As I was resting and relaxing this weekend I saw that on my recommended list of new music videos was one that was just released from the singer Lorde. I am quite fond of her songs , although her first album had several massively overplayed radio singles. Having paid attention to the lyrics of the song and to her own interviews about her new single, this song clearly fits into an emotional range I understand very well–complicated feelings. This song mines the same territory as many songs I happen to like by artists such as Christine McVie (of Fleetwood Mac) and can be termed as a happy-sounding sad song. The lyrics of the song deal with a woman upset at a dysfunctional relationship that is breaking down over his unfaithfulness, drinking and trying to distract herself and looking forward to a green light towards a better future. Over and over again she says that she is going to pick up her things–the sign of the end of the relationship, but that she doesn’t know if she can let go and not see her former partner everywhere she goes. It’s a powerful song with a driving piano, and I look forward to its imminent debut on the charts.
Today was one of those fairly busy days that provide a lot of material for thinking and reflection if one can ever get around to it . For example, after having to deal with particularly slow drivers on the way to church, I breezed into choir practice a bit late to be greeted by our choir director, and I ended up being able to announce the coming of the next person who was just behind me, and I was the only tenor there and the person right behind me only the second of the sopranos. A couple of times I got to chat a bit with the two young people babysitting a few of our congregation’s more feral children, one of whom came up to give me a hug during services, which startled me a little, and when a productive choir practice was done it was time to get my viola and stand ready for services and there was barely time to chat with anyone not around me before services before I was asked to give the opening prayer and it was time for services to begin.
Services themselves went well. The sermonette, by one of my friends whose ability to gain goodwill from an audience is pretty enviable (and who happened to deliver a book for me to read, hopefully this week), encouraged us to seek discernment and judgment on how to respond to people, a practical aim. The announcements covered a lot of ground and gave me some pause, especially as the speaker expressed a concern in the hiring process with people who would have their own ambition to start a group of their own. After some lovely special music came a sermon message that sought to give a firm understanding of the chronology of the Passover, dealing with some Hebrew roots concerns from people that seek to copy the Jewish example rather than the biblical one. Included in the sermon was a joke that I felt directed rather pointedly at me, when our pastor made a joke about a message that had been given at camp about biblical ways of marriage that don’t work anymore, one of which included waking up to find a woman sleeping at one’s feet. I would probably be deeply shocked by such a thing myself, not being particularly experienced with anyone sleeping in my bed, and being a person given to be quite easily startled anyway.
After services I rushed off after packing up my janky music stand and viola and went to practice for the a capella choir, where I was again the only tenor, and after practice ended and I opened up the room for the following speaker’s workshop ended up chatting a bit about practice and the struggles of some of the notes in our song with one of our redheaded sopranos because without practice she cannot hit the higher end of her soprano range, being a second soprano by her natural voice unless it is properly exercised, exercise that is lacking because she is not taking choir this semester. After chatting for a while, we scattered off and I got some snacks and then we went to a short speaker’s workshop where we critiqued the sermonette and discussed some of the ways that Jesus’ preaching was so distinctive and effective. It seemed that our minister was encouraging us to ask more questions to lead the audience to where we were going rather than give information dumps, and to use striking statements of hyperbole to shock a sometimes complacent audience. At least the first of such suggestions comes naturally enough to me personally.
In the evening I enjoyed a friendly dinner where I kept what could have been a somewhat awkward conversation more lively with a bit of my lighthearted and somewhat loud wit, and got some ideas for future sermonettes and perhaps a blog series on the dumbest people in the Bible, as it was very funny to riff on the ways that people like Nabal and Haman were so incredibly stupid. Of course, for prudential reasons I have not blogged about 1 Samuel 25, even though it is one of my favorite stories about marriage alliances, and a story that is on the short list of stories I want to write about for my maternal lines series, even if it is unclear if she had any children of her own that lived to form one of the Davidic lines. After getting home, and before falling asleep somewhat early, I managed to watch a video shared by a friend of mine at church about divorce and remarriage where the speaker tried to endorse the practice by failing to take into account the response to the message expressed by the disciples who realized Jesus’ strong defense of the lasting nature of marriage. It is all too easy for us in our age to endorse disunity, and to avoid putting forth the effort that it takes to build or maintain such unity in our institutions, but that does not mean that we ought to celebrate and endorse the brokenness that we find in our own lives and in the world around us.
 See, for example:
 See, for example: