Saturday, October 23, 2010

Worship Wars, St. Francis and me... in Hong Kong

  The wise man built his house upon the rock, house upon the rock, house upon the rock... the wise man built his house upon the rock, and the rain came tumbling down!
I  found out last night that one of the professors at the seminary (a fellow Westerner) was furious that I used a children's song (with gestures yet) at the seminary chapel service last week.
What a shame.  I know at least some of the students loved it.  There was a direct Biblical link -- St. Paul telling us not to be ashamed of giving your all in service of the Gospel. I used the song as a way to tell about the children of Hong Kong and China who are awaiting the pastors and church leaders and families trained and strengthened through this seminary, to share the ROCK of Jesus' life and teachings with them...   And I had a pretty good illustration in St. Francis of Assisi who consistently got in trouble with the church hierarchy for his choice in happy music, spontaneous handstands, and jokes, to the point of the early Franciscans being nicknamed the "jugglers of God." 

 "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."  -- Jesus, quoted in Matthew 18:3-4



  1. Of course you are doing something right! I just figure that some people don't like to have fun in worship--it makes them feel vulnerable. If anyone needs to hear the Good News it's children (no matter what their age!). "Joy is the echo of God's life in us." --Abbot Coumba Marmion

  2. Did that faculty member give any reasons?
    Worship and how it is done make people quarrel. That's my experience in the Worship and Liturgy class. People with a more liturgical background kind of look down upon those who have no ideas what liturgy is about; and people whose church is non-liturgal ask what the fuss is all about. I have been surprised many times by the emotional and not so reasonal responses of people who at other times are completely reasonable when the topic is on worship style and what kind of hymns we should sing in church. I think you did a good job.