Rock and Roll Revival Revisited

Rev. J, over at “Adventures in Revland” was looking at the U2charist liturgy. 

It is an interesting application of modern music and modern worship.  It does come with a warning, as it were.  While this group is encouraging the use of its music in such settings, they are also very particular about where and when their music is used, as well they should.  They wrote the music, they have the copyright and we need to respect that.

If you are interested, check out the comments that follow his post.

But it should give us pause to think about other music that we might use in our worship services.

I posted a piece back in November, 2006, entitled “A Rock and Roll Revival” in which I listed some personal favorites that one might use in a worship service.  I followed that up with “The Rock and Roll Revival Continued” in January, 2007

And this morning, it occurred to me that my opening prayer could by “Day by Day” (from Godspell)

Day by day
Oh Dear Lord
Three things I pray
To see thee more clearly
Love thee more dearly
Follow thee more nearly
Day by day

As always, I welcome suggestions for this “order of worship”

6 thoughts on “Rock and Roll Revival Revisited

  1. Both “Rock and Roll Revivals” sound like fun! My suggestions for other songs and approaches to worship would depend on what’s an authentic expression of worship for your congregation and for people to whom you want to reach out. The U2charist, for example (and yes, I’m the one who instigated the very first U2charist in 2004, sharing the liturgy with, among others, Paige Blair in Maine when, after hearing about the U2charist via an email list of which we were both a part, she decided she wanted to host a U2charist in June of 2005), felt totally authentic to me to do — both as a rock musician and a huge U2 fan. And I’m 37 years old — an age that puts me in middle and high school just as U2 were starting to be heard on the radio and MTV in the U.S., and that makes U2 a major band of my teenage years as well as my adulthood. And I know people of my generation who take their kids to U2 shows, and whose kids love it. I also know a lot of people in their 20s and younger who think of U2 as being kind of dorky and old, and quite a few people for whom U2 songs sound noisy and silly, and for whom the music of Bob Marley or the Beatles resonates far more deeply.

    I notice that your “Rock and Roll Revival” song picks tend toward hits of the Baby Boomer generation. That’s totally cool if that’s what resonates with you and your congregation. If you’re wondering what might resonate with others, though, I think there’s one indispensible step to planning liturgy around that:

    Ask them what they listen to. Ask them if they’re musicians and if they write music. If they haven’t written music before, or haven’t written liturgical music before, ask them whether they’d like to give it a try — and encourage them with words and whatever resources you can offer. For example, many bands in a given town could use some rehearsal space, and many congregations have a parish hall or some other space that isn’t being used 24/7 throughout the year. Maybe you could invite musicians in your congregation and community to use some of that space (and even if your parish hall is booked constantly until 10:00 p.m. or later all the time, you might find that musicians are happy to rehearse, jam, or write together at odd hours — especially if the space is free!), with the understanding that they’ll help to put on a worship service once a quarter or so that’s a real, authentic expression of what resonates with people in your community. I’ve seen similar fruitful partnerships between congregations and theater troupes, performance artists, visual artists, and all kinds of creative folks.

    And I’m glad you noted that artists generally license their music for use only in particular circumstances. U2 has agreed to let their music be used for free in any worship service advertised as such, and in which ALL money collected goes toward relief of extreme poverty (as in the billion people living on less than $1 a day) around the globe. Other artists may license their music under other conditions (e.g., everything I’ve written for worship thus far has been released under a Creative Commons License that allows you to use it for free as long as you don’t claim to have originated it and don’t charge anyone else for it for any derivative works; some artists need to be paid for their music to be played legally in public).

    I hope that helps, and please feel free to drop me a line at dylan [at] if you think there are any other ways in which you think I might be helpful.

    Blessings to you in your ministry!

    Sarah Dylan Breuer

    “We live as though the world were what it should be, to show it what it can be.” — “Deep Down,” *Angel* season 4

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