My Sermon Notes, Beauty, Chicago, Derek Webb, Phaedra's art, the Creed in Song and Hauerwas

School at the moment is cooking my goose. But before I jumped on a plane for Chicago (in less than an hour), I wanted to drop a handful of things here.

The audio of my sermon is up online (hear here). The rector at my church All Saints Anglican, Father Steve Breedlove, kindly offered me the opportunity to preach. I felt honored as well as the responsibility to prepare well. Let me say two things about the sermon. One, listening to it online is a little like listening to a play through the telephone: it doesn't quite transfer. Not only did the subject deal with a kinetic aspect of Anglican worship, there was a lot of kinetic activity that took place during my sermon. So you'll have to imagine what's happening "on the other end" of the audio line.

Two, there was much that could have been said in this sermon. But with 29 minutes you can only do so much. I'll drop here a part of the sermon that, for me, was key. In this section I explore three theological implications for our bodies in worship.

First implication: God creates us as whole persons. The Scriptures remind us here that we don’t have a body, we are somebody.

Second implication: The gospel claims us as whole persons. The first and greatest commandment, Jesus reminds us, is to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, soul, mind and strength. In Rom. 12:1 St. Paul writes, “I urge you, brethren, in light of God’s mercy to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God.” This is something that we get to do in corporate worship: to offer to God our bodies, not just our minds or emotions.

The third implication is this: What the Anglican liturgy does is to train our whole persons in the basic rhythms of the gospel. What I mean is this. In the liturgy we do not simply declare the gospel, we perform the gospel. In the liturgy we do not simply recall, we re-member with our whole selves the whole of Christ’s life. We dramatically anticipate today our destiny at the end of the age, when Christ will have consummated all things. One of the things that I love about the Anglican liturgy is that in it we get to rehearse, week after week, year after year, the narrative of Christ’s life: his coming and his sending, his prayers and his peace, his speaking his Word to us and his giving his Life for us, his ascetic simplicity and his festal abundance. We rehearse this narrative weekly because, among other reasons, we live in an entropically fallen world where humans forget the gospel and break down on a regular basis. So we need to re-train ourselves in this narrative—and it remains alive and fresh and new every week because the Holy Spirit makes it alive and fresh and new to us every time we gather in Jesus’ name.

In the liturgy, dear friends, we aren’t left as spectators to the divine drama. We get to be participants. We get to be participants who play themselves into the role of Christ’s life. [Cf. Richard Hooker.]"

Some very exciting things are happening on the art front for Phaedra. See here for info on her new studio. See here to view new work, new exhibits and new opportunities for purchasing artwork.

Tonight and tomorrow morning I'll be meeting with a group of church planters in Chicago. I'm excited for the opportunity to explore with them ways in which the arts can serve the worship, community and mission of their churches.  Three things I look forward to. I can't wait to eat deep dish pizza. I can't wait to see again the architecture that surrounds Batman every time he flies through Gotham City. And of course I can't wait to see what the Spirit will open up for us in our conversations.

I had a chance to chat with Derek back at Crowder's worship conference a month back. What a great guy. He sent me an early preview of his new album, "Feedback," and I quite like it. With this album he explores "a classically composed, instrumental, electronic record based strictly on the 'Lord's Prayer'." Here are two videos of note: one which introduces the album and another which introduces us to the artist (Scott Erickson) who created work to accompany the album.

Feedback [2.1] from Scott Brignac on Vimeo.

The Making of the "Feedback" Paintings from scott erickson on Vimeo.

Here is a review of my book, For the Beauty of the Church, by The Christian Century. I was grateful that they wanted to review it and I found the review engagingly curious.

Check out this great new album that my friend Bruce Benedict pulled together. Very nice. Well done, musicians (and Brian Moss, my man).

I really like how Stanley Hauerwas puts it here:

“Imagination is morally required because we refuse to allow the ‘necessities’ of the world, which are often but stale habits, to go unchanged or unchallenged when they are in fact susceptible to the power of imagination” (In “On Keeping Theological Ethics Imaginative,” 55).


kylesteed said…
Thank you for sharing the videos of Derek Webb's new album. I ended up purchasing it last night after watching the "making of" video with the artist who created all the paintings. It fit perfectly in line with an article I just wrote on my blog called "Artist and the Kingdom of God". I would love to connect with you sometime and hear what the Lord is saying to you in this season. It's refreshing to see other parts of the Body as passionate about art as I am.
Kyle, thanks for your note. Great to see what you're doing (on your website). And you're right to be encouraged by discovering others with similar passion. It's a growing tribe.

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