Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Willow Arts Conference Reflection 09

I didn't have a laptop with me for the Willow Arts Conference this year - so I just did updates on twitter. But just for the record, it was a great week of renewal as usual. Doesn't everyone need those times to sit back and be reminded of why they do what they do?

Here's the deal. I have my dream job - which doesn't quite seem fair (since it's the only full-time job I've had). I get to work to plan the weekly worship of a local church. AND I get to work alongside of people with incredible artistic gifts. To top it all off, this is in a community that has nurtured me & empowered me for pretty much my entire life. Wow.

And yet, far too often, I can get discouraged and tired. When your job is planning and preparing for Sundays - you start to realize that the deadline comes every week with amazing regularity. And - I'm what I like to call a "high-achieving slacker" - which means that I work best under pressure (though I usually cry somewhere in the process). And it can be way too easy to lose sight of the big picture.

Nancy Beach mentioned a few of these "enemies of wonder" in the first conference session: hurry, stress, too much technology, noise, lack of solitude, absence of celebration, boredom of routine..." I have definitely been influenced by a few of those.

The theme verse for the conference was from Isaiah 29 -
13 "And so the Lord says,
'These people say they are mine.
They honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
And their worship of me
is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote.
14 Because of this, I will once again astound these hypocrites
with amazing wonders.
The wisdom of the wise will pass away,
and the intelligence of the intelligent will disappear.'"

I never want to be guilty of verse 13 - and yet, right after that, God's response in verse 14 is amazing! I am so grateful for the reminder to look to God in amazed wonder - and to offer genuine worship to Him.

As they ended the first session at the Arts Conference, they did an amazing drama/dance/video piece called, "Behold the Dreamer." It told the story of an artist in the church - and quite honestly, I don't think I could do it justice trying to describe it with words.

As the piece ended, this prayer came on the screen - and today it is my prayer for my ministry & for my team.

God, whom saints and angels delight to worship in heaven: Be ever present with your servants who seek through art and music to perfect the praises offered by your people on earth; and grant to them even now glimpses of your beauty, and make them worthy at length to behold it unveiled for evermore; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Book of Common Prayer

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