I Love Lectureship
For those of you who have never been to or even heard of Lectureship, it is quite possibly the greatest thing that happens on the campus of ACU. I don't get nearly enough of an opportunity to hear all of the fine discussions that take place each year in February (now being moved to September)...but I have gotten to hear a couple of life-changing things. So here are some fairly random thoughts on a couple of lectures I've heard:
The Woman at the Well
David Fleer from Rochester College had an interesting sermon on John 4 (the woman at the well) last night. Two things that he said that are resonating through my simple mind this morning: (1) Jesus' response to the woman's "worship war" question: "A time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks." (2)While the woman was off evangelizing to her entire community (gee, our women allowed to do that?!?!?!), the apostles (who happen to be men) are more concerned about eating.
Listening to his complete talk would be well worth the investment of time and money. And on a completely different note...the guy sounds like a cross between George Carlin and Mr. Hand from "Fast Times At Ridgmont High!"
U2 And The Psalms
That is, by far, the coolest title for a lecture that I had ever seen...so I HAD to make a trip over to the Campus Center on Sunday night to check this out. It's been over 18 years since I beheld the greatness of U2 live and in-person...but this was just as exciting and invigorating as the concert I saw in the Tarrant County Convention Center in the Fall of 1987.
Greg Stevenson, a Bible Professor also from Rochester College, presented a lecture that made me look at the Psalms and their place in worship in a new way. He also used a recorded U2 performance to exemplify his points. To top the evening off, a local ACU band, Homer Hiccolm and The Rocketboys, covered six U2 songs. The crowd was decisively young in nature -- I'd say 80% of the group were students. But I did see a few 30-somethings in the crowd...so I felt a little better about being there.
Granted, I can't do Bro Stevenson's lecture justice...but I'll try to give my version of a couple of the points he made.
If you take a trip through our hymnals very rarely will you find any song that would qualify as a "lament." Meanwhile, the "Book of Psalms" is FULL of laments from David...with the overriding theme encompassed in a two word question: "How long?" How long must Your enemies be triumphant? How long must we sing this song of sadness? How long must we wait for your return?
As a Christian there will be times to lament. However, being a Christian does not mean being full of lamentation. Rather being a Christian means that a psalm of lament can be answered by psalms of praise.
It was at this point in the evening that Stevenson played a portion of a concert. The first song he played was "Bad" (my favorite song of all times, by the way -- I looked silly with tears streaming down my face surrounded by a bunch of college kids!)...a song lamenting the drug-overdose death of a friend of the band. As the song "Bad" draws to a close, Bono begins to sing the chorus to "40" -- U2's rendition of Psalms 40:1-3. The words repeat over and over: "How long to sing this song?!" Staying true to form, the crowd quickly joins in and sings along...while the music becomes still." From there, the familiar intro of "Where The Streets Have No Name" begins. A song that once referred to the band's trip to Ethiopia is now often interpreted to be a song about Heaven. Bono recites the first 4 verses of Psalm 116: " I love the LORD, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live. The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came upon me; I was overcome by trouble and sorrow. Then I called on the name of the LORD: "O LORD, save me!" So a song of lament is followed by a song of praise.
Growing up "in the Church," I have been taught that it's not a wise thing to make your laments known to God. God is to be praised -- not whined to.
So I thank Stevenson for the new and Biblically sound perspective. Pretty cool.
Mike Cope is speaking this evening...so I'm sure seats will be hard to come by.