Scary Mission!

Following from the Mrs Beamish clip in an earlier post, here’s one of my favourite modern hymns, composed by Marty Haugen.  this isnt the best version I’ve heard, but is the best i could find on youtube (and it sounds great on a decent organ at the correct speed!).

Another I love (although it ends rather abruptly in this clip, also composed by Marty Haugen):

Both speak of our need, of God’s love, of our presence and position in society and our need to challenge the things which detract and diminish human life.  They speak of hope, service, mission, community, diversity and faith.  the one thing I dont like of them (and this goes for most religious music ever written) is the expectation of others to come to us – that we will welcome them and make them feel whole once they are  inside our walls and doing what we enjoy doing on a Sunday morning. But if we regard “this place” as God’s grace, God’s Kingdom rather than the place defined by our walls and pews, they are most definately a recognition of the fact that our job is not only to minister to those who come to our services, but to those outside our walls, and to equip those who are already in “this place” to do the same.  “let us build a place where hands will reach beyond the wood and stone, to heal and strengthen, serve and teach, and live the word they’ve known” – a call to mission, a recognition that the calling of the whole people of God together is to live and share  faith, hope, wisdom and care in the communities in which they live, work and find their solace.

For many in the church (and I’m speaking of clergy as well as congregations) this is threatening – it demands changes in perception of what church is, of what ministry is, and  sometimes a letting go of our nice traditions and safe, comfortable liturgies to reach those for whom such things make no sense.  Figuring out how to lead in such situations, how to guide a flock to discern the changes they need to encompass, to enable them to envision a future in which the church may be dealing with issues and people and worship styles/liturgies alien or outside of their comfort zone, outside of their buildings even  – there is the hard task.

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