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February 22, 2008

Stay

"Stay (Faraway, So Close!)" is a gorgeous song off of U2's all-too-frequently overlooked album Zooropa. It works very, very well with nothing but one guitar and one voice to lead it; indeed, U2 often do it acoustically with just The Edge and Bono, and I've found that congregations can with coaching do The Edge's vocal part fairly easily.

I think it works as a Confession of Need (as in need for healing), but thus far, I've placed it in U2charist services as a prelude -- something that does a bit of tone-setting as people are coming in. U2 fanatics sing along, and since it was never a big single, others tend to join in mostly when invited to do so explicitly by the usual concert cues -- the singer (and this is one reason to do it live!) can step away from the microphone or point the microphone toward the congregation and just sing loudly enough for the first 15 rows of people to hear singing without amplification. Ear-cupping works as well. It's not the orans position -- indeed, that gesture doesn't have a Latin name at all that I know -- but it's about leading worship in a way that invites full participation from everyone present. And "Stay" is brilliant as a prelude, not only because it's a very cool song that can be done solo and acoustic (and therefore won't steal thunder from an opening hymn), but also because there's this part, normally sung in U2 concerts by The Edge just before and during the final verse, that's just a series of soaring "ohs," and congregations do that almost instantly when invited.

So "Stay" is a potential tone-setter in multiple ways. It's one of U2's more explicitly "God-talky" songs among their recent material, while still being very grounded in everyday realities. And doing it as a prelude live -- and inviting the congregation to sing the "ohs" at least -- can introduce the congregation to your intention that this is a worship service, not a concert, and that everyone will be invited to participate.

Along those lines, I also have started offering to do a session before a U2charist (either a week before at the same time, or two to three hours beforehand, so I can rest my voice and hands before the service) in which people who are intrigued by the concept but don't actually know U2's songs very well (there are quite a few people who fit that description -- especially when it comes to U2 songs, such as "Yahweh," which are great for U2charists but have never been singles or gotten much radio play). It seems to do a great deal for the congregation's experience of the service. If you've got a worship leader in your congregation who can do that -- even if s/he's doing it to a backdrop of recorded music -- that pre-service opportunity can be very helpful.

February 22, 2008 in Acoustic music, Confessions, Music, Music tips (live), Playlists/song choices, Preludes, Small bands (i.e., songs that work without bass and/or drums) | Permalink | Comments (0)

February 19, 2008

U2charist with live music @ Hancock UCC March 4

I'll be singing and playing guitar alongside Elisa Lucozzi, drummer extraodinaire, at a U2charist at Hancock (Massachusetts) UCC on the evening of March 4th. If you're in the area and would like to experience a U2charist with live music -- or to see how you can do a U2charist with entirely live music when you've only got two musicians -- please save the date! We're planning a session in the early evening at which anyone who wants to come to the service but isn't familiar with U2's music can learn songs we'll be singing, then have a break for my voice and Elisa's hands to recover, and then the service will start. I'll announce the exact times soon.

Blessings, and I hope to see some SarahLaughed.net readers there!

Dylan

February 19, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0)

what if I want to do music for the U2charist live, but don't have a full band?

A lot of folks would like to do some or all of the music for their U2charist live, but don't have access to a full band. No problem! Obviously, having a bass player and a lead guitarist with good effects (U2's trademark sound is in large part about The Edge's use of multiple delay effects) is nice. However, most U2 songs are very simple -- two or three chords, in many cases -- and can be done quite well with just a competent rhythm guitarist and a drummer (djembe/congas, even). Here are some songs that I've done with that arrangement:

  • All I Want Is You
  • I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
  • Walk On
  • Peace on Earth
  • I Will Follow (playing the full chords E and A instead of just the two strings The Edge uses for the song -- with just the two strings and no bass, the song sounds very thin)
  • Gloria (again, with full chords instead of high lead tones)
  • Wake Up Dead Man
  • Stuck in a Moment
  • Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own
  • Yahweh
  • God Part II (done as a blues song, with the rhythm guitarist giving more of a bassy feel by playing the A-string two frets higher with her/his pinkie on the 2 and 4 beats)
  • Sunday Bloody Sunday (listen to the solo acoustic version The Edge has done live)
  • Desire
  • Stay (Faraway, So Close!)
  • Staring at the Sun
  • Bad
  • Running to Stand Still
  • "40"


Believe it or not, I've even done "MoFo" from the heavily-electronic album Pop as a solo acoustic blues song.


