As you might read in my profile I am a big Peter Gabriel fan. You might know his music thru such songs as “Sledgehammer” or “Solsbury Hill”, or perhaps even “Red Rain”…Mr. Gabriel released an album back in 2000 (I believe) called “OVO”…
I can almost bet none of you have heard it.
Its not “Christian music”…in fact its not even mainstream music, it’s a weird kind of artistic exercise that centers around a story Peter Gabriel made up.
The name OVO is given to a child in the story because as his father gazes at him in his sleep he sees the eyebrows and two eyes form together to make an “OVO”…it’s a pretty interesting story and the music I find quite good, especially “Downside Up”, which could very well be used to explain what happens to people when they get converted or God invades their worldview…it is in fact a “conversion song” in the musical production itself.
So what’s this got to do with church and worship?
Good question, I’ll get to it.
When I go to the Bible to get definitions for worship and a template for what we’re doing, I am struck by the fact that in the New Testament I don’t get a liturgy, or a ritual, what I mainly get is stories. Read it you’ll see what I’m talking about.
You’ve got the Gospels which is primarily the story of God invading Israel’s model and then you get to Acts and the epistles and you get another series of stories about early church life and perhaps some doctrinal exercises that seem to deal with the transition between the Gospels and Acts…oh yeah you get the Apocalypse which is about how the world would not worship God or turn from their wickedness, and in the midst of it all God always wins and then theres a big wedding then it ends.
But what you don’t get is a set of rules about how to run a worship team or organize our Sunday morning encounters (or whatever day we choose since the entire early template seems to be “old and fading away”).
If I apply the Bible in a strict authoritative rulebook kind of way, I basically have the simple rules laid out by James in Acts (since we are all basically the Gentile believers)
“That they abstain from things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood”-Acts 15:20…
That’s really about all the Jewish Apostles laid on us.
Yeah, yeah I know the church comes round and there are some general rules about leadership and order, but you don’t find Paul telling Timothy:
“Hey Timothy, make sure the tithe envelopes are out, and lets keep the bathrooms clean, and oh yeah you should do three fast songs and maybe four slow songs, but do it in that order since people need to wake up before they can really worship, services should start around 10:30”…
So what’s this got to do with OVO?
Well Peter Gabriel recorded a story, he used all sorts of different musicians and singers, if you buy the CD he even uses cartoons to tell his story, but the bottom line is he told a story thru a community.
THAT’S what I’m talking about.
As we continue to explore what “worship” means and as we continue to create “refrigerator art” for God every Sunday, lets also be aware that we are telling a story thru our worship experience. The characters in the story are you and I and the church in general, but the main theme of the story is that just like the Gospels, we too have had God invade our model and our liturgy, our lives are now “Downside Up” because of the grace of Jesus.
And since we’re the ones telling the story, we have the opportunity to tell it in all sorts of creative ways, basically we are telling back to God what He has already done, and what He is doing…we are in fact telling Gods story thru our lives.
God uses all sorts of things and languages to tell His story…I mean for crying out loud He’s using US…. that ought to be enough to get us out of our boxes and thinking of new ways to express His story.
Lets not be afraid to get out the glue and buttons and pipe cleaners for the next piece of refrigerator art we call worship, it is after all for His Glory…what’s the worse that could happen, we get a little glitter on the living room carpet?