Archive for September 25, 2018

As you might have guessed, as a creative, I’m not always a big fan of tradition, especially in worship. For the most part, I truly believe that sacred cows make the best hamburgers. That being said, there are some times when tradition is very important. I’m coming up against one of those now. You see my church has a traditional service that means the world to me. We call it Love Feast. It’s basically a twice a year communion service that could be, to some degree, a reenactment of John 13. I love this service as a matter of fact, it was one of the major things that made me choose my denomination and it’s something I would fight to keep in the church, but there’s a problem.

The service has three elements. Foot washing, a simple meal and communion. These three elements are not the problem. The foot washing, which sounds a bit uncomfortable, is actually amazing in its ability to keep us mindful of the importance of humble service. The simple meal is a nice time to reflect on the Lord and of course communion connects us to our parts in both the death and resurrection of Christ. This is a very meaningful service. In involves all five senses and is extremely touching. I love this service, and by now you’re thinking, “Okay so what’s the problem.”

The problem is we do it twice a year. Some of my folks have participated in this service over 100 times. It’s surrounded and infused with tradition, and I have no real desire to mess with the tradition part of it at all. It means so much to so many that I’m hesitant to tamper with it in any way, and yet, I also don’t want people to take the service for granted, or just go through the motions. So how do you keep something with so much tradition fresh at the same time? Very carefully.

My first thought is to alter the preaching. The issue is, there is only one passage on washing feet in Scripture, really none on the simple meal and only two or three on communion itself. Again there’s really not much flexibility there. At the end of the day, I have to ask myself another question. Does it have to be original or is the tradition okay even to this regard? Are there creative elements that I can add without taking something away from what is already a beautiful service? I’m still exploring the answers to these questions. The service is now two weeks away, and I am still wrestling.

How do you keep things fresh when tradition is important? I’d love to see your answers in the comments.

Well this past week was a long bur wonderful one. In eight days I had the privilege of ministering the Gospel eight times. It started Sunday bringing a message on dealing with offense at my home church, Springfield Church of the Brethren. I’ve been working on a series on overcoming offense with love. On Monday I packed up all my supplies and headed for eastern Ohio early Tuesday morning, to minister with my friends Bill and Brenda Weiss at their amazing home also known as the Liberty Raymond Tavern. No I haven’t gone out to play the bar circuit. Their home was a stagecoach stop back in the 19th century as well as a stop on the Underground Railroad. They have a barn on the property where they have a weekly worship gathering. It is always a great time, always intimate and meaningful. They hosted me for the week and helped me to connect with my other stops.

Wednesday, I ministered at the church that first brought me to the area. I ministered at the closing night for the Spiritual renewal services at Bristolville Church of the Brethren. When i first went to Bristolville in 2014, they arranged for me to stay with “the other Weisses” and we’ve ministered together ever since. This time in Bristolville, I did my newest presentation Love Like Jesus, and we had a great night. Thanks to Fred Keener and the folks at Bristolville for having me back once again.

Thursday, Bill Weiss and I traveled to Erie, PA so that I could speak for a meeting of the Erie Chapter of the Full Gospel Businessmen’s Association. I first spoke at a FGBA Dinner last year and I have come to really enjoy them. The FGBA usually asked that their speakers give a testimony rather than a sermon, and I was delighted to give mine, complete with a live painting from my presentation, Pictures of Jesus. On Friday I did a similar message at the Sharon, PA chapter’s dinner. I always enjoy challenging people to use what God has given to His glory and I thank both chapters for having me.

Before the meeting in Sharon on Friday, I was privileged to tape my first TV program. I was a guest on Crossing Paths with Don Reed Sr. and Ron Kosor. I did my lion and lamb painting called Dichotomy, which is also part of Pictures of Jesus and deals with what we can know about Jesus, just by knowing His name. It was really exciting to see how a TV show is done and I look forward to seeing the episode when it airs.

Early Saturday morning I bid the “other Weisses” farewell and drove the seven hours home only to get up early Sunday morning to drive to Quakertown to minister the two Harvest Home services at Quakertown Church of the Brethren. In the morning service I did Hurried, Buried and Worried, and in the afternoon, I did the full presentation of Pictures of Jesus. It was a really good day of ministry that I enjoyed thoroughly.

By the time I arrived home on Sunday afternoon, I was tired but feeling blessed. Ministering the Gospel through the arts is truly a wonderful blessing. I love what I get to do and I look forward to returning to my home church this Sunday and to my next adventures. God is good.

I believe it was St. Irenaus who said, “The glory of God is man fully alive.” Someone else once said, “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” I think the truth is somewhere in the middle. I love what I do, but it’s just one aspect of what makes me fully alive. My family and my relationship with God are a huge part of that as well. At the same time, I absolutely love what I do, but it is a lot of hard work and it’s in doing the work, as faithfully as I can, that God gets the glory.

If you’d like to see me bring my ministry to your church, please contact me.