Posts Tagged ‘Youth Ministry’

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Happening and Worship Music

February 16, 2009

Just got back from Happening in New Jersey.   It was marvelous, one of the best I’ve been a part of!  One of the Spiritual Directors, Rev. Elizabeth Kaeton has some especially profound reflections on the weekend and, in particular, the music.

This is the second time I’ve worked with Elizabeth (I provided music for her parish’s youth service in November) and I’m always grateful for her welcoming grace towards this Texan.  Our work in tandem is kind of like the beginning of a bad joke (a Ft. Worth church musician and a Newark priest walk into a bar…), but it has been marked by mutual respect in a way that, I think, makes Jesus smile.  She says:

We agreed that it’s important for kids to get exposed to both [images of God]. Heck, it’s important that we ALL get reminded that God is, in fact, so glorious as to be beyond our wildest imaginings. No one has been able to get God to stay in our safe little box of who we think God is and what we think God is capable of doing in our lives.

I wish that more of the clergy in Massachusetts who clamored for my removal had her perspective and gracious spirit.  I used to want to tell upset priests that if the songs their kids merely sang with me turned them into misogynistic fundamentalists, perhaps they should reevaluate how convicting the teaching in their home parishes is.

It’s true that divine feminine imagery is sorely lacking in my repertoire.  I should devote more time to creating songs that a) illustrate the motherly character of God and b) motivate, excite and incite youth to praise the same.

I am, therefore, grateful for some of the Happening liturgies which nicely fit this purpose, allowing me to expand on the embedded theologies of New Jersey Episcopal students with images of a heavenly father (where some earthly fathers aren’t doing such a hot job) or a King of Kings who is far more deserving of our pride and allegiance than any earthly power.

Elizabeth and Tim (youth minister and cherished friend of Suzy and me) have done an incredible job in their ministry with the young people of Chatham.  It didn’t take much to get them fired up about God.  And that’s the kind of rich communal spirit that fills me with worship energy even after sleeping on the floor for a few hours a night.

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