listening to the soundtrack for the US version of "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. i do love a good soundtrack... it does seem more winter's night music than a sunny day at the beach though.
i'm working on lectionary readings for sunday, very much through the lens of my recent experience on the sudden illness and death of my father. fairly heavy i admit but i cant find other ways to view the texts right now (Jeremiah 8:18-9:1, Luke 16:1-13)
i've had a bunch of things swirling through my brain and gut. one was about burdens - those we are given unexpectedly, those we place upon ourselves, and those we place upon others. a lot of that in the two texts and in my heart and mind at present.
my dad (Pop) had only one good working lung, following lung cancer about 15 years ago (he smoked a pipe for years). had he had two good lungs in working order, its likely he would have come out of the surgery. (this is my analytical side working it all through. i have a brother and sister who are still smokers.)
today in the car i listened for the first time to a Waterboys album, "Universal Hall"(2003 but just acquired by me).. They're a band from Scotland who I've been listening to since the mid 1980s.
Mike Scott has always written about spirituality, often in the manner of Van Morrison, whose spirituality often seems like a concoction of beliefs, religions, mysticism. This album is almost a personal confessional of belief, many of the songs more acoustic, with simple repetitive lines.
two of the songs got stuck in my gut are "every breath is yours" and "the Christ in you", both of which I'll be using on Sunday. just stunning. Some of the others are quite wonderful as well. although possibly less suited to a worship setting. i'm planning to open the worship with "every breath', hopefully with clips of people breathing, and use "the Christ in you' for our prayers for the world.
it has been a wonderful, unexpected, completely true gift of grace to have this text move from burden to breath. for that is what my dad's funeral was intended to be and was indeed. i have been trying to breathe and breath itself is a gift. Pop's life is a cause for celebration of the breath of life more than it is of the burden of death.
my colleague Peter offered a good perspective on the parable of the dodgy manager today, and I've been reading Robert Farrar Capon today (who sees him as the Christ figure in the story).
my reading of these texts at the moment is much more about memory, regret, burdens, forgiveness, freedom.
i have no idea why, but my worship year is focused on holy week, the pre-Easter stuff. every year I want to run our holy week chapel service, and whenever i hear music that might 'fit', a part of me files it away. i'm sure that it is because i am always deeply bothered by easter. i've spoken at a few easter camps (not a lot, actually), and easter saturday has always been a big hole in the weekend. i pretty much crawl away and hide. i could say a lot more about easters. maybe i will.
anyway, i'm blogging to say that I just bought "white lunar", a double album by nick cave and warren ellis, containing music from films etc. some is from the brilliant soundtrack to "the assassination of jesses james by the coward robert ford", which i blogged about here re our 2008 holy week chapel.
mercury rev have a new album out, "snowflake midnight". apparently they solved writers block by using an electronic music generator - feed in a photo and out comes music.
anyway, they also made a second album, "strange attractor", available for free. its' weird and wonderful electronic stuff and the opening track "love is pure" is already on my list of easter music i think.
you just have to sign up for their mailing list to get the free album. great soundtrack-type stuff... click here
thanks to cheryl for putting me onto the gorgeous music of ludovico einaudi, classical, soundtrack type stuff. einaudi is italian, and has written lots of films scores, recorded several albums, and performs around the world.
i went to his website and there are three free remixes of tracks from his album "divenire" available if you sign up for his email list. click on the link above to take you there.
another great piece that I'll be using next year in Holy Week is "Ashes" by Our Broken Garden from the mini-album "Lost Sailor". I'm not totally sure what the lyrics are about but I love the sense and feel of it and the broken sound of the singing and words. the music is the work of Anna Broendsted.
it seems that the band is now a trio and has released an album featuring some of the same tracks under the title "when your blackening shows" which is one of the song titles.
somehow I seem to have and extra 75 songs at emusic.com. no doubt a computer glitch but I'm happy if they bill me the $23... (btw if you ever decide to join tell me and we'll get 50 free tracks each. I know it's not real analog music, just digital mp3, but I get so much wonderful music....)
in my browsing I saw the name "yo yo ma" (world renowned cellist) and immediately clicked. the link was to "silent city" by Kayhan Kahlor and Brooklyn Rider. It's an east-west collaboration of strings with some of yo yo ma's colleagues.
go to itunes and listen to the divine track "beloved, do not let me be discouraged".
my early selection for holy week next year. gorgeous.
listening to the new all india radio album "these winter dreams". wonderful instrumental soundscapes. up to their usual standard. available now on itunes.
and they have another album "film musik", a compilation of film and tv music, but at the moments its only available by download and not outside the US. so I've emailed them to ask how Australians can buy Australian music!
our chapel service was yesterday, and as always I forgot to take any photos......
we set the communion table as a long "U" shape with people sitting on either side. the table was draped in black cloth with dark blue potpourri leaves and black candles in the centre, wine bottles with dan's ascension image on the label, and the same image projected at the start. some other bits and pieces - my candlestick, thai last supper wood carving, white vase with black twirly stick things in it. it all looked really good and the pot pourri happened to add a nice fragrance.
the service was basically readings accompanied by music (with the reading or afterwards for reflection), some prayer and the communion liturgy. we read texts from Matthew's Gospel, interspersed the communion liturgy, and had the actual communion at the appropriate point in the story. (To be frank, I didn't have much in the way of time or inspiration to write anything particularly good, so the original bits below are rather ordinary.)
