We continue with week 5 of our worship series: Yes to the Mess: Surprising Lessons from Jazz & Acts. This 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.
This weeks worship will explore jamming and hanging out. Worship will be rooted in Acts 16.9-15. We continue in Acts and return to Paul who is now traveling through Macedonia where he encounters a “certain woman named Lydia”. Paul details his conversation with her and we learn that she is a woman of means who sells purple cloth (worn by those with wealth). Lydia is most likely a gentile who has attached herself to an early community of followers of Jesus. Last week we learned that “All means All”. “Even them” (the gentiles) were to be included in God’s love. This week we are given the example of God’s saving grace dismantling social barriers that cultivate strife between people. Mutuality is the watchword of a community of traded goods. People must get along in order to barter and trade with one another. Lydia, through her trading in linens has many connections. She signifies the role of an ideal convert to the faith. Her home has become a spiritual center in which the whole city may gather and hear the stories of Jesus. While it is not a synagogue, it is a significant location for believers to come, learn and practice their faith.
In his chapter on “Jamming and Hanging Out” Frank J. Barrett writes about the early communites of practice that developed in the early 1950’s around cities where musicians would hang out and draw knowledge from each other. In these sessions peers challenged and sustained one another through collaborative discoveries while they attempted difficult technical passages of music. Relationships and friendships grew as well as the music. These times were known as “Jam Sessions.”
Our Kitchen Tables bring small groups of us together each week to watch over one another in love. Our worship on Sunday morning brings a larger group together to pray, sing and witness to our experiences of God’s grace and love.
How do you imagine the regular practice of gathering in groups would strengthen a community? What are some of the ideas that have been “exchanged” in a casual gathering of people you know? Can you name a time for yourself in which you surrended control by opening yourself up to the life story of another person? What was this like for you?