Gather into One: Praying and Singing Globally

Gather into One: Praying and Singing Globally

Gather into One: Praying and Singing Globally

Gather into One: Praying and Singing Globally

Excerpt

In its evocative description of the coming kingdom of God, Revelation 21 teaches us that the “glory and honor of the nations” will be brought into the Holy City of God (vv. 24, 26). In this place of perfect worship and the immediate experience of God’s presence, the culturally particular gifts of nations find a natural home. Attending choir rehearsals in the Holy City promises to be an unequaled multicultural musical feast.

In that light, reading this book should be not only an academic exercise but also an eschatological one. As it takes us on a global musical and liturgical travelogue, this book can train our minds and hearts to anticipate the coming of the kingdom of God.

It can also helpus think differently about worship in our own congregations. The singing of global songs in Christian worship is nothing new. Songs have traveled over oceans and seas for centuries. But the global economy and internet communication have made our awareness of the broader world more pervasive and acute. Most denominational hymnals in North America now feature several selections from other cultures. Even more global is a culture of pop music that can now be heard in churches on every continent. Often, however, this global borrowing has degenerated into what Michael Hawn himself has called a “liturgical ethnotourism,” in which we sing global songs, but with a patronizing attitude. We borrow memorable melodies and rhythms without looking at the people who make this music. We fail to ask how global songs and the people behind them might teach us to pray more honestly and proclaim the gospel more truthfully.

This book calls us to more. It both models and teaches humility. It challenges us to learn from wise mentors — worship leaders and musicians from . . .

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