Tuesday, September 19, 2017

CCU as the Music Church

When I was hired, less than a year ago, I heard the phrase “The Music Church” and thought, well ya! Bring it on! A church that love and celebrated its place in the Kingdom and in the community through music – awesome!

That was before I knew how much great music already existed in Lowell. From Jazz events to the Folk Festival, from Gospel gatherings to Chris Tomlin, Lowell is full of music, really excellent music.

This past Sunday morning we had many welcome guests in church, celebrating the Baptism of a beautiful new baby. Voices had worked hard to learn our music. I had worked hard in prayer and planning for this service. And for a moment, as the guests filed in and the baby was passed around and adored, I found my thoughts also rushing about…Is this music good enough? Is it contemporary enough so that we don’t appear to be old fuddy-duddys? Is it traditional enough so that we don’t seem to be just trendy and shallow? Does it have enough sacredness to reflect the sacrament of Baptism? Will they enough the touch of jazz? Will they realize that they are being asked to sing hymns that have bounced between New England and back again for generations and exist now to speak to us of a heritage of faith and communal worship?”

So Wow!  That’s a lot of pressure on one hymn, one gathering song.

After the service, and elderly woman told me how much she loved the singing. Someone else mentioned enjoying the Voices. Other days, I hear enthusiasm for a very singable contemporary piece, or a duet, of a guest group. Most people are too reserved to let me know what they don’t like, but a few tell me loud and clear! This is fine!

So what’s my point? You can’t please everyone all the time? Well, yes, but also, and more importantly, we all arrive on a Sunday morning from different places. Places of joy or places of pain. Fear, sorrow, gratitude, hope. We all love different styles of music, and those styles connect us more than others. And my prayer for each service and gathering is that some part of the music, along with our prayers and the Word, will reach the part of you and the part of me that came in need of being heard this morning.

We are already The Music Church, busy loving and welcoming and singing right here in Lowell. As we sing our prayers, fears, joys and blessing together. As we clap to Gospel or chant a Taize meditation. As we share tickets to the Chris Tomlin concert or gather on the front steps in a drumming circle, or get our ukulele players together to lead “Lean on Me.” When you need a friend.

What’s in a Song?

At the Jazz, Justice and Gospel concert last Saturday, we were privileged to hear many fabulous musicians, among them Marco Torres who pe...