Here is a new lyric video created in collaboration with good friend and photographic designer Daniel Whisnant for the song, Doxology Anthem (Lord We Praise You). Starring Asher and the Fairview Forest. Cheers to the New Creation.
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?
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 crowd says worship expression needs to be better art (greater complexity for meaningful reach to today’s world). Another crowd says worship must maintain greater accessibility (broader, meaningful service to the Church). Both crowds are right – and both need a good talking to.
The creative expressions of worship in our time are part of the Great Art of the Church, and therefore must never been minimized – even when critiquing today’s worship subcultures. To diminish their necessity, vitality, or centrality to spiritual life – in its deepest human forms – is to lose our way in every single conversation about the topic.
What diminishes our conversations about worship? When we speak about worship as if it is a tool, a music genre or style, or even, simply put, a consumable art form for our personal devotion. This kind of language needs a hard core fix.
I asked good friend Brannon Hancock to write about the catalytic influence a deeper treatment of the Sacraments (visible signs of an inward grace), such as the Eucharist and Baptism, could have in a contemporary church’s worship life. With 10 reframing ideas, Brannon opens a sacred box for us all.
Could a generation ripe for “embodied stories” be craving worship that prioritizes the physical and the ritual to to engage the emotional and the cerebral? A generation swimming in emphases on the empirical and the immanent (see James K.A. Smith’s and Charles Taylor’s work) is responding to tangible worship practices and the enacted stories found in sacramental approaches.
Here are Brannon’s top 10 ideas, and every one opens up a world of its own. +