The Most Creative Worship Experience of All Time
I recently stumbled upon a relatively new podcast called “The Liturgists Podcast,” from Michael Gungor, “Science Mike,” and their friend Lisa Paino. They tackle topics through the lenses of art, science, and faith. I have only heard the first episode, so I can’t vouch for the whole program yet, but the first episode was incredible.
The topic was creativity, and it began with Science Mike giving a definition and perspective on creativity that was really solid and was different from my gut-reaction definition. He talked about how creativity is ultimately the ability to make connections. What makes creativity stand out is when those connections are unique and paint a different picture (metaphorical pun intended) than what is obvious to most.
Toward the end of the episode, they answered a question about historically creative liturgical practices, and Science Mike essentially answered with what he felt was the most creative worship experience of all time. His answer was
Beyonce the eucharist. Listen to his answer here, running from 32:55 through 34:36.
He takes this definition of creativity as a pattern of connections and runs with it in an understanding of communion. We do this in remembrance of Christ, connecting us to the crucifixion and the Last Supper. The Last Supper was the passover feast, connecting the institution of communion with a remembrance of God freeing God’s people from slavery in Egypt. This overarching idea connects us to our general need for God to free us and save us, which spiritually wraps us back around to the core message of communion–that Christ’s life, death, and resurrection makes a way for us to be made right with God and be saved from the power of sin and death. You could even keep the connections going, drawing us all the way back to Genesis where God chooses to create humanity and to be in relationship with us. Thus, the act of communion connects us with the entire human story of our relationship with and need for God.
Perhaps, if we can keep the idea of making connections front and center when we plan worship and design worship elements, our creativity will take new forms. The example that Christ gives us in the Last Supper is a new thing, but it connects to old things (even all the way back to the oldest of things–creation). What if in the next set of services or experiences you are planning, instead of focusing on innovation and newness, we focused on finding new ways to make connections to our foundations, history, and the central story of God and God’s relationship with us? This may ultimately lead to the most creative spaces.
Image by Flickr user Mario Klingemann. Used under Creative Commons License. Edited from Original.