RENEWING WORSHIP WHILE CELEBRATING LEGACY
New and Improved use to be a common ad line on hygiene or laundry-care products. Sadly, the tired cliché found its way into worship-speak, especially related to the environment of worship and the music used in the service of worship. In fact, if you read much about the younger among us, you’ll likely discover research that shows their dismissal of “slick” and their embrace of that which is tried and true. This does not mean necessarily things that are “old,” but in the final analysis they, like most, are looking for genuine. What is real is often best evaluated as such as it stands the test of time.
Sunday I had the privilege of worshiping with Beaver Dam Baptist in Knoxville as they celebrated the 30 year ministry through music at that church by Mike Bundon. Sunday evening was particularly meaningful in a service of music, testimony, and life service celebration, followed by a time of fellowship. I have written much elsewhere about Mike’s ministry and want here to more directly use the occasion to draw your attention to the value of celebrating legacy as a means of worship renewal. Great effort went into the worship service Sunday night. A reunion choir comprised of more than 140, who either are currently singing or had currently sung in one of Mike’s choirs, sang anthems with special meaning to him, his family, and the church. An anthem was commissioned by our own Mary McDonald in Mike’s honor. Numerous opportunities were provided to celebrate Mike’s accomplishments and his talent. Moments when the whole family stood with Mike on the platform were especially touching. Pastor Alan Price noted the bold testimony exemplified by these three young adults who love the Lord, their parents, and their churches. Such celebration of life draws attention to God’s grace extended through all the days of our lives, and His desire to be known from one generation to the next.
Singing Sunday night by congregation and choir was profoundly strong. Faces were draped in tears. Smiles, hugs, and open expressions were the order of the day. Songs were led by those who had come out of Mike’s ministry – Scott Williams, Victor Bailes, Jonathan Bundon. All of these things helped draw a picture of how God has been at work through a life committed to him being lived out in humility before Him. Remembering is a critical part of any worship! The vivid nature of knowing an era is coming to an end and the aid of seeing many of the players in this story standing before us bearing testimony all serves to aid worship. Stirred hearts caught between the angst of the unknown to come and the thankfulness for what has been, seem to worship with a freshness. As a Steve Green song states, “this is where we live our lives.” That is so true! We are in between the blessings of yesterday and the faith walk of unknown tomorrow. Gracious Spirit of God is in both places and present in the now of worship.
Let us not be reluctant to draw attention to God’s working in individual and family lives. Let us celebrate the goodness of His grace in the legacy that we inherit, and vow to leave a legacy for those who are yet to come.