O give thanks to the Lord, call on his name,
make known his deeds among the peoples.
Sing to him, sing praises to him;
tell of all his wonderful works.
Psalm 105:1-2 (NRSV)
I was discussing this scripture with a friend this week -- particularly the last phrase which The Message interprets as “translate his wonders into music!” We started talking about the many ways that praise and worship are present in a Sunday service. There are the obvious elements -- prayer and sermons and singing and liturgy and the celebration of communion -- but there are other acts of praise that are less obvious, and less ephemeral.
In our context, we see the architecture of the building and stained glass in the windows, paintings by established artists and works by young children, empty crosses reminding us of the risen Christ and wooden pews that have supported generations of worshipers. Each of these is an act of praise, an example of the wonders of God being expressed in artistic creation.
We then started discussing which of these creations was most likely to speak to each of us in a worship service. I shared that -- more often than not -- music is the element that I find most fully connects me to the divine. For my friend, stained glass windows are a piece that deeply connects him with the stories of scripture and the stories of a given church location. But that conversation got me to thinking about other ways that God’s wonders are given artistic expression outside of a church building and designed worship context.
U2 was recently in Kansas City, and I know that some in our community attended and felt strongly connected to the divine through the course of the evening. Sheep Piece, the sculpture by 20th-century artist Henry Moore, is located on the lawn of the Nelson-Atkins, and predates the shuttlecocks by a couple of decades. It has always spoken to me of God’s unification of the urban and the pastoral.
If, as Paul Simon writes, “the words of the prophets are written on the subway walls and tenement halls,” where do you encounter them in your life? What element in creation calls to you of God’s wonders in the world?
September 22, 2017 - 12:00 am
500 W. 40th St. KCMO 64111(816)931-1858sunday mornings at 11:30