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Monday, May 13, 2013

bluegrass sunday: confession and assurance

On May 5, 2013, my congregation joined two other Presbyterian congregations nearby for "Bluegrass Sunday" - a regular service in terms of liturgy (and the Lord's Supper), but with all the musical portions (and then some) rendered with bluegrass music.  One such element of the service was the typical "Confession of Sin" and "Assurance of God's Grace."  I took two well-known songs - "I Will Wait" by Mumford and Sons and "Home" by Phillip Phillips - and created a "mash-up," joining them together into one song.  The verses of "I Will Wait" fit well as a confession of struggle and needing help; the verses of "Home" offered a wonderful theological counter-point of assurance of God's presence and help.  To make this clearer, we had a spoken confession and assurance before the music, using words and phrases from the songs that matched scripture. Then, when we did the song, we had two different song-leaders to help mark the back and forth of confession and assurance.  

The spoken liturgy comes first below, then a link to a YouTube video of the live song, then the lyrics of the mash-up, as presented.  The combined song was long (approx. 7 min.), but would make a good alternative to some other special music like an anthem. On a serious note, it proved to be very meaningful; on a lighter note, I finally got to try playing, singing, and stomping on a kick drum.  :)  If you would like to try this, please let me know (robert@gspc.net) and I can send a chart!

Leader: Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes wait for the Lord. (Psalm 27:14)
People: We will wait for the Lord!
Leader: You are not alone; God is with you and will lead you home through Jesus Christ, our Lord. (Deut. 31:8; John 14)
People: We are not alone; the Lord will bring us home!

I have yet to figure out how to default to this, but definitely click the settings and watch in HD; it's better!

“I Will Wait” and “Home” - Mumford & Sons and Phillip Phillips

Confession: And I came home like a stone And fell heavy into your arms. These days of dust which we’ve known will blow away with this new sun. And I’ll kneel down, wait for now, and I’ll kneel down, know my ground, And I will wait, I will wait for you.

Assurance: Hold on to me as we go. As we roll down this unfamiliar road, and although this wave is stringing us along, just know you’re not alone cause I’m gonna make this place your home.

Confession: So break my step and relent, you forgave and I won’t forget. Know what we’ve seen and him with less now in some way shake the excess. And I will wait, I will wait for you.

Assurance: Settle down, it’ll all be clear.  Don’t pay no mind to the demons they fill you with fear. The trouble it might drag you down. If you get lost, you can always be found. Just know you’re not alone, cause I’m gonna make this place your home.

Confession: So I’ll be bold, as well as strong, and use my head along side my heart. So tame my flesh and fix my eyes that tethered mind free from the lies. And I’ll kneel down, wait for now. And I’ll kneel down, know my ground. Raise my hands, paint my spirit gold, and bow my head, keep my heart slow, cause I will wait, I will wait for you.

Assurance: Settle down, it’ll all be clear.  Don’t pay no mind to the demons they fill you with fear. The trouble it might drag you down. If you get lost, you can always be found. Just know you’re not alone, cause I’m gonna make this place your home.

Technical Note for the curious

If you start playing around with these two songs you will notice several things: "Home" is in C major, "I Will Wait" is in C# major (first chord A#m), and "I Will Wait" is faster than "Home."  This made creating and learning the mash-up a challenge.  Thanks to some cool technology, I was able to pitch-shift "I Will Wait" down to C major (first chord Am) and split the difference in tempo (speed), slightly slowing down "I Will Wait" and slightly speeding up "Home." Then it was easier to splice the two together and experiment. That also gave us a finished sounding practice track.

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