This isn't an exhaustive list by any means. If you want some more ideas about songs that work well without a full band or with acoustic instruments only, I highly recommend checking out what songs U2 has done in acoustic sets in concert. U2's concert DVDs are one way to see those acoustic sets, but fans have also posted U2 doing songs acoustic on YouTube. If you do an advanced Google search for pages including all the words "U2 guitar tabs" and the exact phrase "[the title of the song you want]," you'll find you don't even have to work to figure out what the chords are for most songs.


In short, if you've got one person in your youth group who can play the chords 'E' and 'A' and who owns a capo, you can do a lot of U2 material live, provided you meet the criteria U2 have set up for doing so (i.e., it's billed as a worship service and not a concert, and all money collected at the service goes to an organization working to advance the Millennium Development Goals).


And know that if you've got questions, you can email me; I do my best to answer such questions promptly.


February 19, 2008 in Music tips (live), U2charist F.A.Q. | Permalink | Comments (0)

February 13, 2008

prayer and playlist from the SOS Community

By way of Bob Carlton, a U2charist liturgy used by the SOS community in California, crafted by Catie Greene, using sources from the Wild Goose Worship Group and others:

U2charist

“I Want” and “How Long?” – Hunger and Hope

St. Mark’s Episcopal Church

February 12, 2006

Gathering: (stationary slide – text over image - up before start of service. Background music playing as people arrive.)

Welcome. We come together to engage our minds, bodies and souls in the Spirit of God. Drawing on the spiritual and cultural messages of the music of U2, this worship directs us towards faith in God to give meaning to our human struggles. Through music, and word, and action we acknowledge our longing and celebrate our hope.

This U2charist is a creative work, just as we all are. You are encouraged to sing, and move, and participate as you feel comfortable. Just join in as you are, and bear with us as we are, and we will all be changed as we go.

(20 seconds silence/no music, greeters dim lights, before opening songs and slideshows)

Opening:

(songs and images. Lyrics printed on paper handout.)

“Where the Streets Have No Name” (images of natural disasters)

(music transitions)

“Sunday Bloody Sunday” (images of human disasters)

(slideshow goes to blank slide at end. Music transitions from song to just background. After a few moments, the leader steps out to open with prayer and prayer slide goes up.)

Prayer:

(leader stands)

(slide)

We gather here in your presence, God,

In our need and bringing with us the needs of the world.

We come with our faith and with our doubts;

We come with our hopes and our hunger.

We come as we are, because you invite us to come

And you have promised never to turn us away.

Open us, God, to experience you here.

All Respond: Amen.

(percussive rhythm starts, no background music)

Word: (interactive reading – mixture of scripture and text from “Still haven’t found.” Leader introduces by saying:

Our prayer for tonight is for transformation,

for help in redirecting our world from death into life.

Throughout history,

God has commissioned prophets to point our way towards transformation

– many and varied voices speaking words of both warning and promise to us.

On the screen behind me you will see such words displayed,

written by the evangelists, St. Mark and Bono.

I invite you to lend your own prophetic voice to these words,

speaking the parts assigned to you

– the left side and the right side.

In our speaking and in our listening,

may we begin to discern the way.

Slides are put up one at a time with the congregation reading their parts. Percussion as only background)

(Slide 1)

◄Left Side says together:

A leper came to Jesus, begging on his knees,

“If you want to, you can cleanse me.”

►Right Side say together:

Deeply moved, Jesus put out his hand, touched him, and said,

“I want to. Be clean.”

Then and there the leprosy was gone,

his skin smooth and healthy.

(Slide 2)

All say together:

I have climbed highest mountain

I have run through the fields

Only to be with you

Only to be with you

(Slide 3)

◄ Left Side says together:

The crowd brought a paraplegic to Jesus,

Carried by four men.

When they weren’t able to get in to him,

Because of the crowd,

They removed part of the roof

And lowered the paraplegic on his stretcher.

► Right Side say together:

Impressed by their bold belief,

Jesus said to the paraplegic,

“Son, I forgive your sins.

Get up.

Pick up your stretcher and go home.”

And the man did it.

(Slide 4)

All say together:

I have run

I have crawled

I have scaled these city walls

These city walls

Only to be with you

(Slide 5)

◄ Left Side says together:

They came to Simon and Andrew’s house

With James and John.

Simon’s mother-in-law was sick in bed,

Burning up with fever.

They told Jesus.

► Right Side say together:

He went to her,

Took her hand,

And raised her up.

