Worship included many styles, quotable moments

The General Assembly soundtrack was founded on the work of this talented group of musicians. They were joined by an 80-voice choir on Saturday and Sunday made up of Disciples from across North America.
The General Assembly soundtrack was founded on the work of this talented group of musicians. They were joined by an 80-voice choir on Saturday and Sunday made up of Disciples from across North America.

Local media coverage: Columbus Dispatch

Tweets as meditation materials. Drum lines and dancers. New songs and classical organ music. General Assembly worship was a beautiful collage of experience, learning and worship.

Worship opened the assembly Saturday evening with the classic Handel’s “Comfort Ye” followed by a mix of music and readings of Isaiah 40 in Korean, Spanish and French backed by a full chorus. Teresa Hord-Owens delivered the message to be comforted but not comfortable until justice rolls down. “The point of comfort is a pivot point to action,” she said.

Sunday evening was punctuated by short meditations by Samuel Ramirez, Erin Wathen, Beau Underwood, Tracey Stewart and Allison Enari. Music styles ranged from a rock number calling us to action to soft ballads and classic hymns, all following the themes of comfort, prepare, call, challenge and SOAR! (See Toolkit to access tweets.)

GA News worship communion2Monday’s speaker, Amy Butler, shared the metaphor of the Church as trapeze artist. She said, “It’s fear, at every turn, at the prospect of this overwhelming call to be the church, and heal the world, and live into God’s hopes for my life, for all our human lives…it’s the fear of falling that keeps us from letting go, from jumping off, from embracing a future we don’t know with abandon…because most times all we can see are visions of what it would feel like to land hard on the unyielding ground.”

A celebration of 25 years of partnership with the United Church of Christ was a highlight of Tuesday’s worship featuring Geoffrey Black, general minister and president of our partner denomination. He said, “But the truth is that too often we find ourselves in some part of the wilderness… There is a wonderful peculiarity about these desolate places… But God has a way of showing up – in the wilderness.”

Photo courtesy of Bruce Barkhauer
Photo courtesy of Bruce Barkhauer

At the Wednesday all-assembly dinner a challenge was issued by William J. Barber II, Disciple pastor and leader of the Moral Monday movement. His diagnosis: America has a heart problem. He called a “code blue” for a team with hope to give it a moral defibrillation. Participants were also treated to some music by the James brothers – Titus, Timothy and Eugene – who represent all three expressions of the Church as pastor, National Convocation leader and regional minister respectively.

And finally we were called to SOAR! Adam Hamilton, the evening’s preacher, warned us that “soaring feels like a lot of work and our legs get cramped in the nest.” He reminded us that Jesus didn’t sit in his office all day and asked if we are a church who will welcome the people in our community. He concluded it is our task to remind people they are loved by God.

GA News Worship dancer