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You_make_blessing_1 A chapel service I helped plan recently juxtaposed the dominant community calendar (the academic one) with the church's liturgical calendar.  So the chapel service the week before Ascension Day was entitled "The Blessing of Week Nine." 

One of the neat features of the service was a skit composed and improvised by seminarians that illustrated the contrast between the flippant way we use the word "blessing" and the powerful way the word is understood in scripture. 

They did this by juxtaposing funny 3-4 line sketches with longer scriptural or other readings.  Examples of both after the jump.

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Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven

I've written elsewhere about Kevin Twit and the Indelible Grace project, whose hope is to "help the church recover the tradition of putting old hymns to new music for each generation."  Of course, Kevin and his friends aren't the only ones doing this -- a student of mine from Fuller Seminary, Luke Hyder, has been doing it for years, too. 

PraisemysoulThe other day I came upon one of his compositions while I was searching for an upbeat setting of Psalm 103 as a way to conclude a Eucharist service.  Psalm 103 is commonly used in this liturgical position, but the more common settings -- by Andre Crouch, or Brother Roger of Taize, or Graham Ord -- weren't quite right.  This one was.  He agreed to let me post it here, as a gift to the readers of this blog.  Click here for the PDF., and here for the MP3.

Praying Together


In some worshipping traditions, the "prayers of the people" are anything but.  The people don't do much praying at all-- they mostly endure the sincere but longish monologic ramblings of a pastor.  Those congregations who practice a bidding prayer fare a bit better, but their responses ("Hear our prayer, O Lord") can sometimes become dry and rote rather than heartfelt affirmation.

Here is one suggestion for addressing these deficiencies while accomplishing a number of ancillary purposes:

1) increasing congregational participation in the prayers of the people;
2) letting the prayer's shape be suggested by the prayerbook of God's people -- the Psalms;
3) making room within the prayer not only for speaking, but for listening to God's voice.

More details after the jump.

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