Skip to main content

hypodermic

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.

Comments

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.

Popular posts from this blog

what binds us together?

For the past few weeks, I have been reading a book by famed psychiatrist M. Scott Peck which chronicles his travels (together with his wife) through remote parts of the UK in search of prehistoric stones. The book is part travel journal, part spiritual musings, part psychology, and part personal anecdotes. A mixed bag, to be sure, and not always a winning combination. At one point, I considered putting the book aside, not finishing it, but then Peck started writing about community. He is no stranger to the concept. He has led hundreds of community-building workshops over the years, helped start a non-profit organisation dedicated to fostering community, and written a compelling book about the topic, one which greatly impacted me when I read it oh so long ago.[1]

In preparation for a course I am teaching next year, I have been doing quite a bit of study on unity and community. Once you start thinking about it, you see and hear evidence of it everywhere. (See my blog on the impact of b…

job hunting

I am on the hunt for a job. PhD in hand, I am a theologian for hire. The thing is, not a lot of places are hiring theologians these days, and if they are, they are usually looking for scholars with skills and experience outside my area of expertise. Today I found job opportunities for those knowledgeable in Religion, Race, and Colonialism, Philosophy and History of Religion, Islam and Society, Languages of Late Antiquity, Religion, Ethics, and Politics, and an ad for a Molecular Genetic Pathologist. Not one posting for a Dramatic Theologian with  a side order of Spirituality and a dash of Methodology.

I know, I know. My expectations are a bit unrealistic if I believe I will find an exact match for my particular skills. I know that job descriptions are wish lists to some extent, so no candidate is ever a perfect match. I also realize that one must adapt one's skill set according to the requirements of the job and be flexible. But there are so few jobs which come within ten or even…

building the church

Imagine two scenarios: 1) Give every person in the room a popsicle stick. Ask them to come together and put their sticks onto a table. Invariably, you end up with a random pile of sticks on a table. 2) Give every person in the room a popsicle stick. Show a picture of a popsicle stick bird feeder and ask people to come together and put their sticks on a table according to the picture. You will end up with the beginnings of a bird feeder on a table.

What is the difference between the two scenarios? In both, each person brought what they had and contributed it to the collective. However, in the first scenario, there were no guidelines, no plan, and no right or wrong way to pile the sticks. People came, placed their sticks on the table, and walked away. In the second scenario, people were given a plan to follow and as a result, something specific was built. Instead of walking away after they made their contribution, people huddled around the table to watch what was being built. Some were…