Archive for March, 2012

the Reproaches

Greetings.

An unusual sort of post for me. Been doing some Good Friday worship service planning – and have decided to use the Uniting Church’s sample Good Friday service in Uniting in Worship 2 this year,

I noted a week or so back that it uses the ancient tradition of the saying of the Reproaches.  This can also involved individual veneration of the cross – namely people coming to a large wooden cross amid/before the congregation and them kneeling at it or even kissing it.

Now, I’m not going with this where you might be concerned I am.  This is not about worshipping a piece of wood.  A helpful article explains things:

The full article is here.

All of this is by way of mentioning that I’ve written a really short (I mean short!) congregational sung response for a slight adaptation of the traditional Reproaches response:

cantor: Holy God
cong’n: Holy and mighty
Holy, immortal God
 have mercy on us

music score  simple mp3 backing

Grace and peace,

David

presence

Hi

There’s a certain irony, yet poignancy behind this post – and the song associated with it.

I remember around Christmas receiving a message (Facebook or Twitter – can’t remember) encouraging me, amid my need to meet deadlines and various expectations, to “live in the now” … or words to that effect; in fact, to embrace it, and enjoy it and welcome it for what is offers, and for what God can reveal of Godself amid it all.

well, that’s stuck with me. Fast-forward a few months, and three things are very much present with me:

1. the request that I lead our congregational leadership team meeting tonight with devotions. I sense the Spirit leading me to use a brief reflection excerpt I came across from Richard Rohr back in February. It was adapted from Rohr’s Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer as was called God-Awareness. It began with these words

The contemplative secret is to learn to live in the now … when we’re doing life right, not means nothing more than it is right now, because God is in this moment in a non-blaming way … But there’s nothing to hold on to when we begin to taste the fullness of the now.  God is either in this now or God isn’t at all. This moment is as perfect as it can be.

2. Meanwhile, a dear friend is struggling big time with health issues at the moment.

3. Somehow, through all of this, and the list of “reminders’ I typed into my iPhone an hour ago, a little instrumental piano piece that first came to me almost 10 years ago, came to me again.  I have never recorded it – in either audio or music score form.  That is, until now.

I’ve decided to call it Presence    mp3 track

… my recognition of God who is certainly yesterday, certainly tomorrow and forever, but also today … in fact, right now.  I gave up trying to get it note-perfect, realising that throws it all back on “me” … what I can do … what I can try to perfect.  So, in all its imperfections and certainly mine, and with points 1 and 2 (especially 2) in mind, I offer it to you.  It’s taken 10 years to even get it in audio form … who knows when/if a music score will emerge.

That’s not the point.

Grace and peace,

David

the Bible reads me

Hi again

I remember around 12 years ago while at theological college, having an Old Testament lecturer- Douglas, who would often make the point that “The Bible reads us.”  I had never thought of it that way before.  He was absolutely right.  So – fast forward 12 years and I’m putting together a reflection on our local Oxley UC all-age service for this Sunday; theme – The Bible, I find myself reflecting on how the Bible reads us.   Thought I’d offer my words of reflection, acknowledging that a portion of what I share comes from the pen of Eugene Peterson in Eat My Book, as offered in:  http://www.christianitytoday.com/moi/2007/005/september/17.17.html

Here’s what I’ll share this Sunday.  I share it also with you.
Blessings – David 

THE BOOK THAT READS US Hebrews 4:12,13

Writer Hans-Ruedi Webber tells the story of a village woman in Africa who always used to walk around carrying a Bible. One day her neighbours decided to investigate this. They asked her, “Why are you always carrying around a Bible. There are so many other books you can read.”

The woman knelt down, held the Bible high above her head and she said, “Yes, of course there are many other books that I could read … so many. But there is only one book that reads me.” “But there is only one book that reads me.”

Continue reading ‘the Bible reads me’

not ashamed

A bit of back-to-back blogging about to happen from me.

Hi folks.
This Sunday’s lectionary gospel is Mark 8:31 to 38 …

“ All who want to come after me must say no to themselves, take up their cross, and follow me. All who want to save their lives will lose them. But all who lose their lives because of me and because of the good news will save them. Why would people gain the whole world but lose their lives? What will people give in exchange for their lives? Whoever is ashamed of me and my words in this unfaithful and sinful generation, the Human One m will be ashamed of that person when he comes in the Father’s glory with the holy angels. ” (Mk 8:34b-38)

This has been a significant passage in my faith journey, and I’d be the last to suggest that I live these words of Jesus all that well!

My strongest connection with this passage (and it basically appears in all four gospels) is its use among 4000 young (and barely-young … that’s me) young people at NCYC 1991 (the Uniting Church’s National Christian Youth Convention) over a week in January in Toowoomba, Australia.

Tony Campolo was the keynoter speaker.  His input was incredibly challenging; putting it to us fair and square want it meant to be an authentic disciple of Christ.  Yes, it would mean carrying our cross (perhaps figuratively, but perhaps also literally).  The cost of doing this would be very real.  Gulf War I was within days of breaking out.  Who knew what the implications of this would be to the world’s well-being.  Campolo in short put it to each of the 4000 there: are you up to it?

My response was: Yes … though with much trepidation and “what am I letting myself in for?”.  As is me, I put my response to song, penning what for me is a song which has maintained it’s ‘currency’ and sense of longevity: Not ashamed.  It’s very much an affirmation of faith … an affirmation of “I will follow you, God wherever, however, whenever.  I’m yours.”

Not Ashamed       music score mp3  vocal (in C)

Not ashamed to love
Not ashamed to serve
Not ashamed to be following Jesus.
Put myself aside for my Lord who died.
Not ashamed to be following Jesus.

1. Lord your call is strong
to follow you along a
not so easy road.
Are we prepared to die?
Are we prepared to love?
Will we carry a heavier load?

2. To forget ourselves and
trust in someone else:
that’s the cost of life in You.
As we give You all
we shall gain much more.
It’s the road You call us to.

© David MacGregor 1991
based on Mark 8:34-38

Grace & peace,

David


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