Worship in a Minor Key

I have a new post on Provoketive.com titled ‘Worship in a Minor Key‘, a reflection on lamenting in the church. I’ve put an excerpt here, click on to read more – and leave your comments, please!

Last weekend I attended a Christian event which began with sung worship. This was nothing unusual – a young guy with a guitar, songs I had heard before and sung along with  joyful songs, praising God’s power and our salvation, songs full of encouragement and truth. Yet something felt wrong – the songs were in the wrong key for me.

Lent is traditionally a time when we remember two things: the forty days of temptation that Jesus faced in the desert at the start of his ministry and also the run up to holy week, the crucifixion on Good Friday. In preparation for the Good Friday service that I’m planning, I’ve really been living in the feeling of that day, exploring the imagery of the stations of the cross and music that reflects the minor key, the lament of Lent.

That’s why the music in that church at the weekend was a jarring shock – I’d been living in a different world, singing a different tune, one that seems to be rare in our churches right now. Our worship music is, as I experienced at the weekend, overwhelmingly up-beat, positive, happy. But that’s not how I feel every Sunday morning, let alone Monday morning or even Friday afternoon! Sometimes I feel I hardly have the heart to sing along or stand up with everyone else, sometimes there’s just too much weighing me down.

Read more…