Today in worship we had a father and son play a piano and guitar duet. The dad, Rich, had actually created the arrangement for them to play, based on a guitar quartet he has a recording of, and, along with it, he created a very beautiful powerpoint presentation consisting of some photos of the natural world, overlaid with the words to Psalm 8. Rich played his classical guitar, and his 15 year old son played the piano. It was really one of the most worshipful musical offerings we've had in quite a while.
It is my understanding, if I have my facts correct, that it took Rich about a year of thinking and tinkering to put all this together, since he is also a school teacher and busy dad. His wife told me he just became completely inspired to do this, and do it well. What a creative effort - the music, the creative use of the beautiful photos, the Psalm, and the computer skills to tie it all together! And the perseverence to follow through on his very inspired idea.
This is exactly the kind of musical offering I hope to see more of in our service. It was so clear to all that heard it and saw it that it was not a performance but truly an offering to the Lord.
In worship planning, we have wrestled to come up with some new terminology for the elements of our service, in hopes of making them not only more seeker sensitive, but also suggesting a new paradigm for the contents of our worship time. For instance, in years past Rich and Nathaniel's duet would have been called "special music". But somehow, in the minds of many, the word "special" seemed to then be conferred on the "performer" (another word we are trying to get away from). We really don't want to elevate those who are on the platform as being better than those who make offerings in other ways, i.e., service, financial giving, etc. Our society has caused even the church to look a little too much like "American Idol" sometimes.
Now you may be thinking, "Hey, Joyce, didn't you just elevate these guys by mentioning them in your blog? " Legitimate question! But the reason I have commented on them is because I would like to, hopefully, lift them up as an example for others-something I think they would both be a bit embarassed about. There was sacrifice involved in pursuing the inspiration that Rich recieved. Frankly, I'm sure that most of the people listening don't really realize how much time and effort it took to pull this off, and to make it look so simple in the process.
It was not a performance, it was an offering.