Then the fever left her

And she waited on them.

(Slide 6)

All say together:

I have kissed honey lips

Felt the healing in her fingertips

It burned like fire

This burning desire

(Slide 7)

◄ Left Side says together:

In their meeting place there was a man,

Deeply disturbed and yelling out

“What business do you have here with us,

Jesus of

Nazareth

!

I know what you’re up to!

You’re the Holy One of God,

And you’ve come to destroy us!”

► Right Side say together:

Jesus shut him up:

“Quiet! Get out of him!”

The afflicting spirit threw the man into spasms,

Protesting loudly,

And got out.

(Slide 8)

All say together:

I have spoke with the tongue of angels

I have held the hand of the devil

It was warm in the night

I was cold as stone

(Slide 9)

◄ Left Side says together:

Jesus said, “How can we picture God’s kingdom?

What kind of story can we use?”

It is like a mustard seed,

when it lands on the ground.

► Right Side say together:

It is the smallest of all seeds,

Yet once it is planted it grows

Into a huge plant with large branches,

So that all the birds of the sky

Can nest in its shade.

(Slide 10)

All say together:

I believe in the kingdom come

Then all the colors will bleed into one

Bleed into one

Well yes I’m still running

(Slide 11)

◄ Left Side says together:

James and John, Zebedee’s sons, came to Jesus.

“Teacher, we have something we want you to do for us.”

► Right Side say together:

“What is it? What do you wish for me to do?

◄ Left Side says together:

“Arrange it,” they said, “so that we will be awarded

The highest places of honor

In your glory

► Right Side say together:

One of us on our right,

◄ Left Side says together:

The other on your left.”

►Right Side say together:

Jesus said, “You have no idea what you’re asking.

Are you capable of drinking the cup I drink,

Of being baptized in the baptism

I’m about to be plunged into?”

(Slide 12)

All say together:

You broke the bonds and you

Loosed the chains

Carried the cross

Of my shame

Of my shame

You know I believed it.

(Slide 13)

All say together:

But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.

Reflection: (Matt – 7 mins. Max. Ryan playing chords of “Still” behind speaking, building up to the start of the song immediately following the sermon)

Reflection Song: (candle lighting during song)

Song: “I Still Haven’t found what I’m looking for” (slideshow images of candles and other images of light)

(background music)

Prayers:

(no slide - spoken by leader)

We light these candles as symbols of God’s light in a dark world,

Symbols of the light within us,

And symbols of hope.

Let us stand and pray,

And sing our response.

(Slide 1)

God, we share with you now all that we hunger for, in our lives, in our faith and in our world.

(You are invited to share your prayers either silently or aloud)

For all that we name, silently and aloud, fill us with your healing grace.

All Respond Be our light, be our light on the path.

(Slide 2)

God, we share with you now all that we hope for, in our lives, in our faith, and in our world.

(You are invited to share your prayers either silently or aloud)

For all that we name, silently and aloud, thank you for your faithful promise.

All Respond Be our light, be our light on the path.

(Slide 3)

God sometimes we can’t even find the door.

We stumble around in the dark.

We lose our way.

We can’t see even where to put our feet.

Let alone see the end of the journey.

All Respond Be our light, be our light on the path.

(Slide 4)

We will stop and take a deep breath.

We will open our eyes to the possibilities.

We will pray for light.

Show us the way, God.

Calm our minds and soothe our souls.

Show us the way, and we will go.

All Respond Be our light, be our light on the path.

(Slide 5)

All Say together: (speak “And now we say together”)

O God, lead us from death to life,

From falsehood to truth.

Lead us from despair to hope,

From fear to trust.

Lead us from hate to love,

From war to peace.

Let peace fill our hearts,

Our world, our universe.

All Respond Be our light, be our light on the path.

Please extinguish your candle.

Invitation:

(stationary blank slide. Silence, no music))

Celebrant says:

This is the table of God.

It is to be made ready

for those who trust in God’s incarnate love

and those who want to know it.

So, come,

You who have much faith

And you who have little

You who have been here often

And you who have not been for a long time,

You who have tried to follow

And you who have failed.

Come,

Not because it is I who invite you: But God.

God desires to meet you here.

During the song please come forward and gather around this table of thanksgiving.

(Slide) (Music kicks in)

During the song please come forward and gather around the altar – the table of thanksgiving – in concentric circles. Please help children and those in need to stand or sit where they can best participate. Please join in singing as you feel comfortable.

