The Heavenly Chorus

This past Sunday, our Musician-in-Residence, Richard Kentopp, spoke of God, music, The Ramones, Worship and most things in between. Yes, we heard an excerpt of The Ramones song, Sheena is a Punk Rocker,  in morning worship. This is a new church community.

Music connects, inspires, informs, embeds, challenges and provokes us. The fact that we sing together during our worship service is integrally connected to what it means to a part of Servant Church and Richard described much of the theology that goes into how he sees music in connection with our being an inviting, becoming, and demonstrating community of God.

Richard spoke intimately about his own vocation in ministry to draw people closer to God through music. To remind them that what we sing and how we sing it matters and central to the kind of community we are. Not that we sing on pitch, but that we sing from our hearts words that can change us and draw us into the Holy Trinity. John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Movement, told people to sing lustily and with full heart. We do not follow a timid God and so should not sing timidly.

We form and are formed but what we do, how we act, how we see each other, how we see God, and the music in worship effects all of these.

Next week we will continue to look at the letters of Paul in new and vibrant ways. Join us!

The Gentle Wolves Vol. 2: Track 8 – All Things New

Today’s song:
All Things New
Words and Music: Seth Woods, 2008.

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This is the final track of Vol. II from us Gentle Wolves.  This is one of my favorite songs.  This is also, for now, the last of Seth Woods’ precious songs that Servant Church uses regularly.  It is so simple, and can be oh so powerful.  Thank you Seth for your incredible singing spirit.

Look for the bandcamp.com collection of Vol. II in the next week.
Also, look for Vol. III in two weeks which will be 3 songs for advent.

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The Gentle Wolves Vol. 2: Track 5 – O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing

Today’s song:
O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing
Words: Charles Wesley, 1739.
Music: Charles G. Glaser, 1828.  Additional lyrics by Richard Kentopp, 2010.

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This is the first Wesley song which I have been able to convert to something not involving a large organ.  Now that I’m working for a Methodist church, there’s a lot of pressure to do many more similar conversions by our great champion, Chuck.  While I do appreciate Wesley’s theological and ecclesiastical legacy, his songs are very…. wordy.  And…. melodically complex.  Sometimes it seems like he was in a competition with his brother John to see how many words they could cram into a day.  We might see more of Wesley at Servant Church in the future, but for now I’m still catching my breath from getting through the last stanza.

I decided to add the cheezy little refrain in the middle for two reasons.  First, musically, it just begs a refrain, something phrased slowly that doesn’t feel like we’re rapping with the Wesley brothers.  Also, I wanted to contextualize the song to our local context at Servant Church.  ‘Teach us the songs that will cause all to sing, breathe through our lives to impart the grace that only you can bring’ This is a nice cheezy wedding of Servant Church’s mission statement and Wesley’s original lyrics.

Key lyric: My gracious Master and my God, assist me to proclaim, to spread through all the earth abroad the honors of thy name.

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