Our church today flipped its liturgy so that the "traditional" service takes place at 9.45, the "contemporary" service takes place at 11 a.m., and the "blended" service takes place at 8.30 a.m. In the past, the 11 a.m. "main" service was traditional, but as times change, people want a "contemporary" (read: Word Publishing/Up with People pop songs) to which they can clap along and wave their hands, rather than the traditional Methodist hymns I grew up singing.
I favored keeping the traditional service at 11 a.m. and choosing more of the truly great hymns from the so-called "Cokebury" part of the repertoire (a reference to a hymn book from the first half of the 19th Century, with lots of hymns by Charles Wesley and other similar hymn writers), and that the "traditional" service be run more like a celebration of a grand tradition and less like a place in which to experiment with 17th C. hymns no Methodist has ever sung. But the congregation voted for pop songs at 11 a.m., so my wife and I attended a pop song service.
I like to sing, and the songs were easy to sing. The church was packed with people who like to sing pop songs. I thought with regret that I will have to sing "moon/june/soon/tune/God's love makes me swoon" lyrics from here on out, but I am a durable fellow, and can roll with the changes as capably as the old Head East song.
My darkest secret is that I kind of enjoyed the pop songs, even though I'd prefer "O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing" ( a powerful Wesley lyric upon a Glaser tune that would have made a good Emerson, Lake and Palmer cover) to any of the "contemporary Christian" lite music I heard today. My idea of great contemporary Christian music is Olivier Messiean (a true lover of birdsong, with incredibly beautiful melodies), but no sacred minimalism was on view today.
The associate pastor sure does wield a mean guitar, though, and the harmonica player knew on just which verses to blow. I enjoyed the fact that everyone but me loved the format. I am afraid my wince showed when the preacher said "God is good!" and the congregation answered "All the time! All the time!". I know some people find this the most authentic way to express their faith, so I'll simply say that I find it a less authentic way to express mine. As I am a very imperfect person, though, perhaps that's not so regrettable.
I prefer my liturgy a bit less je ne sais quoi. Of course, if we had instead all sung "Peace like a river" and "Kum Ba Yah" to 12-string guitars, and lit candles in the darkness, then I would have loved it all.
After church and a fine turkey sandwich at Celebrity Cafe with my wife, I headed to Lake Lavon, where I walked its shores and looked at seagulls and killdeer and little yellow birds through my binoculars, on a cold, barren day where I was trying out my latest odd offbeat little camera.
Then I went to the Farmer's Market fruit store, an indie little place where I bought bananas and apples. The apples looked so good!
I told the owner i had had a hard time deciding on the ones I picked. He said "try the honey delicious next time", explaining that they cost more but were his best. I kind of like the idea of walking from a store, mnemonically repeating to myself "honey delicious, honey delicious". I personally think all apples should have names as if they were James Bond movie characters.
I put the leashes on our dogs and took them for a walk. We saw the above mockingbird, unnaturally fat as all mockingbirds in our neighborhood are right now, as the insects during our warm snap must have made for a feast. I even saw a moth flying today, in 40something degree weather, by Lake Lavon. A charming red male mockingbird sang in a bare tree we passed on our way home.
At the pond in the park, a park duck was actively dunking a small female mallard wild duck, while her male consort seemed fairly inadequate at helping. I worried that the wild duck would be drowned, but then the park duck let her up, and they all seemed to swim away without rancour, as if a pecking order had been established. Pre-teen girls seemed to want to chase the fowl away from shore with sticks, but they did not do so clearly enough to justify my doing the "it takes a village" thing, so we walked on.
I got a nice note from a musician friend about "Seven Virtues", and
I thoroughly enjoyed my morning listening to more music at last.fm.
This was a good weekend.