(Slide)

Song: “40” (Band only)

I waited patiently for the Lord
He inclined and heard my cry
He brought me up out of the pit
Out of the miry clay

I will sing, sing a new song
I will sing, sing a new song

How long to sing this song?
How long to sing this song?
How long...how long...how long...
How long...to sing this song

He set my feet upon a rock
And made my footsteps firm
Many will see
Many will see and fear

I will sing, sing a new song
I will sing, sing a new song
I will sing, sing a new song
I will sing, sing a new song

How long to sing this song?
How long to sing this song?
How long...how long...how long...

Thanksgivings: (congregation is gathered around the altar. No music)

(no slide)

Celebrant:

As we approach sharing communion, let us express our gratitude to God for what is important to us at this time, whether that be ordinary or special. Please speak your thanksgivings, either silently or aloud. (people add petitions)

For this time and this place, and those around us. For our freedom to worship and name you, thank you God

(no slide)

Celebrant continues:

Gratitude, praise,

Hearts lifted high,

Voices full and joyful…

These you deserve

For you gave us the gift of your son, Jesus.

For us he was born,

For us he healed,

Preached, taught

And showed the way to heaven;

For us he was crucified,

And for us, after death,

He rose again.

Holy God,

Present with us now,

For all that you have done

And all that you have promised,

What have we to offer?

Our hands are empty,

Our hearts are sometimes full of wrong things.

We are not fit to gather up the crumbs

From under your table.

But with you is mercy

And the power to change us.

Among friends, gathered around a table,

Jesus took bread, broke it and said,

“This is my body, broken for you.”

And later he took the cup of wine and said,

“This is the new relationship with God,

Made possible because of my death.

Take this – all of you – to remember me.”

So as we do in this place

What he did in an upstairs room,

Send down your Holy spirit

On us

And on these gifts of bread and wine

That they may become for us your body,

Healing, forgiving,

And making us whole;

And that we may become,

For you,

Your body,

Loving and caring in the world

Until your kingdom comes. Amen.

(fraction)

Jesus Christ, be known to us in the breaking of the bread and in the sharing of the cup.

These are the gifts of God

For the people of God.

Communion:

(commune choir and band first.)

(slide)

All who seek Christ are invited to receive the blessed bread and wine, which are served at stations in front of the altar. After receiving communion, or if you do not wish to receive at this time, please return to your seat for the conclusion of the service.

Song: “One” (images of mission trip, families, people at their best. Band only))

Is it getting better
Or do you feel the same
Will it make it easier on you now
You got someone to blame
You say...

One love
One life
When it's one need
In the night
One love
We get to share it
Leaves you baby if you
Don't care for it

Did I disappoint you
Or leave a bad taste in your mouth
You act like you never had love
And you want me to go without
Well it's...

Too late
Tonight
To drag the past out into the light
We're one, but we're not the same
We get to
Carry each other
Carry each other
One...

Have you come here for forgiveness
Have you come to raise the dead
Have you come here to play Jesus
To the lepers in your head

Did I ask too much
More than a lot
You gave me nothing
Now it's all I got
We're one
But we're not the same
Well we
Hurt each other
Then we do it again
You say
Love is a temple
Love a higher law
Love is a temple
Love the higher law
You ask me to enter
But then you make me crawl
And I can't be holding on
To what you got
When all you got is hurt

One love
One blood
One life
You got to do what you should
One life
With each other
Sisters
Brothers
One life
But we're not the same
We get to
Carry each other
Carry each other

One...life

One

Concluding Prayer: (said together)

(Slide – when leader starts)

All say together:

Holy God,

You have put your life into our hands;

Now we put our lives into yours.

Take us,

Renew and remake us.

What we have been is past;

What we shall be through you,

Still awaits us.

Lead us on.

Take us with you. Amen.

Blessing:

Announcements: (ONE movie followed by slide with offering information)

Song: “Elevation” (images of the spirit i.e. birds, bubbles, clouds, mountain tops, sunrises, light rays, fire, waterfalls)

Peace:

(Slide)

Not an easy peace,

Not an insignificant peace,

Not a half-hearted peace,

But the peace of God

Is with us now.

Let us share it with each other and go out in peace.

Peace be with you!

All respond: And also with you!

