Just got in from the Synodical Conference on Worship sponsored by the CTCR and COW. I'll write some more about my experiences in the next couple days, but for now just a few rather personal reflections:
1. This boy is not made to endure long conferences. I CAN'T SIT STILL. It slays me. Call it ADD or whatever, but physically enduring long bouts of "not moving" (and I mean more than "stand and stretch" for a few!) sends me round the bend. I start jiggling, shaking, fidgeting. It's awful.
2. The introvert factor - the need to be alone in order to get some energy and restoration? - there was NO time for it. Too much to do - with the conference, with visiting with friends both old and new. We're all aware that we are only together for a short time and so there's the need to squeeze so much out of it.
3. Seeing old friends was a treat indeed - folks I'd not had much contact with since seminary - and above all, my old college room mate, Pr. Gregory Walton. Pray that his house sells! I can't remember them all: today got to see Aaron and Dennis, Douglas and I caught up a bit yesterday, and had a nice conversation with Bruce the first day.
4. "Meeting" "new" friends - all those folks one's come to know and love through the net: was great to visit with Dan and Nathan and Mason.
5. And then there is the unspeakable treat of catching up with folk that I do get to visit with now and again: David and Ben and Paul (I was too tired to tell you, Paul, but you did a great job at the chanting in our little compline - beautiful) and Jon and Phil and all the rest.
6. Rachel was an angel and a half - she took care of low carb meals so that I didn't go off plan at all! Super. I love you, Rachel! And I look forward to thanking you by trouncing you at the next game of pinochle... ;)
7. I was very struck by an observation Phil made to me today over lunch: the difference between those who operate and are comfortable in the realm of ideas (again, the introvert often) and those for whom relational stuff is the absolute key (usually the extrovert). At the conference, we experienced time and again that there had to be a way for those two things to "meet" before you could hear or be heard.
8. Thoughts on the worship experiences:
a. I can watch a Latvian Divine Service and not understand a single word, and yet recognize and be at home with what's happening there. Same with a service from our sister church in Southern Africa. It's literally "home." In some of the worship at the conference, I was "at home." One particular service that was called Morning Prayer (second day), the only way I knew how to describe it would be to say: "it wasn't home." The Divine Service that evening, however, was "home" - even if I happen to think that the musical presentation was rather like being forced to listen to bad music blaring from the radio. Icky musical presentation aside, however, it was truly home. I just couldn't yell out: "Turn that dang thing off!" ;)
b. What does it mean, though, if we have two groups in our Synod who recognize two different "homes"?
c. I intend to write this up as a suggestion for improvement: it would have been MUCH more interesting to have had a traditional service observed entirely according to the rubrics with maximal ceremony and well done; and a full contemporary worship worship done with the maximal ceremonies used (which may be removal of all traditional ceremony, but it will be replaced with something - with what?) and according to those who would are experts in such things, well done - and then to have allowed a discussion about specifics based on that. The worship that we were given did NOT represent what I would call "traditional" and I heard numerous folks comment that it did not at all represent what they do as contemporary in their parishes.
That's it for the time being!