Every week, every worship leader has the hard task of choosing one song that will open the set and provide a spiritual and musical on-ramp to the rest of the worship experience. What if you tried something unexpected – like repeating the same opening song each week for a season?
Photo by Jan Tielens on Unsplash
You’re planning your next set asking the same kinds of hard questions you always do, in a similar order. One in particular leads the way…
It is a crisp, Autumn morning in the year 1674. An 18-year old student at Winchester College, with the rolling countryside of county Hampshire and the great Winchester Cathedral whispering to him from his window, is preparing for his day. An open pamphlet on his desk, and the words of a Morning Hymn on his lips, the devout, singing student commits his day to his Lord. Unknown to him, the last of the 14 stanzas of that hymn will go on to become, very possibly, the most-sung hymn in all of history.
One grave misunderstanding about spiritual formation is that it is focused solely on, primarily on, the toning of the bedrock of our inner, hidden life. But what is true is that what you see on the surface of a person, on the surface of you, speaks of what is happening in the holy deeps. One shift beneath the surface – will completely change the entire landscape.
Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash
Spiritual formation is life formation; a reshaping of our inner and outer ways that is compelled and precipitated by unseen movements deep within the soul.
I love 20-somethings. All 3 of my children, at the time of this writing, are 20-somethings. Many of my nieces and nephews are 20-somethings. Some of the people I have created with, worked with, and laughed with the most are 20-somethings. Here are my top 20 encouragements to help you succeed in life.
As a small town young man in high school, I was selected to attend a prestigious 5-week program in the Arts in my home state of Pennsylvania. The program was made up of young artists in various genres (kind of like the movie Fame) from around the state, and I was in the Theater Program. The last thing I expected to learn during that time was a lesson about racism – from a fellow student.
With professionals training us, from a Broadway actress to a university theater director, we were learning from the best. Our acting program was intensive, and the sessions themselves were physically, mentally, and emotionally challenging.
While I loved the improv classes (learning to throw lobs to one another, like Who’s Line Is It Anyway), some of the other exercises we did were a little, say, stretching for me.
If you’re going to go deep into the world of acting, the training is designed to help you develop a wide range of emotional skills – affective skills – that will enable you to act more convincingly in a variety of roles.
My experience during one exercise, in particular, has come back to me in force in these troubling days of racial tension – and it feels like yesterday that it happened.