Three separate but related parts today, all loosely based on worship and the coronavirus:
One: One of the things I enjoy about blogging is the opportunity to introduce friends to other friends. Many of you are already familiar with my Judson University alumnus buddy Ian Simkins, a pastor at the “YellowBox” church, aka Community Christian Church (Naperville, Ill.), but perhaps you are unaware of the radio show he co-hosts with Pastor Brian From, The Common Good. If so, here’s your introduction.
Ian and Brian played an audio clip I sent in (the gist of a post from a few weeks back) a while back on their show, linked here. My brief segment comes at around the 49-minute mark, but give the whole show a listen, if you have the time, and consider tuning in/following Ian and Brian as they help all of us navigate these crazy, scary times. I don’t do a whole lot of podcast-listening–I’m much too much my father’s son, so music is my background listening of choice–but if ever I begin to listen more regularly to anything out there in the endless realm of talk radio and its various social-media cousins, The Common Good will be at the head of the list.
Two: I recently had a chance to reflect a bit on what I called an “extended Lenten season” in transitional comments made during Judson University’s Demoss Center for Worship in the Performing Arts Virtual Spring Concert of Worship, featuring one of the best jazz vibraphonists you’ll ever hear, Stephen Lynerd, and his band. (If you have an hour, it’s worth a listen; or put it on in the background–see above–while you work from home.) In thinking about how the coronavirus has affected me emotionally, I offered the following thoughts:
Dealing with the coronavirus has been hard; it’s taken a toll on all of us. Some have paid the ultimate price, and we grieve with those who have lost friends and loved ones. Although most of us have not suffered at that level, the difficulties of this season have been real nonetheless. It’s almost as if the Lenten season has been extended for a while yet. Yes, we celebrated Easter a few weeks ago, but, let’s be honest, it was a bit of a muted celebration: our “Alleluias” a bit less robust, our “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today” a bit more subdued, our “He Is Risen, indeed!” responses a bit tentative. Understandably so.
If ever there were a season to crack open the book of Lamentations, we are in it. And though there is sorrow aplenty to be found therein, Jeremiah, “The Weeping Prophet,” also saw fit to proclaim, in chapter 3, that God’s mercies to us—even when you are prophesying to an apostate nation, even when you are living in the midst of a global pandemic—are new every single morning.
We then sang together, virtually, the third verse and chorus of the great hymn based on this Scripture passage, “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.” If you watch the video linked above, this section comes at the very end.
Three: Another good friend to whom I’d like to introduce Emmaus Road Worshipers readers is Dave Horn, another fellow Judsonite, the founder and owner of Geartechs.com, an independent and dynamic audio/video supplier based in Columbus, Ohio. I’ve purchased tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of gear from Dave over the years (most of it when I was directing the chapel program at Judson, some of it when I was a weekend-warrior worship leader), and I highly recommend him and his ministry–and he really does view what he does as a ministry to the Church.
Beyond just having you meet Dave’s acquaintance, I’d like to direct you to his recent blog post, “Reopening Worship in Light of Covid-19,” which gives some excellent food for thought as churches begin planning for post-shelter-in-place church life. If Dave’s words are a little high-tech for you, I’d encourage you to forward the post to your production folks. Lots to consider here.
Continued blessings, friends. The Lord be with you!
Coming next week (Lord willing): With all this sheltering in place and quarantining time, I expect there will be a plethora of new worship songs written in the months ahead. For the next several weeks, I’m going to offer songwriting tips from the masters. I hope, especially if you’ve been trusted to put songs on the lips of God’s people, you’ll be encouraged (and maybe challenged just a little bit) by the forthcoming series.