On a cold November night in East Gwillimbury, armed with a live band, two projectors and about 100 glowsticks, 40 people gathered at Sharon Hope United Church to sing, dance and pray along with songs by Gord Downie and The Tragically Hip. Our theme was Courage, and the many forms it takes in our daily lives. Each song was paired with a reading from scripture or by contemporary writers. During the liturgy, we examined the lyrics of “Grace, Too” through the lens of Ruth and Boaz on the threshing floor. “Nautical Disaster” was paired with multimedia highlighting the refugee crisis in the Middle East. We sat with the horror and grief of the Residential School system with a reading of “When We Were Alone” by David Robertson and singing “The Stranger” from Secret Path.
Courage: A Tragically Hip Liturgy was the second in new series of Rock Liturgies hosted by Living Presence Ministry. Our third,The Frost is All Over, explored the Advent and Christmas story through the work of Canadian folk singer/songwriters. With these services, we are working though how to treat popular music as hymnody during worship. What else do these songs have to offer us when intentionally placed within a worship context? We heard from many of those present that simply having the lyrics projected helped the words they’ve been listening to for years sink in deeper.
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