Soon we will set up a new space on our website dedicated to music and worship related tidbits. We get enough questions from people at Downtown Church and those keeping an eye on us from further away to justify additional effort on our part in sharing whatever wisdom we've gained while attempting to design a worship experience that's local and true to our context.
We are also quite sure that what we are doing in worship is peculiar. Together with Kelley McLachlan, our worship director, we have developed a distinct point of view about what we consider "good" worship. The loose designation of "good" leaves plenty of room for taste and style to be considered. And yes, taste and style are selfish reasons to deem some worship "good" and other worship not.
In that spirit, we were determined to begin worship Sunday with the hymn, "Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee." However, the hymn is not a prototypical Easter hymn. The lyrics lack the resurrection imagery normally associated with Easter. Undeterred by this slight issue, Kelley offered a simple solution - write an additional verse to conclude the hymn filled with the resurrection language we needed to justify it's selection to start worship.
Her lyrics sounded like they should have been a part of the original version. Kelley's probably more comfortable writing for genres other than high churchy hymns, but you wouldn't know it. I could be wrong but her inexperience arranging classical church music likely helped. Most of the musicians that serve churches accustomed to singing "Joyful" while accompanied by traditional church instruments (organs in particular), would be hesitant to touch lyrics that are over 100 years old and set to a Beethoven tune. But Kelley didn't know any better when she took liberty with the lyrics, and we had "good" worship as a result.
Here's the extra verse:
Conqueror now of Death, He's risen Sin no longer reigns in power King of all and Lord forever Glorious God of then and now
Take the stones we're hiding under Bring us into life with thee Let our hearts be drawn to living In eternal unity