Saturday, June 23, 2012

Improv is for Historians

Much of contemporary worship is like a parody written and performed by those who have never seen the original.

Contemporary worship has earned the reputation of casting off the traditional liturgy in favor of a more relaxed spontaneity. However, as an artist, I can testify that improvisation is a skill that demands a prerequisite understanding of the historic form of the art. It only SEEMS spontaneous. Since we are the people of the Word, we cannot allow our worship to become ad lib (off book). God delights when our worship has creative flourish, but, as with improv, such flair only makes sense within context.

A lecture on the merits of rehearsal to develop a guitar player does little to motivate a young boy toward discipline. However, if the same young man sees a brilliant guitarist play with skill, he will be more inclined to give his attention to preparing himself by imitating the disciplines of those who are further ahead than he. Once he has mastered those habits, he can begin to make variations on that theme. 

Worship is that vision of what the world and we can be. Since we have little time each week to devote to casting this vision, we must be diligent in its preparation. Christian corporate worship is designed to give Glory to God in such a way that shapes the redemptive imagination of the Body of Christ. When the human imagination is stirred to ponder and desire the eschatological realization of the Kingdom of God, his weekly devotion to discipleship and mission will become more fervent.

We can’t just wing that kind of inspiration.

1 comment:

Halcyon said...

Wow. That last paragraph is an absolute money shot.

Oh, and I'm glad to see that your blog is not dead. 8^)