Last weekend I was in Las Vegas at a conference called RELEVANCE X where young adults from across the United Methodist Church got together to learn, worship and serve together. There were many amazing God moments that were part of that conference and most of them were unplanned. Times when God was present as always, but we made room to notice. One of those moments for me was when the speaker, Jim Walker, invited us to sing the Doxology together as a prayer before he spoke. I have sung this song many times in many churches. Typically with organ leading the way and voices joined in a bored tone. I have never sung it with a large group of Tongans before. While the fact that they are Tongan probably means less than the fact that they can sing harmony, I was appreciative of the gift of their culture and what it means to sing in community. Singing in their midst, the boredom went away and I felt like I was singing out of praise rather than duty or habit. It was the same song, but the music felt fresh. It felt like an authentic offering of praise.
As we spent the weekend thinking about how to make our faith fresh and relevant to new generations, I was thinking that it is the same gospel, the same God, the same story that has been shared for centuries. But when we bring our gifts and experiences to it fully, when we don't hold back but bring our very best, when we let go of fears and open the door to whoever the Holy Spirit has invited to hear, it's like we're singing a whole new song.
And now for your enjoyment... same song, fresh music... by Gungor.