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Year C, Advent 4, 2015 – Smart of the Week: Music!

December 14, 2015 / D2 / Advent

Welcome to More Than Hearing! This is a podcast that encourages preachers and worship leaders to use Dr. Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences for sermon preparation and worship leadership. (If you are not familiar with this theory, click the link on the top of this page for more information.) Today, we will cover the Revised Common Lectionary readings for the fourth week in Advent, Year C.

We’ve added links to the texts so you can read along and also to our worksheets for each text. These worksheets include the text and our thoughts for each one, some of which make it to the show and some that don’t. Should we call it “Bonus material?” You tell us!

Smart of the Week:

Periodically, we will highlight a particular intelligence or “smart” for some more in depth analysis. This week, the Magnificat in Luke’s gospel lesson inspired us to talk more about music smart. We use music regularly in our worship, but how often do we dare venture outside the range of preferences we have established? We understand that “worship wars” have been fought over what style of music is used in worship, so this may be a delicate subject for some of you. However, Scripture has such rich depth that a wider expression of music warrants a bit of experimenting from time to time. We have a HUGE list of links down below that you can use to spark some ideas for using the Magnificat in worship.

The lessons for week four are:

  • Micah 5:2-5a – Micah’s era was full of injustice and fear where the powerful exploited the weak and small. So how tremendous that the coming one who is to rule as from the days of old would be from wee little Bethlehem! Using word smart, explore contemporary poetry about fear and injustice because people in power still abuse the dispossessed. We recommend Poetry Soup as a resource. In nature smart, we talk about how big things come out of small packages, such as Bethlehem and yeast and mustard seeds. For a humorous example of a big surprise coming from a small package, you might consider this clip from the Dick van Dyke Show where Laura’s curiosity about what Rob ordered in the mail gets the better of her.
  • Psalm 80:1-7 – The repeated phrase, “Restore us, O God; let you face shine, that we might be saved” sparked an idea to use glow sticks. We put the idea in the eye smart section of our chart, but it also works in body, people, and self smart. As the Psalm is read and that phrase (or any other mention of shining or lights) is read, have people wave their glow sticks as a way of lighting up the worship space. This could be very eye catching and also involves movement (body smart). Using self smart, ask people to wave their glow stick when they feel like God is shining on them during the service. Invite everyone to take their sticks with them and use them as a way to wave a blessing to others who might need a little shining light in their lives (people smart).
  • Hebrews 10:5-10 We read commentary for this passage that took great pains to deal with the second part of verse nine: “He abolishes the first in order to establish the second”. Jacob Myers, writing at Working Preacher on the ambiguity of this line, suggests this translation: “He takes up the first in order that he might establish a foundation for the second.” Using math smart, spend some time reasoning out what “the first” is – sacrifices, the law, covenants – and how “abolishes” and “takes up” influences the interpretation of the verse. Consider these questions, too. Did Jesus suppliment the first or abolish the first? Did he participate in the sacrificial system or pluck it up? Once you’ve reasoned this out for yourself, design a pathway to lead others in your reasoning.
  • Luke 1:39-56 The Magnificat – a rich treasure of images, poetry, hope, and music. See the links below for some options or starting points for exploring music smart. Some of the options could be anthems, service music, or hymns. Math smart can be examined with civil engineering or road grading. When an engineer designs a road, high places are smoothed out and pits are filled in making for a more efficient travel surface. Why would it be important to Mary that God has graded the roads? Self smart asks the congregation to consider if they have ever been filled with the Holy Spirit and how does one know?


Lots o’ Links:


Poetry Soup

The Dick van Dyke Show


Jacob Myers


John Piper’s quote

Miriam’s Song by Debbie Friedman

Hannah’s Song of Praise – Max Stern

Magnificat in G minor – Antonio Vivaldi

Wild Goose Publications – John L. Bell

ancient Hebrew psalms Suzanne Haik Vantoura

So that’s a lot of information to hand over! Again, use what looks interesting. We hope that as you listen to the podcast and read the show notes, the Spirit will give you a spark and lead you to an invigorating and meaningful experience. Thank you for spending some time with us.

Blessings on you and your ministry!!

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One thought on “Year C, Advent 4, 2015 – Smart of the Week: Music!

  • We’ve been using some of these smarts in our own worship. We both used Chia pets – David’s is actually sprouting! My Chia pet is standing in its tray up to its armpits in slime. ProTip: it is a very good idea to try these ideas at home first.

    We’ve also used the half gallon of water – one of my elders was my volunteer and I filled in for David in his worship service. Ouch! It was an excellent demonstration of the weight of worry and brokenness.

    David used a lever and fulcrum to demonstrate how sometimes small things have great influence or power. A nine year old boy lifted David a few inches off the ground using one hand! “He is risen!” said a wag in the congregation.

    I paved the way to the salvation of the Lord by raiding closets at home and placing various shoes down the aisle of the sanctuary, talking about how we go about learning to adopt forgiveness as a worldview until we come to the salvation of the Lord – which was a cross sitting on the communion table. We served communion by intinction that day, so everyone came forward following the path.

    We will periodically mention how these ideas go for us in our Feedback Loop section of our podcast, but would really love to hear if anyone else has used anything and how it went.

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