Message from Sunday, November 18, 2018 at Faith Lutheran Church in Bellaire, TX.
This is a new worship song I came across called, “Every Table is An Altar.”
If I were going to use this song, I might arrange it leaving the Bridge section out. An 11 minute ballad isn’t for every church. I think the song is lyrically strong enough without the Bridge. Especially if you use the Pre-Chorus in place of the building Bridge section.
The lyrics are striking. I’m drawn to them because they connect the tables of our everyday lives to Jesus’ radical table fellowship. They remind me of the sursum corda (“Lift up your hearts…Let us give thanks…”). They also recall the Emmaus Road story:
Every table is an altar
Every breath is a gift from you
Every moment is a treasure
Every day is a kiss from you
So let our hearts
Be awake, be awake
Break the bread, pour the wine
Let our hearts, come alive
In your presence, in your presence
Let our fear, fall away
Let our faith, rise today
In your presence, in your presence
Every stranger has a story
Every story’s being told by you
We’re all children on a journey
Jesus only you can lead us through
Chord chart can be downloaded here.
If you were with us in worship last Sunday you got to see the “Welcome to Baptism” rite by which we introduce our candidates in the First Steps @ Faith catechumenate process. The rite of welcome is an important transitional moment for these folks. It signifies that they are committing to growing their faith in Jesus in a very intentional way. It also lifts up to the church the fact that we have disciples sprouting in our midst, and our job is to nurture and encourage them in their journey of following Jesus. The ritual we witnessed is one of the most ancient rites of the Christian church. Record of its existence goes as far back as Hippolytus in 235 AD. “New converts to the faith, who are to be admitted to hearers of the word, shall first be brought to the teachers before the people assembled. And they shall be examined as to their reason for embracing the faith, and they who bring them shall testify that they are competent to hear the word.” (Webber, Journey to Jesus, p. 83)
(Welcome to Baptism starts at 34:42)
“The Way of the Cross” is a living Stations of the Cross presentation using dramatic tableau (or “living picture”). I adapted the traditional 14 stations down to 10.
I am very happy with how this service came out! This is the third time I have used this service on a Good Friday (Grace Baptist in 2006, and Covenant Lutheran in 2010). Bravo to the actors in this one – they may not have to memorize any lines, but their part was intense.
One of the best parts of this presentation is the voice of the congregation on these hymns. You can hear their hearts.
One of my favorite twists during these contemplative services is to end by singing “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” – an Advent hymn of expectation. The longing for deliverance expressed in these words ties so well to Jesus’ death.
Recently at Faith we made an upgrade to the technology we use in worship. The desire was to make possible the live web streaming of our services. We wanted people away from church on Sunday, either traveling, or ill, or homebound, to be able to tune in and follow along online. It also gives us the ability to share baptisms, weddings, and funerals with people across the globe.
During Holy Week in late March we launched the web streaming of our worship services online. It took us a few weeks to get some of the bugs fixed, but we are increasingly improving the quality of the broadcast every week. We were blessed with a very generous gift from one of our members that made this additional technology possible.
For those that are a little on the geeky side, the project included two new key pieces of equipment. The first was a Sony BRC-300 video camera and the second was a Roland VR-5 video mixer. The Sony video camera is mounted on the edge of the choir loft and has powerful zoom capabilities that can hone in on the chancel area. It also can pan all around the sanctuary and has six preset scenes that allow us to pick key areas in the room we want the camera to record often in the service (like the pulpit, table, lectern, and choir loft). This camera is a significant step up from the consumer grade handheld camcorder that we used previously. The Roland video mixer takes the signal from the Sony camera, and the signal from our video projection computer that displays words and videos during the service, and mixes those two together. Other new equipment is listed below.
Behind the scenes we have a volunteer whose job it is to mix the video and audio signal and ensure that it gets broadcast to the website successfully. You can watch the live broadcast online every Sunday at 9:00 and 11:15 AM. The address is live.faithbellaire.org (you can also find the link on the homepage of our church website). We are already having viewers tune in from around the world. We had five viewers watch the services online on Easter Sunday (our first Sunday to try out the new technology). We’ve had viewers as far away as France and the Caribbean join us online on Sunday mornings.
We are excited about this new technology and the opportunities for reaching more people with the ministry of worship at Faith.
Equipment included in project:
- Roland Vr-5 video mixer
- Sony BRC300 Remote Camera
- Sony BRCWMZ330 Wall Mount
- Omnirax Presto Desk
- KRK RP5 Active Studio monitors
- Atlona VGA, HDMI Balun
- Atlona Distribution Amplifier
- Shockmount for camera by Nigel
- IR System to connect remote to camera
- Audio, video, and networking cables
I’ve been experimenting with some simple environmental projection at our Wednesday evening Taize services at Faith. Opposite of the screen (which is a loop of icons of Jesus), I put a huge flickering candle on loop. It is projected on to the wall which has raised bars. Environmental projection is simply the idea that you project images and loops on some surface other than a screen. The railing and table are full of votive candles, so the large projected candle ties in with the rest of the room. I’ve also added two LED lamps throwing purple light beneath the cross.
(On Saturday, May 12, 2012 I gave a workshop at the TX-LA Gulf Coast Synod Assembly. These are the notes/images from that workshop!)
- The video screen has become the new stained glass in 21st Century churches.
- Why projection?
- We live in a visual culture. The common currency for communication has shifted from text to images.
- “It’s not either image, or text. It’s both/and, image and text. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Jesus was a man (image) living among us. He was also text (the Word become flesh).” ~ Leonard Sweet, The Gospel According to Starbucks
- Projector – projectorpeople.com, iavi.com, tigerdirect.com ($500)
- Computer – upgraded RAM, hard drive, processor, video card ($400)
- Optional – screen, mounting hardware, cables, presentation software
How to make a great looking PowerPoint slide
- Don’t just throw a Times New Roman font on a white screen! Creating beautiful slides is intensive and time-consuming.
- Helpful Guidelines:
- Don’t overload the slides with content (MAX: 6 lines of lyric, 6 words to summarize point).
- Limit your font choices to 2. Choose fonts that are easy to read and use the styles consistently throughout your presentation.
- Not distracting, but not too simple.
- Choose a background that will attract the viewer’s eye to the words. If your background requires the words to have an outline and a drop shadow to be readable, it is no longer attracting the viewer’s eye to the words.
- Use the negative space (Dark background/light text; light background/dark text).
- Use imagery that tells the story of the text.
- Avoid clipart at all costs. Use stock photography or artwork.
- Use simple transitions (cross fade).
The move toward presentation software
- CCLI integration, Bible integration, moving backgrounds, announcements, real-time editing, PowerPoint integration, etc.
- EASY WORSHIP, ProPresenter4, MediaShout, ProWorship, etc.
Web resources for graphics
- sxc.hu – free stock photography
- gracewaymedia.com – backgrounds/graphics
- christusrex.org – images from the Sistine Chapel and Vatican museums
- The Wired Church 2.0 by Len Wilson and Jason Moore
- High-Tech Worship?: Using Presentational Technologies Wisely by Quentin J. Schultze
- Sound, Lighting and Video: A Resource for Worship by Brad Herring
- A Moving Word: Media Art in Worship by Eileen Crowley
- HT: Asbury Seedbed
Will Willimon on “Who gets saved?” from TWOTP.com.[vimeo 34852977]