And now for something deeper still...

Yesterday was zone time - lots of sleep after a huge anniversary weekend - and vegging-out to British mysteries on "Acorn TV."  Today it was back into the groove at church - meetings, visits and music practice - and two incredible things took place:

+ First, throughout the day I kept getting the most encouraging notes from people who were at the anniversary concert.  Over and over again, they affirmed how important our renewal work in reshaping "church" is to them - and to the wider community. With the exception of last year's Good Friday "disorientation" liturgy, I don't think I have ever received so much positive feedback in all my years of ministry. It has been humbling but so deeply gratifying, too because this doesn't happen very often.
+ Second, as we gathered for band practice and a discussion of bringing this year's Good Friday vision to reality, there was DEEP participation, ownership and excitement from my band mates.  It was a collaborative exploration of themes and songs - and I think we are on to something truly unique.  Last year, given time constraints, I created and crafted the flow of most of the liturgy based on the "disorientation" theme.  I think it was our most artistically creative and satisfying experiment to date, but I wasn't happy with my being the fundamental creative agent.  

This year, however, I shared a broad them with the band about two months ago so that when we revisited the "misunderstood" theme tonight, there had been time for reflection. And more will take place this week, too. What's more Di has been hard at work crafting a MASSIVE list of tunes that work with our five biblical narratives (we are creating a retelling of the Good Friday story from a reworking of the stories of Peter, Magdalene, Judas, the Virgin Mary and Jesus.) Each "story" will be followed by a song that will give expression to the narrative and give people a time to consider the narrative's implication for them.

(Please excuse the pix this knucklehead put to this tune; this version is killer but the rest... my condolences.)

The essential songs include:  Yusuf Islam's reworking of "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" and Cry, Cry, Cry's "Ballad of Mary Magdalene." I am totally buzzed by Maria Muldaur and Mose Allison's take on his "Everybody's Crying Mercy," too.  So, we're off to see where the Spirit leads us in our radical reworking of the whole Good Friday groove.  It was a blessed way to get back into the heart of Lent - and I am so thankful for being a part of this sacred team.

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