Many ‘contemporary’ churches have sung the same songs or hymns for decades. If you turn on any Christian radio station, it could be years in between listening, and the same bands and songs are playing. I remember a song growing up that always pulled everyones heart strings. ‘The Heart of Worship’ by Matt Redman was a weekly favorite to sing in worship.

There’s an irony with ‘Heart of Worship’. As far as I understand the song was penned after a year-long music fast at Redman’s church. They walked away from the music portion of worship to re-orient their gathering to the ‘heart of worship’.

I wonder how it would impact our gatherings, to the spiritual formation of our churches, if we spent more time contemplating the creation of a localized liturgy over the canned songs coming out of American evangelicalism.

[This idea came out of gathering with the author of ‘Neighborhood Parish‘.]

Imagine liturgical moments and readings about the monuments, markings, icons, or ‘sacred’ places in your neighborhood.

What would that sound like? What would that include?

Imagine singing (or even writing) songs about the spaces and people that are part of the rhythm of your community?

If we move away from the stand and sing (or sit and listen) consumer focus we’ve built in the pew, would that shift the way our churches view local mission?

Probably.

Why can’t we reclaim ancient forms of worship and hymns and reinterpret within a localized context? Rather than paying a worship leader to strum the guitar and manage musicians and skits, could that person use their creative skills to make worship more than singing music and instead a custom spiritually formative engagement for the community gathered?

I think they/we could.