Friday, 24 October 2008

Theology through music

Thursday was a very stimulating day leading a quiet day for Workplace Ministry, an ecumenical team of ministers offering chaplaincy wherever people work.  We created some rhythm to the day with the Morning, Midday and Evening Prayer of the Northumbria Community.  And in between we did some theology through music, so it wasn't a typical quiet day, although the music provided space and there were moments when the music had the effect of creating a quiet, if not a silence.

I reflected on the reality that 'so much music seems rife with rumours of God'.  And then went on to explore a spirituality of the psalms through music.  I used Walter Brueggemann's scheme of grouping the psalms into three basic types: psalms of orientation, disorientation and new orientation. 

We then spent the rest of the day looking at each type, reading the psalms but listening to how they have been treated by a variety of composers.  In all we must have listened to about twenty pieces of music, of different genres, including music by Mozart, Martin Taylor, Verdi, Boney M, U2, Allegri, Acoustic Triangle, Eric Whiteacre, Louis Armstrong, Arvo Part, Bernstein, and Stravinsky.   

There was plenty of interaction with the sharing of insights, many moments of tingle-factor, showing again that one person's tingle-factor isn't necessarily an other's!  And because of the huge capacity that music has to gather associations, there were several moving stories connected with pieces of music. The icing on the cake for me was the privilege of being able to exist in the two worlds I know best at one and the same time!

3 comments:

greg said...

Wow, that seems really interesting- sounds like we have similar influences in these waters.
Awesome that this can really be theology (in that it affects people) and not an intellectual workout.

Lee Stewart said...

Those who love contemporary Christians songs(worship songs) seem to know alot of scripture & seems to edify them. To a lesser degree this happens with traditional hymns.
There are so many hymns that can be topics for sermons!

Lee Stewart said...

I think that it is great that Baptists cab present with others & use a form of Liturgy & yet not feel that it is "Not their way".
It gives hope that to be Ecumenical we need to take the best of all, and share it among ourselves, rahter than referring certain things as: "That's Catholic, That's Anglican", etc...
In a growing world where not everyone cares what the church Denomination is, this is a way forward, as long as the local church community follow likewise.