February 13, 2008 in Dismissals, Playlists/song choices | Permalink | Comments (0)

February 10, 2008

When Love Comes to Town

"When Love Comes to Town" is a great song for U2charists. While it isn't one of U2's most popular songs, and therefore a lot of people won't be familiar with it going into the service, the song is simple enough and has a simple enough structure for people to catch on quickly. And it works particularly well if you're doing the music live rather than having people sing along to records. It's not hard to do live, either; this is one of the easiest U2 songs to play, with easy chords and no elaborate guitar effects. If you've got someone in your youth group who can play the chords E, A, and B -- and that's a classic blues structure that most guitarists know -- you can do a good version of "When Love Comes to Town." Some of the advantages of doing this song live:

  • You can eliminate the guitar solos -- which is particularly good to do considering that there are two guitarists soloing.
  • You can do the "hey yeah yeahs" as a call and response with the congregation, which is something that even those who are totally unfamiliar with U2's music can catch on to very quickly, and that can really build energy in the congregation.
  • You can include, if you'd like, spoken elements of the liturgy (see below) in the middle of the song or play the song just instrumentally while the congregation says spoken elements of liturgy at the beginning or end of the song -- and keeping the music going can help to keep the momentum of the service going.

So if you're doing this song, where best to put it? Some people have used it as an absolution. That makes some sense, as it's definitely a song about sin (actions the character speaking in the song regrets) and redemption (particularly in the chorus). I think it works MUCH better as a confession of sin, though, for the following reasons:

  • The song is set entirely in the past and hints at a future "when love comes to town," but for the most part is NOT set in the present. Absolution is about receiving forgiveness in the present; confession is about things that have happened in the past and amendment of life one intends in the future. In other words, the time frame in which the song is set matches the pattern for confession almost perfectly, and absolution not particularly well.
  • "When Love Comes to Town" fits the pattern of confession darn near perfectly: its verses catalog regrettable things the speaker has done, and the chorus -- the part of the song that speaks of the future rather than the past -- talks about the speaker's intent to undergo amendment of life (instead of being lost, breaking promises, and standing idly by in the face of Christ's suffering in the world, the speaker wants to get on board with love "when love comes to town"). It fits the pattern of confession too well, in my opinion, to ignore for that spot.
  • Finally, and most importantly, "When Love Comes to Town" is spoken entirely in one voice -- the voice of the speaker, who has done these regrettable things and hopes to change. An absolution speaks of someone else (God) offering forgiveness for sins committed. Without a voice in the song other than that of the contrite speaker, "When Love Comes to Town" only hints at absolution, in my view.

So, for all of these reasons, I think "When Love Comes to Town" works very well, and works best as a confession, or as part of one.

February 10, 2008 in Absolutions, Confessions, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

February 07, 2008

a U2charist sermon from Christopher Sharen

"Crossing the Great Chasm"

Marquand Chapel
Yale Divinity School

September 28, 2007

Texts: Amos 6:1-7, Psalm 40, Luke 16:19-31

Chasma mega, says the Greek text. It couldn’t be clearer, even for someone whose Greek skills are rusty as the old hammer I left out by the garage last winter. As Luke’s gospel narrates this tale of Jesus, the rich man did not just “pass away” after a “long and fulfilled life.” As you can see from the beautiful 1000-year-old illustration I passed out, the rich man went to hell, and is tormented there. He cries out for mercy from Father Abraham in heaven, who is holding and comforting the beggar Lazarus. “You enjoyed life, and now you are suffering” Abraham tells him. “Lazarus suffered and now is receiving comfort. Besides that, have you not noticed the Chasma mega, the huge chasm, gaping between us?” “No one,” Abraham says, “can cross, not even if they wanted.” I unfortunately cannot find a way to identify with Lazarus. I am, like it or not, more like the rich man than anyone else in the story. But, to quote a favorite line from Monty Python, I’m not dead yet. I want to overcome the chasm; I want to listen to the thundering of Moses and the Prophets before it is too late.

But how? How to bridge the chasm?

Perhaps individual action is a way. Our family has intentionally sponsored a child through Save the Children. Her name is Rose Delesani, and she lives with her family in Milambe, Malawi. We write back and forth, although infrequently. We pray for her daily. Whenever my kids sell a dozen eggs (yes, we have 7 chickens in the back yard), we put the four dollars in a jar on top of the fridge “for Rose.” Statistics hardly tell the story that needs telling; yet in their starkness they point to a chasm between us.

