These are a few of the many missing pieces I long to see recovered and reintegrated into our culture of worship. They are spiritual practices and characteristics about our Creator that the Church has enjoyed for centuries. Yet for many reasons that could make for an interesting history lesson, these have become what I like to call “spiritual scarcities.”
Every generation has a set of scarcities… both social and spiritual. Many in each generation will dedicate their lives and passions toward making the scarce plentiful, so much that they may neglect what was plentiful when they were young. Next thing you know, what was once plentiful becomes scarce. Then the next generation is raised up with a set of scarcities different from their parents’.
And so the cycle continues.
For example, Generation Y (or “Millennials” as some like to call us), have been crying out for these types of social scarcities: trust, community, relevance, authenticity, transcendence, time & attention.
This obviously bleeds into our life with church community and leaders. And as pointed out above, you can see how this idea goes deeper into our worship expression and spiritual practices.
What puts wind in my sails these days is creating space to not only experience these scarcities, but to have conversations about why they are scarce in the first place.
It was an absolute honour & privilege to be a part of Chad’s trusted collective… and I have to admit, last May’s event was one of the highlights of my entire year. Not only because of the conversations that took place, but also because of the creative freedom we were given.
For instance, I brought in my little Hitachi ultra-short-throw projectors and experimented with the acoustic tiling on Rolling Hills’ stage.
We took this…
…and turned it into this!!!
and then this:
And lot of other things!
I especially liked seeing old grungy warehouse windows with rain slowly streaking down the panes while All Sons & Daughters led.
When Robbie Seay led, we projected the Stations of the Cross series on all of the panels. It just so happened that the number of stations equalled the number of squares. And so with a little help with ProPresenter and the triple-wide formats of the stills, we slowly revealed each station as Robbie’s songs progressed. It was subtle and simple…but that’s what made it beautiful. Motion “backgrounds” can be so over-rated and noisy these days. =)
I think the highlight of Luminous for me was the time Ian Cron & Stu G led us in the celebration of the Eucharist. First, Ian guided us through an “instructional liturgy,” where he talked about the meaning behind of all the ancient practices and sacraments. This was fascinating for all the modern evangelicals in the room… many of whom are craving a deeper and more sustainable diet than what contemporary worship typically provides for us. (like i said, we have some really interesting conversations at this gathering.)
After the instructional liturgy, Ian and Stu led us through the Eucharist. Ian spoke the narrative of Creation, The Fall, Christ’s Birth, Death & Resurrection… all while Stu G played the tastiest of textures on his electric guitar. In between each section of text, we would sing and repeat a chorus of “Holy, Holy, Holy God, Lord of power and might… the whole earth is filled with Your glory, Hosanna in the Highest!”
Needless to say, the environmental projection was not blank during this time. And I learned what it means to create a “visual liturgy” of sorts… and to create a journey that leads people to the sacrament of the Bread & Wine. It’s a moment I will carry with me for the rest of my life.
I’m so thrilled that Luminous is continuing, and I couldn’t be more excited about who’s coming this year. Here’s a few of the people coming:
Makoto Fujimura: author of “Refractions”, Illuminator of “The Four Holy Gospels” project, and renowned contemporary artist. His deep and zen-like understanding to visual theology reminds me that the rabbit-hole is very deep indeed, and that all of this wondering and imagination truly leads to Wonderland.
Glenn Packiam: one of my favorite worship leaders and neo-liturgists in the world. Glenn and I have had countless conversations about “spiritual scarcities” and continue to explore what it means for our worship to be “rooted in history with room for mystery.” His new EP & eBook “Discover the Mystery of Faith” will explore these conversations about recovering ancient liturgical practices. Both projects release in early March.
Ian Cron: what can i say about Ian? Ian has officially screwed me up in the best of ways. His books “Chasing Francis” and “Jesus, My Father, the CIA & Me” have been some of the most generative words I’ve read in a long time…they’ve sparked in me a genesis – a re-awakening, of sorts. And his friendship as a mentor has marked my soul in ways I could have never imagined. Needless to say, I’m glad he’s coming back this year. And I hear that we may celebrate the Eucharist again, which I’m very much looking forward to.
There are many others… each of whom I could write an entire blog post about. Gary Molander, Roy Cochran, Stephen Brewster, Nate Ragan, Dan Wilt, Jeff Goins, Melissa Greene, Keely Scott, William Guice, Tammy Hodge… just to name a few. =)
But let me be clear, Luminous will not be a time to sit back and listen to “the experts.” Luminous is truly a space to converse, commune, & be.
So if you are curious and hungry for a deeper, more Christ-centered understanding of worship & art, then I highly recommend that you come and join the party. You won’t get any 7-step process on how to be a stronger worship leader or how to execute Sunday morning more perfectly. But instead, you will be transformed. Your soul will be stretched, your heart will get messed up, and the noise in your head will quiet. And THAT is what will make you a better worship leader, artist, creative director, tech guru and worshiper of the Father, Son & Holy Spirit.
This post was inspired by the Luminous Project. Luminous is a creative spiritual event in Nashville May 1-3, 2013. To find out more, check out luminousproject.com. You can use the promo code ‘BRINGitHERE’ to get 35% off the registration price.