Digital TV is great … all these channels, and still nothing to watch. Nothing new, anyway. In truth, I have been greatly enjoying the opportunity to re-watch Babylon 5 (my favourite TV show of all time) all the way through on FX, in spite of already owning all the episodes on DVD. Check it out, weeknights at 6pm or all afternoon Sunday from 1pm onwards.
Anyhoo, back on topic … on Thursday of this week, the final episode of season 4 (The Deconstruction of Falling Stars) was on, and the first act of the episode consisted of a “talking heads” type discussion show where the recent happenings in the story were examined by journalistic voices. The presenter of the show framed this using the word “Selah”, which appears a lot in the Psalms, and was taken to mean “Pause and Consider” in the context of the show.
Please note … I am aware that, in fact, the word is tough to translate into English and may mean nothing of the sort, but just go with me on this one, OK?
Given the three week break between the RE3 event at Scarborough on the 7th March, and the next one in Leven on the 28th, this inspired me to do a bit of pausing and considering on where we, and the RE events, are at the moment. Selah!
We have now done a total of 21 RE events over the past two and a half years (5 of RE1, and 8 each of RE2 and RE3, for those keeping score) and for us, as a band, they continue to provide the bulk of our diary and probably the most powerful expression of God’s Kingdom that we undertake through our ministry.
We have recently joked that the next RE could be a “greatest hits” of the three existing versions, lifting the Eucharistic Prayer from RE2, the Confession from RE3, the Intercessions from RE1, for example, and stitching the whole thing together into a new event, but instead a new and fresh RE4 will be born over the Summer of 2010 for rolling out in the Autumn season.
From my perspective, I think all three versions have much to commend them.
Whilst Heaven in the Ordinary is probably the weakest overall, it was the first, involved much trial and error, and was ultimately born of that great moment of stress and anxiety that screams “can we really do this?” into your ear at maximum volume. Also, no event can be bad when you play Smells Like Teen Spirit and Blessed Be Your Name almost back to back.
Rising Sun learned the lessons of RE1, and improved the whole package, whilst stealing some of its best bits for itself … stand up once again Blessed Be Your Name. This was also where we started to experiment more with using familiar secular intros to lead into worship songs. And all of this is topped off with the magnificent Eucharistic Prayer inviting a room full of Homer Simpsons (sorry, Damon Albarns) to scream “WooHoo” at the top of their voices in celebration.
Though We Are Many, again learned much from its predecessor and moved things on again. A much larger game of “Spot The Riff” can now be enjoyed as Paul liberally sprinkles famous guitar lines throughout the event. As a whole, it is probably the most coherent in terms of its theme, perhaps simply because we used our own rather than sticking with the theme of that year’s Greenbelt Festival. Nothing quite reaches the heights of Song 2, though.
The bottom line is that I love doing these events. The sense of worship, joy and celebration is absolutely tangible, and the way God has moved in us and in those churches where events have been held has been extraordinary to behold, and their appeal to those aged 8 to 80 continues to baffle and delight me.
God has used these events in powerful ways both in churches and in individuals, and I praise and thank Him that I have been able to give my meagre talents to His service in this way, and I am very much looking forward to the final two in this Spring series and then the annual brainstorm that is working out which songs we can realistically use in RE4, and the annual ritual of Paul’s “You really expect me to play that?” face when we decide on a particularly tricky intro … stand up Sweet Child of Mine.
If you get a chance to get down to one of these events, do. It will be an eye-opener and no mistake. If not, why not invite us to lead one in your church. Trust me, you won’t regret it.