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The Beauty in Worship

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Submitted By samson73
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The Creative Choral Reading! 10/08/2014
Every time I get ready for Wednesday chapel, I am excited in my Spirit for what the Lord has in store for me. Every time I walk into the Sweeney Chapel entrance, pick up the hymn book and the order of worship and walk towards the inside, I can feel the newness in the air. The song “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end, they are new every morning…” starts ringing in my ears. And so it did happen again today, I could feel the refreshing spirit of the Lord once again with something new for me. I was ready and excited!
As the clock struck 11.30 and the chimes rang, we were greeted with a beautiful piece of Celtic music. It was the White River Celtica, a fiddle and piano duet played by Wyatt Watkins and T.H. Gillespe, alumni of Christian theological Seminary. I looked around the chapel and saw bright smiling happy faces of our alumni. It was CTS alumni gathering today, and they have come to meet, greet, bless and fellowship with us. This aesthetic music took everyone into world of the Celts, and sounded as if Jesus was right there calling us to an intimate relationship with him and other fellow beings (the Celtic Theology of ‘Immanence’ and ‘incarnational theology’). This experience was followed by a surprise choral reading, which was a new and creative element introduced in the service. This was introduced to draw out of the strong traditional way of reading the text and give a new perspective. I would like to tell you a little bit about this very innovative and effective element that CTS chapel service committee introduced today ‘The Choral Reading’.
Choral reading by its definition is just a simple act of reading together usually practiced especially elementary schools. But it was not the same here. It was new, innovative and very creatively performed. This choral reading was performed by four readers. The surprise happened when these readers emerged from the pews one after the other repeating phrases of Psalm 106 as they made their way to the front of the sanctuary. Each of the four readers followed a script and read assigned portions of the text, sometimes alone, sometimes joining with one other voice, and sometimes blending with all voices at once. It was just beautiful! There is no particular theological significance to it and no any cultural aspect as well. But it reminded me about the universality and perpetuity of the gospel. Anyone of any race, people group, gender orientation, color or creed, in fact without any discrimination of any kind, and of time period is welcome to the singing of the Word and its experience. In fact it was so beautifully performed that the entire congregation was enthralled and just joined in at the end singing the Psalm along with them “Praise the Lord, O give thanks to the Lord” (Ps. 106). There was no invitation or compulsion, but it was just the power of the Word so beautifully read out that stirred every soul to join in and worship.
I am sure that when I go back to my church in India, this would be one of the creative elements that I would like to incorporate and practice once in a while in our church, to bring a different beauty to the reading of the Word in our worship. You can too. It just takes a little effort in gathering a few people who love to read the Word and are ready to practice. This also gives an opportunity for people to be involved in worship leadership in the church. If done well, this awesome creative element – though not flashy – will bring a sense of wonder and newness to your church service. Blessings!

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