Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Mourning, struggles and celebration

For church, the last two Tuesday nights, we've split the gathering into four different sections: Welcome, Worship, Word and Witness. (I don't agree with the compartmentalisation, but have been working with it.) Each gathering a different person has organised each section, and last night I got to 'lead' the 'Worship' segment.

I talked a little bit about how most of the time, in terms of musical worship, we think of celebratory songs, although there is a much wider variety of songs included in the Psalms. There are psalms of celebration, but there are also psalms for times of mourning, and times of struggles.

Come to where I'm from
As an example of a song of mourning, I chose 'In the Sun' from Jospeh Arthur's album, Come to where I'm from. I chose this because Arthur's protagonist sounds like he is finding it hard to find hope, isn't sure if he even believes in God when he says, 'May God's love be with you.' I thought it might help us come to terms with the fact that a lot of people in our society haven't been finding a lot of hope in the Christian idea of God, and are trying to work out for themselves what they believe ('If I find my own way / How much will I find?').

As an example of a song of struggles, I used 'Who will Save Your Soul?' from Spirit by Jewel. I chose this song because it confronts many of the problems people face trying to survive. I also chose it because rather than expecting God to fix everything, it repeats 'Who will save your souls if you won't save your own?' implying that we've also our own responsibility to work towards making things work again.
Some stuff that other people came up with is that when Jewel sings 'Who will save your soul when it comes to the flowers,' she might mean the flowers at a funeral.
Also, when she sings, 'So we pray to as many different gods as there are flowers,' this could be a reference to how we try to get security from so many things other than, or as well as, God.

(comes after 'calibration' in the dictionary)
I didn't just put the celebration song at the end to finish on a high. I put it last also because before we can really celebrate, we need to mourn to come to terms with our losses, and to struggle, so that we can get to a point where we can celebrate again. A lot of the time in our public gatherings, we Christians just try to celebarte and celebrate, and I wonder why my heart isn't always into it. I think this is because we don't go through the mourning and struggles, and so there isn't much to celebrate. It's like we're trying to pretend we're still living in the Christian Era - something a lot of us never even experienced.
How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb
For this I chose 'All because of You' from U2's How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, because I understand it as a song celebrating the fact that even though I'm pretty stuffed up, God's fixing me up.
We had a couple of different interpretations of the bridge:

I'm alive
I'm being born
I just arrived, I'm at the door
Of the place I started out from
And I want back inside
I'm pretty sure both interpretations were that it was talking about being reborn as a follower of Messiah. However, one interpretations was that it was saying 'I want back inside' 'the place I started out from' because following Messiah is hard, and the protagonist wants to go back to their old way life.
One of the ways I look at it, it seems that the protagonist has not yet gone through the 'door', and is anticipating going back to 'the place I started out from', 'back inside' God's family.


Tab said...

Hey Chris.
thanx for that time you lead. You know, it's not just people who don't follow Jesus who wonder if I find my own way/howmuch will I findI'm probably not a "good crhistain" for saying this, however, I wonder that sometimes. I love God, I have commited to following Jesus for the rest of my life. But sometimes I wonder. When I get hurt buy other poeple who say they're following Jesus, or by the politics of the traditional church, or I get mad at how blinded by selfrighteous I can be, I sometimes wonder. Is God's love real or do we make it up? Am I living a lie that makes me happy? Am I really selling myself short by not chosing me first?

I guess it's spiritual depression or something. But it's real. Most of the time I know that following Jesus is the only life that's real. Most of the time, I don't question God's love or existance.

But for those times I do - I related to that song. And to acknowledge that, you're right, it makes the celebration stronger.

Christop said...

Yeah, I agree. I often listen to that song when I'm doubting, because it helps me to confront my doubts.