Coronatide Liturgy/Litany for disinfecting a cell phone

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  1. Remove your phone case and power down your device.

Mighty God, source of power and love, in these moments when my device powers down, I give you thanks for the power you give to me to serve and the energy to live this life.  Remind me to rest when it is time, give me solid sleep.  Help me wake with joy.

 

  1. Polish with a microfiber cloth.

With this cloth and its small fibers, remind me that each choice I make is like a small fiber, woven into the cloth of my life.  Empower my decisions, Lord; help me to be brave and kind, wise and trustworthy.  Bind all of us and our choices together into a cloth that makes this world safe for everyone.

 

  1. Next, reach for a branded disinfecting wipe.

These wipes are full of weird chemicals, O Lord, and I don’t know how this cloth will bio-degrade.  But it is a sign of the wonders of this creation – of materials and inventions, science and industry, and for that I give thanks.  Give wisdom to researchers in all fields and help us protect people, planet, and prosperity for all.

 

  1. Let your phone air dry for a minimum of 5 minutes.

Lord, you are more wondrous than wifi – you connect us in ways that we cannot see.  As my phone dries, I pray for all of my contacts in that phone.  Help them to know my affection and respect for them. 

 

  1. Reach for a clean paper towel or microfiber cloth.

As I reach for supplies, I pray for anyone who lacks what they need.  We pray for an end to this Covid crisis but when it resolves, help me to continue to help anyone who is in need, whether in body, mind, or spirit.

 

  1. Finally, clean your phone case.

I thank you for this phone case and all the ways that we are protected, from seat belts to social workers, from masks and gloves to advocates for justice.  As I prepare to put my phone back into use, put me to use, O Lord, for justice and kindness and hope.  Return me and my unique gifts to your service.  Amen!

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Offered by Wendolyn Trozzo, who works as a chaplain in a medical community in Maryland.


7 Worship Leading Principles from Bono

B000bnxdeg01_aa240_sclzzzzzzz_ Dr. Steven Taylor is the founding pastor of Graceway Baptist Church in Ellerslie, New Zealand. He has a PhD on the Emerging Church and a Masters in Theology in communicating the cross in a postmodern world. Steve recently did a course at Fuller Seminary entitled “Communicating the Biblical Text in a PostModern Culture” in July.

He argues that to communicate the biblical text for today’s context requires one to “incarnate, indwell, our culture.”  Taylor goes on to use the phrase “DJing” with respect to the community.  A record DJ learns the historical stories (old records) and uses them authentically in contemporary culture and integrates them into the community's stories.  There is too much to summarize here, but do look for his book “The Out of Bounds Church: Learning to Create a Community of Faith in a Culture of Change” from Zondervan.

Taylor cites Bono of U2 as a person who effectively DJs today.  According to Taylor, Bono is in fact a worship leader for over 40,000 people; Bono recontextualizes the biblical text and leads concert goers into a time of community worship and prayer. Taylor plays the “Vertigo ‘05” DVD and shows us how Bono is leading worship.  This intrigued me to the point that  Dr. Taylor and I discussed this further after the workshop. The following is from Steve’s article “7 Things I learnt from Bono about Worship Leading.”

1.    Connect uniquely. In the Vertigo DVD, Bono speaks about Chicago and his memories of Chicago. He makes a unique connection with context, day, and time.
2.    Engage through familiarity. Bono includes songs that resonate with previous experiences and previous encounters.
3.    Use repetition to call forth prayer. Bono uses the repetitive “Hallelujah.” It is easy to sing. The simple repetition enables the audience to sing with the band.
4.    Secure a 5th (visual) band member. U2 now has a 5th member of the band to add a visual layer to the experience. A wise worship leader will look to add not just singers or musicians, but a “visual” person to their team.
5.    Create hope by drawing the best from the past. Bono tells the audience in the Vertigo DVD, “We as a band are looking to the future. We’re taking the best of the past and moving forward with hope.”
6.    Plan participation. Bono can draw one boy from the audience to sing to, one woman from the audience to dance with. He uses repetition to call forth prayer and encourage congregational singing.
7.    Invoke passionate practices. Bono invites the audience to hall out their cell phones and to text “Make Poverty History campaign.”  A worship leader turns singing into action. He turns entertainment into justice.


Technology in Worship

Last week I finished writing a piece for Fuller Seminary's 3x-yearly magazine of theology & commentary, Theology News & Notes. This particular issue's theme is the place of music in worship, and I was asked to contribute a piece on the effect of technology on worship music. My thesis, simply put, is a truism borrowed from the computer industry -- hardware drives software:

As the church seeks to make the most of certain hardware technology – amplification, lyric projection, and looping DJ software, for example – we can expect that our worship software, i.e. the style of our worship itself, will also change. It may expand in potentially wonderful and creatively enculturated new ways, following the leading of the Holy Spirit. Or it may be narrowed in ways that are hip, but historically, and even theologically, suspect.

The article then examines the three aforementioned technologies, pointing out the good and the bad, the helpful and the heinous.

The idea for the piece arose arose out of a seed of an observation about hardware and software and the composition of some contemporary worship songs:

I have begun to see signs that some songs are being composed, perhaps unconsciously, not just to take advantage of the technology, but bounded by its peculiar limitations. The structure of the songs and the shape of the melodies are being molded to fit the size of the screen and the super-sized words projected onto it. Thus, we no longer get lyrical lines of melody and text; we get textual phraselets and melodic motifs -- mere musical fragments, not bearing repetition, but repeated nevertheless. And repeated.

Lest I appear a Luddite here, I hasten to add that in the article I have many good things to say about amplification, projection, and yes, DJ looping software. SplashlogoBut I am concerned that we are less discerning than we might be. I challenge you, for example, to visit this website and find a single theological insight brought to bear on the use of technology in worship. Sigh. There's a lot of work to be done.

I am quite interested in hearing from others who read this blog: what effects on worship style/software do you see as a result of the church's adoption/adaptation of certain hardware technologies?  Do you have examples of really wonderful and fitting uses of technology? 

For example, I have seen pastors use video clips in sermons, sometimes well, sometimes not so much.  But the time I really thought a video clip was used well in a service was when the sanctuary went dark just before the congregational prayer, and we saw a 5 minute home-made video that had been taken the week before by the pastor going to visit some of the elderly folks at the nursing home and a couple of shut-ins.  These people told little bits of their stories, and said what they wanted prayer for.  Some couldn't talk, and then the pastor did a bit of voice-over.  It was a powerful introduction to congregational prayer - reminding us again that we are a body of Christ, united with many others, present and not present, as we gather together to pray.