20th October 2014
Every so many Sundays someone will stop and ask about a song that was on the set list the week before. “Hey, do you know the name of the song we sang right after communion last week?” I rarely know the answer. I usually push them to Jeff, our band leader, who often responds with, “I’m not sure. I would have to look it up.”
When I think about the whole the gathering, like the set list, not much of it is committed to memory. Most of it is perishable. Most of the experience never returns. Like the offering or the Eucharist, there is no recoil of those things. They are given away. They are consumed. The songs are poured out, not as a spectacle, but as a means of engagement. We don’t sing to remember, we sing because we remember. And when the teacher teaches, and we’re feverishly scratching notes because we’re afraid we’ll miss something or forget what we’ve heard, it’s important to remember that we probably already forgot what was said last week.
Sometimes the gathering itself is the next step. When we are all standing together and moving through the communal behaviors of singing and prayer and scripture and the Eucharist, we are together with God, and that may be its own end. At times to only to-do from the gathering is to return the next week and do it all over again.