I am a 58 year old preacher who hangs out at three day music festivals. There are a variety or bands, the music is loud, and the air is strong with interesting aromas. Mostly what I love though is the movement. There is nothing like being in the middle of a throng of people rocking out in a sea of dancing.
Something about that experience feeds my primal nature; it rousts my passion and widens the space in my soul for the sheer exuberance of being alive. I would also say those times to me are sanctified, not in a hands-folded way, but in a fully cued up to God kind of way. It is definitely how I picture Miriam dancing, and David dancing, and perhaps even Jesus dancing at that week-long wedding celebration that ran out of wine.
So…where do we see that music passion in worship these days? Perhaps in some freed up gospel traditions, but not much in the mainline. Thirty years ago those who were choking on organ music and hymns thought praise music held the promise, but were wrong–too sanguine, too breathy, too theologically emaciated.
Instead of, “You are worthy, worthy, worthy, worthy, worthy…” just once I would like to hear a contemporary Christian artist rock out lyrics exploring the tension in being a follower of the Prince of Peace as we drone bomb other nations. Or the struggle of a young woman who is completely in love with Jesus, and is also in love with another woman. How about some real life challenges and thick theology put to music?
Yesterday, I dialed my radio to the Christian music stations for one infuriating hour; I was just checking in to see if it had gotten better. The bad news is it hasn’t. The good news, I guess, is according to every third song God is still worthy, worthy, worthy, worthy, worthy.
So, at the next music festival if you see a tall silver-haired guy in shorts and bare feet dancing his fool heart out, consider that in some incarnate way the exuberance of life is being celebrated and something akin to real worship is being experienced.
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