Bet you didn’t know that Joy turns 300 this year? That is Isaac Watts hymn Joy to the World turns 300. This beloved Christmas classic is based on Psalm 98 which invites us to sing a new song. This Advent, we will be doing not just a sermon series around Joy to the World, but rearranging worship some so we can sing a new song. I know change is hard. Remember my first sermon here at FUMC? Change is hard, but it happens all around us and it seems like the pace is unprecedented. But I want to invite you to give these changes a chance.
The series is designed by Marcia McFee, a United Methodist worship consultant who got her bachelor’s degree in theater arts, went on to get a master of divinity (the degree you get when you are called to ministry) and then got a doctorate that involved both the theological and the theatrical. Her dissertation was kind of mind blowing – she took a neurological concept that there are four primal patterns of how we move through life and applied that to how we encounter God. Some of us are mystics and encounter God in silence and stillness. Some of us are swingers and encounter God in full body singing and dancing. Some of us are shapers who encounter God in set traditions. What she names the fourth category is escaping me right now and I can’t put my hands on my Worship Design folder, but they are folks who go with the flow and seem to open themselves to all the modes. Now think about the one hour we gather on Sunday morning at FUMC. It is heavy on the traditional side, on the verbal side. We need to include all the modes. Marcia calls this multisensory rich worship. You will hear more about this in January in a worship service that demonstrates each mode and gets you to connect with your mode.
In the meantime, I hope you will make worship this Advent a priority and that you will open yourself to heaven and nature singing, to us singing a new song together!