Friday, March 13, 2009


For: The Institute of Contemporary And Emerging Worship Studies, St. Stephen's University, Essentials Red Online Worship History Course with Dan Wilt

Have you ever heard a song or watched a movie or gazed at a painting or let your eyes wander over a sculpture or felt a drumbeat deep in your chest and for some unexplainable reason, you felt like you were in love? We have been discussing the role of art and music in worship this week and from the many stories that people posted, I could see that each person, at some point, has been deeply moved by some simple creative offering by another member of the human race.

Some of these works of art were complex and masterful, some were simple and childlike, others were works in process or centuries old. The creative power of a human soul turned towards God catches us in places where we are not guarded and it pricks us. It gets under our skin before we even realise that we have been invaded and spreads its strong emotion and enlarging vision through our spiritual system and changes us.

We are a thick skinned lot in modern Western civilisation. Our intellects are strong and our wills keep much of life at a safe distance. There is more and more information and media coming at us every day and we have become a people who are not easily moved. But I want to be easily moved by God. I want strength and sensitivity in equal measure and the ability to know when each is appropriate.

I am currently listening to the new U2 project and the song that has grabbed me is "Moment of Surrender." Some of the lyrics are:

Its not if I believe in love
If love believes in me
Oh believe in me

At the moment of surrender
I'm falling to my knees
I did not notice the passers by
And they did not notice me.

I was speeding off the subway
Through the stations of the cross
Every eye looking every other way
Counting down till the pain will stop

At the moment of surrender
A vision of a visibility
I did not notice the passers by
And they did not notice me [1]

The music that undergirds the line, "at the moment of surrender," says something much more than the lyrics. It lifts and pleads and almost resolves but still stays afloat and gets under my skin. And so I listen to it over and over again until I hope I finally get the point, the surrender point.

Yes, I want this whole creative effort of my life to be one that has many moments of surrender. Too often I find myself drawn to visibility instead of vision. The hypodermic needle of music has once again pricked me in a way that I cannot ignore.

This is a picture from the retreat just outside of Beaverton, Ontario.


Shelley said...

I love when that happens Matte. For me it is usually inexplicable to anyone else...which is the part I don't like. But they are precious, connecting moments that seem to stop time.

Shelley said...

connecting to the inside i mean, to something tender and very real, more real than our 'outside' life.