We begin a new eight-week worship series this Sunday called Yes to the Mess: Surprising Lessons from Jazz & Acts.
Our worship series is structured around a book called Yes to the Mess: Surprising Leadership Lessons from Jazz by Frank J. Barrett. Throughout this worship series we will hold Barrett’s reflections on jazz in creative tension with the development of the earliest church as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles. The Acts of the Apostles “is a highly evocative story of the church’s beginnings that traces its dramatic growth from sacred Jerusalem to Imperial Rome” (Volume X of New Interpreter’s Bible, p 3).
Biblical scholars believe Acts was written as a letter during the first century. It could be said that Acts was written to consolidate various communities, articulate the church’s mission, and strengthen the faith of new followers of Jesus. Acts was written in a time of radical crisis in which the earliest followers of Jesus were discerning and defining what it meant to be rooted in Grace, growing in faith, and reaching in love.
Outline for Yes to the Mess
April 7 Jazz: Mastering the Art of Unlearning (Acts 5.27-32)
April 14 Developing Affirmative Competence (Acts 9.1-20)
April 21 Embracing Errors as a Source of Learning (Acts 9.36-43)
April 28 Balancing Freedom and Constraints (Acts 11.1-18)
May 5 Jamming & Hanging Out (Acts 16.9-5)
May 12 Soloing & Supporting (Acts 6.1-7)
May 19 Nurturing Double Vision (Acts 2.1-21)
May 26 Engaged & Strategic Improvisation (Acts 2(37-42)
We will begin our series with our attention on Acts 5.27-32. Peter and the apostles stand before a high priest and must defend the way they have been practicing their faith. They had unlearned the ways of Caesar in order to follow Jesus. That unlearning made a mess of the culture and political authority of the day. The high priest was charged with defending the order of the day. The high priests wanted the apostles to get in line and clean up. Unlearning the ways of empire was not acceptable.
What have you been taught about faith that you might need
to unlearn in order to be more rooted in Grace?
In Yes to the Mess, Frank J Barrett writes, “…here’s how [Sonny] Rollins talks about how he approaches his art: ‘As soon as I hear myself playing a familiar melody I take the mouth-piece out of my mouth. I let some measures go by. Improvising means coming in with a completely clean slate from the first note…the most important thing is to get away from fixed functions.’ Rollins’s efforts to unlearn his successful routines was an affirmative move. He was letting go of the familiar and comfortable in order to welcome new possibilities and opportunities” (Yes to the Mess, 15-16).