Malawi:                          USA:

Life expectancy: 40              Life expectancy: 77.6
Per capita income: <$2 per day   Per capita income: $37,500
25% of children under 5          <2.5% of children
    malnourished                     malnourished
HIV/AIDS infection rate: 15%     HIV/AIDS infection rate: .3%

It is in one sense laughable, our sponsorship of Rose. We give out of our overwhelming abundance. We live in a very nice home in Westville, have all we need with extra to spare, and we give out of our extra. Through giving that extra, we trick ourselves into self-congratulatory justification of our relative wealth. What about a God who is like the widow who put her last coin in the offering? What of Jesus whose commitment to overturning the powers of this world cost him his very life?

Our closing song today, titled “Walk On,” points us deeper as we try to find a way to bridge the chasm.It is a song that directly connects to the Burmese “Saffron” revolution that has been growing over the last weeks.

In March 2000 U2 shared the Dublin “Freedom of the City” award with a Burmese academic named Aung San Suu Kyi. The band had not heard of her, but found out that she had left her academic position and her family in Oxford to return to challenge the military junta running her country. As the leader of the opposition party in Burma, she won the presidency in an election in 1990 and was promptly arrested. She has been under some form of house arrest ever since, and won the Nobel Peace Prize for her leadership of nonviolent struggle. In the last weeks, sparked by unbearable oppression and growing starvation among the people, Buddhist monks and nuns have led daily street protests in a powerful witness. Despite the current repression of this protest, the witness goes on.

“Walk On” begins with evoking the cost of love—“love is not the easy thing.” The song, while on one level dedicated to Aung San Suu Kyi as tireless campaigner for peace, one who “will only fly for freedom,” as the lyric says, is on another level an exegesis of 1 Corinthians 3:9ff. U2’s lead singer, Bono, comments about the lyric:

“There’s a passage in Corinthians that uses the image of a house going through a fire, and it seems to suggest that when, in death, we eventually face judgment (or inspection, as one translation puts it) all that is made of straw and wood will be burned away, only the eternal things will survive. . . . So at the end of the song, there is a litany of ambitions and achievements. “You’ve got to leave it behind/ All that you fashion/ All that you make/ All that you build/ All that you break/ All that you measure/ All that you steal/ All this you can leave behind.” It is a mantra, really, a bonfire of vanities, and you can throw anything you want on the fire. Whatever it is that you want more than love, it has to go. That’s a really interesting question to ask: What are the things you want more than love?" [U2 By U2]

This jailed peace activist, and these Buddhist monks and nuns filling the streets day after day praying for peace and justice, teach us about what it is to let go of those things that will not endure. They teach us, I think, about how to follow Christ.

Which brings us back to the parable of the rich man. His ambitions and achievements, though they brought him much delight in this life, had to be left behind. They did not endure. Christ, however, teaches us something about living out of a broken heart. It is not in avoiding but entering into Christ’s broken body, given and poured out for the sake of the world, that we bridge the chasm. It is not in saving our lives, our pleasures, our loves, but in giving them away that we find our way towards God’s own reconciling work. Martin Luther offers a challenging description of this paradoxical logic. He said:

“If there is anything in us, it is not our own; it is a gift of God. But if it is a gift of God, then it is entirely a debt one owes to love, that is, to the law of Christ. And if it is a debt owed to love, then I must serve others with it, not myself. Thus my learning is not my own; it belongs to the unlearned and it is a debt I own to them. My wisdom belongs to the foolish, my power to the oppressed. Thus my wealth belongs to the poor, my righteousness to the sinners. For these are the forms of God which we must empty ourselves, in order that forms of a servant may be in us (Phil. 2:6).” [1518 Galatians Commentary, LW27]

Christ first bridged the chasm that divides not through his might but by embodying the weak power of love, being broken open for the sake of the reconciling work of God. Such weak power undoes my effort to give out of my abundance in an effort to justify my abundance. Such weak power undoes our intentions to manage our dis-ease over global poverty and injustice, pulling us from a connection to Rose into the global development work of Save the Children into the activist involvement with Save the Children’s partner, the ONE campaign to make poverty history. While we meant only to let our hearts bleed ever so slightly, the cracks widen and we find ourselves called, compelled, and empowered to rise up together, with ONE voice to say NO to violence, to hunger, to unnecessary poverty and disease, and to say YES to peace, to economic justice and opportunity for all, to the work of healing and reconciliation.

We can’t make it over the chasm ourselves. In Christ, we have a way already and that way is through the heart that breaks open and pours itself out in love. That is not ours to do alone, but to do together, in and through the power of the One whose own great love is broken and poured out for us and for all. Amen.

February 7, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0)