Thursday, November 26, 2015
On Sunday November 15, the weekly Vespers (church) service at the Heron Point Retirement Community took a turn. The initiative for Jazz Vespers came from Chaplain Anne Ledbetter, to whom this was new. As some know, in my last church staff position (Chestertown Church of the Nazarene, 2003-2006), we ran a Jazz Vespers series for much of the time. This approach to worship is common enough that most have heard of it, and uncommon enough that most have not experienced it. For Anne and I, it was an opportunity to meld collective vision and expertise into a worship experience that was meaningful to everyone present (musicians included).
There are differing approaches and understandings to Jazz Vespers, though all have one thing in common; the expanded role of music and creative performance in a(n ultimately) God-focused context. Central in my view, is the revelatory nature of creation:
"For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities ... have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made ..." (Romans 1:20). This is a grounding for me in all things musical; to let music (creation and creativity) "speak". So perhaps you could say that the guys and I joined Chaplain Anne in a bit of "preachin'". The video post above (click through to the YouTube post for performer credits and more info) is the continuation of "Amazing Grace" after the congregational singing.
Looking forward to the next Jazz Vespers opportunity.