A new thing revival …

Wednesday, June 4, 2013

Dear Friends,

We are now two Sundays into the new season.  Each year when our Christian community re-gathers to worship, I am once again struck by the richness of that worship.  I have long held that the vibrancy of worship is more a reflection of the congregation and its faith than it is of the forms of worship, the style of music, or the gifts of the preacher.  When two or three – or more! – gather before God with a deep sense of His presence and His holiness and with a desire to offer themselves to him, then worship is good.  And, it is very good indeed at Linwood!

Speaking of worship this season at Linwood –

•   Our theme throughout the summer is “Footprints of the Faithful.”  Hopefully you already know that.  Messages will profile various Biblical characters and how their lives can instruct, encourage and challenge us as people of faith.  Trust me – their lives, like ours, are anything but dull!  Yet, faced with all kinds of challenges, they were able to make choices that in the end honored God.

•   Most of the preachers this summer will be familiar faces – although some, like me, will probably appear to be a year older!  We will be having a new “Mission Sunday” on June 23rd with representatives of Living Water for the World being with us.  Also new this year to Linwood is Dan Edgerly.  Dan was ordained in the Reformed Church in America and is now the Pastor of Pastoral Care at Bay Presbyterian in Bay Village.

•   And, I am excited to tell you that this summer it appears that our musical leadership is going to be “cutting edge”!  DON’T PANIC!  This does not mean that Linwood is going to be experiencing dramatic change.  In fact, we are not going to be changing much at all.  It does mean that there are signs that the larger church may be heading more to the Linwood style!

What do I mean by that?  At Linwood we love the great hymns of the faith.  Over the past years we have had a variety of musical leadership and instruments, but for the most part the music they have played or led has been based on the great old hymns.

This summer we again will have a wonderful variety of leadership – soloists, the Elders of Jazz, the harp, Solid Brass, the True North Chorale, and even a harmonicist (What do you call a harmonica player?).  Yet, whatever voices or instruments you hear, the songs (hymns) are likely to be familiar.

This is cutting edge?!?  Yes, apparently it is.  I had a conversation with a pastor friend who told me that it seems that the “new thing” in church music is not screaming guitars and pounding drums, but a revival of the old hymns – played with a variety of instrumentation and sometimes with new chords, new harmonies, and new rhythms. The result is something that sounds and feels different, but yet is familiar and recognizable.  According to this pastor friend, a part of the appeal is that it appears this approach is welcomed and embraced by a wide range of people of various ages.

Who knows whether or not any “new thing” will take hold and last for a while. I hope this does.  For me, there is something really good about this approach theologically and spiritually.  One of the great blessings of the Gospel is its ability to be solid and secure (who God is and what He has done in Christ does not and will not change) and also its power to make everything new and fresh.  The Gospel brings new life wherever it takes hold.  This combination of forever and now – ancient and future – old and new – is powerful and creative and world changing!

Hope to see you Sunday!

Yours in Christ,
Hu Auburn
Linwood Park Pastor

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