“Just Worship” - Andrew Frazier
I recently attended the Just Worship Conference in Austin, TX. As the conference description accurately advertised, over the course of two and a half days I and the other participants explored the intersection of justice and worship; discerned God’s call to work for justice; discussed how worship itself is justice-making; and joined in exuberant, Spirit-filled worship that welcomed the coming reign of God. With only four total hours of rehearsal, I and a small group of singers performed a powerful cantata, Manos Indocumentadas, that highlighted the real stories of undocumented immigrants in America and challenged us to respond to their cries, mingled with God’s own, for justice and community. In the rotunda of the Texas State Capitol, we gathered in an ever-widening circle with local, everyday citizens to breathe and sing together, joining our voices and breaking down dividing walls. It was a thrill to hear our voices echo in the halls of that building, and we prayed that the lawmakers would hear the resonant truth in our songs.
I listened to leading scholars and worship leaders present on just worship in a variety of ways, but I was profoundly moved by Dr. Tony McNeill’s workshop, in which he emphasized the servant role that worship planners and leaders must adopt to be servants of their congregations, servants of God’s Word, and servants of justice.
As you can see, there were so many things packed into our short time together, but each event, worship service, and workshop was thoroughly life-giving, and I left the conference comforted, galvanized, and renewed. If you’d like to know more about the things I learned or share with me your thoughts on how our worship can be more just, please contact me: afrazier@ firstpresbyterian.org. I’d love to talk with you!