Introduction Music: “Song for Jesse” by Nick Cave & Warren Ellis from “The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford”
A multitude of voices cry “Hosanna!” “Blessed is the One!” A donkey whines, disciples call “Make way! Make way!”
Coins clang tumbling to the ground Tables crashing, feathers flapping Voices raised in indignation A fierce rebuke, a temple shaking
Listen if you have ears!
A soft sigh of falling tears “Jerusalem, Jerusalem” Fragrance splashing round his ears A woman’s praise, and angry men
The clink of bloody coins thirty pieces of silver The chink of earthen cups A new covenant. A betrayal
Listen if you have ears!
Today we recall the events of the last week of Jesus’ life. With sight and sound, touch and taste, we enter the story again Through symbol and sacrament, song and senses we invite it to lay claim upon us to open our hearts to the possibility of suffering love to expose our minds to the infinity of unconditional grace to free our hands to take up the yoke of costly service
Today we read texts from the Holy Week narrative accompanied by music and image and ask the Spirit to make that which is already true more real in our lives Today we break bread and share the cup and ask the risen Christ to continue making us his body on earth This story, this meal, are both declaration and promise of God’s saving intent – yesterday, today and forever.
Listen if you have ears!
Call to Worship - one of Roddy Hamilton's with some words added.
Reading - Isaiah 53:2-12 with “Prayer” by Rufus Cappadocia from "Songs for Cello" This music goes for 9 minutes (!) was accompanied by 22 images of x-rays of the human body from istock. So the 12 verses were read by Sarah half a verse at a time, with a lot of space in between. I simply ran the images as a slideshow in iPhoto with the Ken Burns motion effect turned on. It worked really well and several people remarked on this later.
Invitation to the Table - stanzas from "Come to the Feast of Life" from Uniting in Worship 2 disk
Reading - Matthew 21:12-22 (Jesus & the money-changes, Jesus curses the fig tree) with “Sometimes On A Happy Cloud” by Colleen from “Everyone Alive Wants Answers” I compiled the readings from the NRSV and the Dramatised Bible. Each text had a cast of characters, including the "Chorus" (everyone else). People received a full order of service when they arrived and were asked to read the parts highlighted, standing when their particular passage was being read. The Chorus spoke a variety of words - some from Jesus, some as disciples, at one stage as Judas.
Reading: Matthew 22:34-40 (the greatest commandment)
Music after reading - “Pepinot” from "Les Choristes" Soundtrack
Reading - contemporary paraphrase of Matthew 23:1-36 (below) with “Sun Against My Eyes” by Colleen from "Les Ondes Silencieuses"
Narrator: Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples Chorus: Woe to you! Jesus: You fake teachers! Your lives are roadblocks to God’s Kingdom. You keep others out and refuse to enter yourselves. Chorus: Woe to you! Jesus: You errant evangelists who sweat to make converts and they end up twice as corrupted yourselves ! Chorus: Woe to you! Jesus: You blind leaders who split hairs over people’s allegiances and forget that God holds all people to account, including you! Chorus: Woe to you! Jesus: You hypocrite accountants who measure every tithe and gift to the last cent, and forget to measure the things that matter – justice and mercy and faith. Chorus: Woe to you! Jesus: You counterfeit clergy who polish the outside of your church while its insides are grimy with greed. Chorus: Woe to you! Jesus: You pretend professors who build monuments to your hero teachers while your lives are as unbalanced as their own! Chorus: Woe to you! Jesus: You’re a bunch of snakes! You think you can worm your way out of anything! It’s because of people like you that I send messengers again and again. All you do is abuse them and drive them out of town. Let me tell you! You will get what you deserve! Chorus: Woe to us.
Reading - Matthew 23:37-24:2 (Jesus' lament)
Reflection Music: “La Désillusion” from "Les Choristes" Soundtrack
Reading - Matthew 26:1-5, 14-16 (The Betrayal) with music: “Action Reaction” "Les Choristes" Soundtrack
Reading - Matthew 26:17-25 (The Passover)
Reflection Music - “La Nuit” from "Les Choristes" Soundtrack
Music during Communion - “In Mémoriam A Cappella” (Kyrie Eleison) from “Les Choristes” Soundtrack
Reading - Matthew 26:30
Reflection Music - “L’evocation” from “Les Choristes” Soundtrack
Reading - Matthew 26:31-46 (Gethsemane) with “Endorphin” by Burial from “Untrue”
Reflection Music - “Les Partitions” from “Les Choristes” Soundtrack
Reading - Matthew 26:47-56 (The Arrest) with music: “Ghosts I – 3” by Nine Inch Nails from “Ghosts I-IV”
Response People were given 4 options to respond - to simply sit and reflect - to go to a table with magnetic poetry words and make a prayer - to go to a table with candles and light one as an act pf prayer - to look at some contemporary writing and art expressing the 12 stations of a person with AIDS
During that time Benji & I played "Bad" - Luka Bloom's version of the U2 song. Benji sang & played harmonica and i played guitar. Thanks to Benji it sounded good!
Sending - St Patrick's Prayer with music: “Falling” by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis from “The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford” Soundtrack
So that was it. I can highly recommend all of the music and the albums from which it came! BTW I attached each piece of music to a black slide in Keynote, and simply went from slide to slide. That way I could fade out music if I needed to and just let the current slide sit there until I needed the next one.