paul spoke of the faith community as a body:  we really NEED one another.

+ Second, my church band - Between the Banks - has been playing together for three years and really pushed the envelope.  We know and trust one another, we love and pray for one another; and we have now crossed the bridge from being friends to real colleagues in music and art.  These are connections of both head and heart - and I think our depth allowed us to sometimes encourage a band member to take some artistic and emotional risks. 

This year Brian pushed us iall nto some powerful revisions that gave us permission to take the music deeper.  Not only did his own composition, "In the Garden"  do this in ways that were both beautiful and bitter, but his musical and spiritual instincts helped us all taste the paradox in Christ's surrender to the Cross.  Dianne and Sue also brought some fascinating music to the mix - from Luka Bloom's "The One" and Benjamin Britten's "Lachrimosa" to "Bad Moon Risin;" done down and swampy in a minor key and Green Day's "Wake Me When September Comes" - and they sang with a new passion, too.  And with Andy bringing in the bottom on his acoustic bass... well, let's just say things were cookin!  Jon's sweet voice - and intuitive beauty for harmonies - took things to a new level.
+ And third, I have been in ministry here just long enough to have earned the trust of the new folk as well as the old-timers; togehter we are becoming a counter-cultural community seeking a new expression of Christ's love through creativity, imagination, art, liturgy and our real lives.  One of the comments I heard over and over - from those who have been avoiding church in their lives as well as from those who want more than the same old same old - is that they FELT this worship in their souls. 

The music was sometimes harsh, but the environmental art helped generate both serenity and openness.  The sacred story was both fresh and grounded in tradition so that our edgy combination of scripture, poetry, prayer and silence led people into an awareness of what betrayal means.  In a word, they were able to make this story their own - NOT by a pseudo-theatrical re-enactment of Christ's passion - but by experiencing some of the breadth and depth of authentic betrayal and anguish in our common tongue.

And now two conclusions have spontaneously emerged:  1) People are asking us to take this show on the road; and 2) Others are saying we need a REAL meditation space in our building.  It is going to be a total blast making each come to pass...

Comments

Black Pete said…
Wonderful! And I hope for your meditation space.
RJ said…
I will keep you posted, my man!

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