Week of: November 5, 2017
Scripture: Revelation 7:9-17
... I looked, and there was a great multitude, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages ...
(Revelation 7:9, NRSV)
All Saints’ Sunday provides an excellent opportunity to reflect on death, the afterlife, those who have gone before us, and the tenuous relationship between this life and the next. As worship artists we have a unique role in this regard, as we create space that allows for a fuller exploration of these universal themes. It’s an exploration that includes words, but also holds a mystery that transcends them.
My family (perhaps yours as well) has been touched by death in profound ways this year, especially in the loss of a patriarch in our family, my father-in-law. His was a “bigger than life" personality, and it is only in his passing that I understand that phrase in a fuller way. In the days following his passing I didn’t want to make art, but I felt compelled to do so: not to give understanding, but to find expression — and meaning. I found meaning in his life and in his death through art, especially in worship, as old forms of worship came alive to me in new ways.
Often we have no idea who our art in worship touches; but make no mistake, it does touch people in deep and profound ways. Through our art we can transcend the differences that constrain us — differences of tribes, and nations, and peoples, and language. Don’t hold back from giving this great gift to those around you in worship on this important day!
God of all life, you made every person and called them not just good but supremely good. Help us remember that there is nothing, not even death, that can separate us from your love. Amen.
Executive Minister of Worship and Arts
Grace Avenue United Methodist Church