Week of: April 2, 2017
Scripture: Romans 8:6-11
But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
(Romans 8:10, NRSV)
In the series “Mozart in the Jungle,” Rodrigo, the conductor of the New York Symphony, implores his musicians “to play with blood.” His metaphor translates to “play with passion” but when he was young, he would practice his violin till his fingers blistered and then he’d practice, practice, practice, till the music was played with blood.
There are powerful gospel songs about being “washed in the blood of the Lamb.” Those songs give us insight into Paul’s meditation on the relation of flesh and Spirit. The Spirit does not hate what God created. We are Spirit-embodied flesh and flesh-shaped spirit. However, the flesh is “in the beginning” difficult to shape; it’s hard to do what we hope to do. We are not angels whose thoughts are instantly transmuted into flawless action. Any artist, any preacher, has experienced the difference between intention and performance.
But we can, with grace, learn to play with blood. When we pick up our violin, brushes or pens for the first time and try to play a C or draw an eye, or write a verse, we experience the resistance of the flesh. We slide our fingers to find the right note, we mark and then erase and then try a new line, shade or word. We may doubt that we will ever accomplish what we’re called to do. But in light of Christ’s resurrection we can practice, practice, practice. It takes time and trouble, sweat and certainly blood to materialize our life in Christ.
Engaging your worship artists in experiencing worship through the affirmation of the work of practice.
As your various arts groups move into the last weeks of Lent, help them reflect on these many weeks of practice. How has their practice transformed their faith? Engage them in a conversation about what phrase, movement, or art form has helped them understand more about the life-giving love of Jesus.
O God, may we continue to bear our flesh until it is filled with Spirit. Amen.