Monday, November 21, 2011

Liturgy and Kermit: It's not easy being green

And what did you sing for your Gloria on the Feast of Christ the King?

For all of us in the Folk Choir, we had a powerful yet wistful moment, belting out David Haas' Mass of Light Gloria for the very last time on Sunday morning. A few others will be retired, too (like our own African Glory to God), but it was very clear to us, as we sang this much-loved setting, that we were on the doorstep to a new era in church music, sacred language, and hence the whole lexicon of spiritual expression in our gatherings.

This Sunday, the transition begins, and as Kermit so wisely sang, "It's not easy being green!" Not the color of the famous Amphibian's skin of course: rather, green in the sense of inexperienced and uncomfortable. We're all gonna go through it. Even if Advent 1 goes well, we are now entering the domain of I-can't-just-answer-without-thinking. Those days are now behind us.

Yet with all this, as I spoke with our students yesterday, there was a sense of "bring it on!" that was really quite encouraging. Twenty-five years of the same mass settings can usher in another sense of green: that is, of penicillin growing around the edges of the music scores. It was high time for some changes, a chance to shake up the mix, a chance for creativity to be let loose, a chance to let the Spirit which guides our community put a playful hand to the rudder of the Church and see where we might go.

It's not easy being green. But it can be fun, too, and Kermit knew a bunch about that as well. (His greatest quote: "Time's fun when you're having flies!) And if we're going to survive this transition, I would venture that we'll be all the better off, for keeping a bit of his infectious humor at the ready.

Thanksgiving blessings to all of you! May you have a great holiday, safe travels, long naps, and a chance to cherish all the great things that celebrate the sacred in our lives.

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