March 23, 2006

missions conference

today I played music for day 3 of the Erskine Missions Conference. it was a great week of teaching and singing. I have no idea why they asked me, a white American, to do music when we had such great leading from our Korean and Mexican students, but it was a great opportunity for me to meditate on the call to missions, whether at home or abroad.

the songs I did were as follows
  • "take to the world" by aaron tate, sung by derek webb. brilliant lyric: "take the bread on your tongue / and leave a trail of crumbs / to lead the hungry back to the place that you are from". that line didn't really catch me until this week.
  • "share the well" by randall goodgame, sung by caedmon's call. shared the story behind the song concerning the Dalit Freedom Network and the lyric's relation to Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well and sharing with her the "living water"
  • "this road" by jars of clay. great song written as a prayer for the underground church in China. followed it up with the first verse of "for the beauty of the earth"
  • closing song: "great is the Lord" by michael w. smith, followed by first verse of "all creatures of our God and King"

getting to lead music, no matter what setting, really forces me to meditate on the texts that are being sung, and in turn meditate upon the truths of Scripture which they express. it has made me realize that I can't use throw-away lyrics in worship. an ill-spent word can mean the message being lost among the syllables. doing a wider variety of songs is inspiring me to want to write songs again, but seeing the weightiness of writing meaningful lyrics is almost paralyzing when I pick up the pen. I have also been listening to a set of lectures that Kevin Twit just gave at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary on the "hymn movement". most fascinating is the 3rd lecture on engaging the emerging church.

Exploring the 'Why' behind the Modern Hymn Movement Part 1 (MP3) -- Lecture Notes (pdf)
Exploring the 'Why' behind the Modern Hymn Movement Part 2 (MP3)
Engaging the Emerging Church with Hymns (MP3) -- Lecture Notes (pdf)

For more lectures, visit Southern's Institute Of Christian Worship lecture page.

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