Wednesday, March 03, 2010

U2charist order of worship

I've spent the past few days putting together this service for our church here in Morris.  I'm excited, but also a little daunted about it.  I'd say about half of our congregation has never heard anything by U2.  (Mostly George Strait fans around here--and some family members of Merle Haggard)  We're going to be doing a lot of sitting and listening to recorded music, so I'm trying to think of ideas to get the congregation active or involved in some way.  I reeeeeealllly do not foresee any of my congregation getting up and clapping their hands and singing along and all that that may happen at other U2charists.  But, the folks are used to me brining in a song from time to time to hear and reflect or perhaps write something while they listen, etc.  If you have ideas, please share.  I'm rigging up a screen so that we can see some of the videos or other images/slideshows I may put together over the next few days, so there's a whole other layer of things to be nervous about.  I try to come right out of the gates with some of the most overtly religious songs by U2 to buy the some credibility with those who aren't familiar.  I wrote a confession where I drew from a few U2 songs (Acrobat, A Sort of Homecoming, One, Love Rescue Me), but I'm also still considering just having Love Rescue Me as the song of Confession-It has great lyrics and was cowritten with Bob Dylan-put in your vote!  Feel free to use or adapt for your own purposes.  I'm really excited because one of the youth is going to play Yahweh on guitar for the service.  There's a couple neat videos on youtube for that song too, so I may use them in some way as well.  For the service of Word, I'm probably going to use an interactive reading that combines a few stories from the Bible with "I still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" that I found at Bob Carlton's church. Thanks to them in advance.  I also got the opening prayer from them.  For the Children's sermon, I plan to talk with them about music and how it moves us, and then teach the kids to sing the old Bible School song, "this is the day that the Lord has made" which we will mash up with the refrain from Beautiful Day, "It's a beautiful day, don't let it slip away."  Oh, by the way, I noticed I have nothing from the 90s in the service.  Thought about using "One," my favorite song, but I had used that in a worship service recently, so they were already exposed to it.  I'd rather give them new stuff.   I'll probably wind up taking a couple/few songs out, I'd like to cut it closer to an hour to an hour and ten, but I thought I'd put the first draft up here for your use and pleasure, in case you're one of those hour and a half type churches.  In Morris, OK, we have pot roasts in the oven.

First United Methodist Church
 U2charist: I will Sing a New Song

In this service of worship, we will be drawing from the music and lyrics of the band U2 to express our praise and thanksgiving, confession, and yearning for connection with God.  The band has been making music on a world stage for 30 years.  Each time they tour in concert, they draw millions of people, where they offer a sensory rich spectacle that attempts to focus fans toward goals in humanitarian causes developed by the United Nations.  They offer prayers and even play Psalms and recite other Scripture when they play.  They are a “secular band” that unabashedly proclaims their faith, and what it compels them to do in the world.    Approach this service with the prayer that whether you are a longtime fan of U2, or have never really listened to them, God will open something new inside you. 

Song of Praise: Magnificent (from No Line on the Horizon, 2009)


I was born

I was born to be with you

In this space and time

After that and ever after I haven't had a clue

Only to break rhyme

This foolishness can leave a heart black and blue

Only love, only love can leave such a mark

But only love, only love can heal such a scar

I was born

I was born to sing for you 

I didn’t have a choice but to lift you up 

And sing whatever song you wanted me to

I give you back my voice 

From the womb my first cry, it was a joyful noise ...

Only love, only love can leave such a mark

But only love, only love can heal such a scar

Justified till we die, you and I will magnify

The Magnificent


Only love, only love can leave such a mark

But only love, only love unites our hearts

Justified till we die, you and I will magnify

Prayer:                        Liturgist
We gather here in your presence, God,
In our need and bringing with us the needs of the world.
We come with our faith and with our doubts;
We come with our hopes and our hunger.
We come as we are, because you invite us to come.
You have promised never to turn us away.
Open us, God, to experience you here.
All Respond: Amen.
Prelude: Rejoice (from October, 1981)
Scripture Lesson: Psalm 40, read responsively with response, p. 774                 Liturgist

Song of Response: 40 (from War, 1983)

Prayer of Confession:
Holy God,
We confess at times of saying “Lord, Lord,” and then closing our hearts to others.
I must be an acrobat, to talk like this, and act like that.
We confess a numbness toward your presence in the world around us.
Dislocated, suffocated 
The land grows weary of its own 
We confess that we bear grudges and plot revenge against one another
We hurt each other, then we do it again. 
Our hearts are broken, Lord, mend them and fill them with your Love and Forgiveness.
I'm here without a name in the palace of my shame.  Love rescue me

Song of Assurance: Grace (From All That You Can't Leave Behind, 2000)

Prayers of Joys and Concern:
During the time of sharing our joys and concerns, after a name or circumstance has been shared, the pastor will repeat the name or circumstance.  If it is a concern, we will pray together, “We carry each other.”  If it is a joy, we will pray together, “Only Love can leave such a mark.”  After the local joys and concerns are shared, we will hear the song “Sunday, Bloody Sunday” which elaborates on the theme of war and violence, which are our global concerns, and is a prayer of petition. 

The Lord’s Prayer

Offertory: Love and Peace or Else (from How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, 2004)

Children’s Sermon:                   Pastor

Interactive Scripture Reading and Homily
I still haven’t Found What I’m Looking For (from The Joshua Tree, 1987)

Invitation to Communion: Yahweh (from How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, 2004)  Atticus Dellinger

Great Thanksgiving and Communion: All are Welcome to receive. 
(I'll probably just choose three of these
American Prayer (Live version recorded at a concert in South Africa with Beyonce Knowles at a benefit concert for Nelson Mandela in 2002)
Mercy (unreleased) 

City of Blinding Lights, (From How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb) 
Where the Streets Have No Name (from The Joshua Tree, 1987)

Hymn of Invitation:

Take My Life and Let it Be: 399


  1. Nathan, I am glad you linked to FB to remind me of your blog. I bet your sermons really do shake up a small town, but I can imagine that years in the pews taught you that a very important job is to hold the interest of kids and teens who need a foundation in the church more than anyone?! Love your insight! Always and still love your family! Miss ya!

  2. (wish I could be there to hear it)