On Good Friday we had a service (Joe posted here and a more practical version of how we did it here. We went through the five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance) and followed the crucification story, while following our own stories and grieved the human condition together. We left with the uneasy knowledge that we in fact put Jesus on the cross.
Sunday was meant to be a little bit more of a celebration. So we had everyone bring instruments. And the entire service was music, with a few readings scattered in between. Then we sang. There was about 6 guitars, a bass, one keyboard and the rest was percussion. We set up journals in the middle for people to write along with some candy for people to be able to get rid of the bad taste we left in their mouth on the Friday. It sounded horrible, yet for some reason it felt more like worship than I can ever remember. The kids were with us and most of them had some sort of thing they could hit hard or blow into to get high pitched squeals. Dave brought an old Culligan water 5 gallon bottle with a few clever additions to make everything vibrate. Talia (a five year old) brought her little guitar and strummed every string to every song and note.
Musically we would have failed band class and asked to take art instead, but I think that we came together as a community that day. All the kids, about 7 of them, were free to be kids and participate with us. Some of the older adults participated and some of the others watched from the back while singing along with smiles on their faces. For some of us it was hard to not put on a production. For some of us it was awkward to participate because we are so used to watching. We basically broke every rule of what a worship service should be. Kids were interrupting. We never stood up. We didn’t just pick the best musicians, we made everyone musicians. We didn’t do a spiritual test on everyone before we gave them the opportunity to lead in worship. We just let people play the songs to God.
I think for us at theStory this was a good way for us to celebrate Christ’s resurrection. We came together to worship and that’s all that mattered. In some ways I think we made a spectacle of what music has become in the church and exclaimed with our loud instruments that worshiping God was never meant to be a perfectly crafted rock show. I sort of felt like the end of Little Miss Sunshine. If you haven’t seen the movie, you need to, it was one of my favourite movies last year, but let me give you a bit of a spoiler. The entire movie is getting this young girl to the Little Miss Sunshine competition where she is to compete in a beauty and talent contest. All the other girls look like they are 19 year olds in 8 year old bodies covered in make-up and bikinis. It is quite disgusting. This girl, completely oblivious to what culture’s ideas of beauty really are goes up on stage and performs a dance that her grandfather taught her. She performs it and disgusts everyone that watches and she makes a mockery of the entire competition. It is quite a beautiful scene. As weird as it may seem, Sunday felt a lot like that for me. Culturally ugly and horribly sounding but one of the most freeing experiences I could have experienced inside a church.