Saturday, November 29, 2014

Entertainment and the Church

Entertainment values are very hard to quarantine.  They invade religion.  They are attracting an audience.  They are attracting clients.  How do you attract a client to a church?  You attract people who have been conditioned by decades of entertainment ... by entertaining them.
One of the things that the mega-church movement has been doing to attract its thousands of congregants is to devise the service of worship as entertainment through music, light shows, cappuccino carts and all these things.  The congregants will feel that they are at a rock concert and the religion is thrown in as an extra.
Entertainment is pervasive in every aspect of our lives and it drives our lives.  Entertainment is such a dominant force it tends to marginalize anything that's not entertaining.
The media create expectations for us and how our lives ought to proceed.  We live within those expectations.  And we are the first generation that is able to start to live within its illusions.

- Neal Gabler, author of Life: the Movie.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Exodus & Wilderness

"In the end, it was a lot easier for God to get Israel out of Egypt than it was to get Egypt out of Israel.
The Passover and Exodus was about getting God's people out of Egypt.  The 40 years in the desert was about getting Egypt out of God's people."

- Pastor Alan Burrow

Saturday, November 1, 2014

For All Thy Saints in Warfare: An All Saints' Day Hymn

We don't generally pay much attention to All Saints' Day in the contemporary Protestant Church.  But that wasn't always the case.  Here is a great hymn for that occasion from the Glory to God: Presbyterian Hymnal written by Anglican hymn writer Horatio Bolton Nelson in 1864.  It is set to Vaughan Williams' beautiful King's Lynn.

1 For all Thy Saints in warfare,
for all your saints at rest,
Your holy name, O Jesus,
forevermore be blessed!
For those passed on before us,
we sing our praise anew
and, walking in their footsteps,
would live our lives for You.

2 We praise you for the Baptist,
forerunner of the Word,
our true Elijah, making
a highway for the Lord.
The last and greatest prophet,
he saw the dawning ray
of light that grows in splendor
until the perfect day.

3 All praise, O Lord, for Andrew,
the first to welcome You,
whose witness to his brother
named you Messiah true.
May we, with hearts kept open
to You throughout the year
proclaim to friend and neighbor
your advent ever near.

4 For Magdalene we praise you,
steadfast at cross and tomb.
Your “Mary!” in the garden
dispelled her tears and gloom.
Apostle to the apostles,
she ran to spread the word.
Send us to shout the good news
that we have seen the Lord!

5 We pray for saints we know not,
for saints still yet to be,
for grace to bear true witness
and serve You faithfully,
till all the ransomed number
who stand before the throne
ascribe all power and glory
and praise to God alone.