Pentecost 2014...

Since Easter I have been "following my heart" when it comes to
worship planning. For most of our time here I have been strategic: there have been times when we pushed the envelope in style and content in worship in ways that went way beyond many people's comfort level only to then rest back into traditional hymns and liturgies. This has given us a gentle ebb and blow of tried and true experiences mixed with innovative experiments in our quest of celebrating the Living God in a creative and playful style. This is also a good way to help congregations create a rhythm of expectations in their worship life - especially those places that have tended to be formal and static on Sunday mornings.

But I have to say that since Easter I have favored a much more "wild" energy in my planning: there is always a POINT to the wildness - I detest change for change sake - but it has been one experiential encounter after another for the past seven weeks. We've feasted together on different Israeli foods, we've danced Jewish line dances and sung new/old prayers in Hebrew. We've incorporated new group songs that have challenged the congregation to stretch their ability to joyfully participate in public worship. And we've laughed and prayed deep and hard. It has been a joyful resurrection series, but now we're into Pentecost.

Once again we feasted around the communion table: there was LOTS of pita bread and olives and my colleagues Lauryn and John prepared Middle Eastern lamb on skewers. We danced and prayed in gratitude to the Holy Spirit. We made the link between Moses receiving the 10 Commandments on Shavuot
and Jesus giving the disciples his new law - to love one another as servants - on the Christian Pentecost. For part of worship, our children were the worship leaders. In another part our choir sang a motet born of an old tradition that was stunning. And our band sang "One Voice" as a prayer song to guide us through the next six months of Pentecost.

All the while I kept thinking of my daughter and her new husband and the vows they shared. As she told me this afternoon when I stopped by for brunch after worship, "You may have been the only one who chuckled when I finished my vows saying: 'And I will love you with all the madness in my soul.'" She, like her poppa, found something of the sacred in Springsteen - and she shared it in spades during their ceremony yesterday. And THAT is what I have hoped for and often experienced during our post- Resurrection worship:  sharing and loving God and one another with all the madness, passion and integrity in our souls.

It did my heart good today to see young and old, gay and straight, new and time-tested, male and female, pagan and Christian and Buddhist and who knows what else all together at the feast. Like the Boss said, let's face it: tramps like us, baby we WERE born to run! And dance and sing and feast and care for one another with compassion, too.


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