This weekend, we had the huge privilege of leading worship at Willow with my friend Ian Morgan Cron. Ian is an author of two phenomenal books, a great musician, and crazy smart.
Ian grew up Roman Catholic, planted a non-denomina-tional church in his 30s, and is now an Episcopal Priest. As you might guess, he has a fascinating perspective about God, church, worship, and liturgy…and so we invited him to Willow Creek to share some of his journey and lead us in a liturgical experience.
After reading a bit from his book Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and me…, Ian lead us in the Kyrie Eleison – which means “Lord, have mercy”. He taught a very simple refrain, and then guided us through a number of liturgical prayers. We (the band) did our best to think “What would Sigur Ros sound like in a Roman Catholic cathedral?”, and accompanied the prayers with a moody soundtrack that built and built and finally exploded into a soaring “Lord have mercy; Lord have mercy.”
As it all landed, Ian invited us to quietly pray:
Have mercy upon us, most merciful Father;
in your compassion forgive us our sins,
known and unknown,
things done and left undone;
and so uphold us by your Spirit
that we may live and serve you in newness of life,
to the honor and glory of your Name;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
…and then he took the biggest risk of the weekend. Ian tenderly said, “I believe that we all are the priesthood of believers, and so I’m going to ask you to do something that might feel weird. Please turn to the person next to you, look them in the eye, and say ‘In the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven’”.
The next few moments were as holy as it gets. Such a simple thing, but so powerful.
I’m really thankful to Ian for coming to serve our church – and exposing us to an entirely different experience of worship and the liturgy. (You can learn more about Ian at iancron.com.)