“I (and we as a congregation) are so grateful for the gifts that you share with the church – scriptural study and insight, music, wisdom, joy.” Barb Smith-Morrison, pastor.
Bryan continually develops new worship themes/experiences in response to the specific needs of congregations that invite him. Here is a sampling of some of the themes that have become most-requested favourites:
1. “On the Emmaus Road” – Luke 24:13-35
Exploring the story of two disciples “on the road together,” and all of the various elements and experiences involved in their journey (and ours) as they (and we) arriving at the point of recognizing Jesus in their (our) midst. Talking together about what is going on in our world and in our lives, exploring the Scriptures, extending hospitality, bread bread together, worship/prayer – on this journey we can and do – again and again – encounter Jesus!
This theme draws especially from the songs on Bryan’s first CD, God’s Love is for Everybody.
2.”Take Heart, Get Up, He is Calling You” – Mark 10:46-52
This “take” on the Bartimaeus story focuses especially on the “other miracles” in this account – especially the miracle of the transformation of the community around Jesus, moving from a posture of shushing up the blind man, and further excluding/marginalizing him, to a dramatically different posture. “Take heart, get up, he is calling you.” The dynamics in the community of faith (those walking with Jesus) who can and do, in a whole variety of knowing and unknowing ways, block instead of encourage/facilitate experience of Jesus. A call to transformation for the community of disciples, as well as good news for the one who is marginalized.
This theme draws especially from the songs on Bryan’s latest CD, Detectives of Divinity.
3. “Enough For All” – John 6:1-15
This immersion in the “Feeding of the 5000” story is a ringing invitation to “bring our loaves and fishes,” whatever they are, and offer them to Jesus, and see what he can/will do with them. Also drawing on Old Testament texts (through songs) like the wilderness/manna experiences and the Prayer of Agur (Proverbs 30), re: the process of learning to live simply, to trust, and to be joyfully generous. Many congregations have requested this service during a particular “stewardship” emphasis, or for their special stewardship Sunday.
This theme draws especially on songs from Bryan’s CD/songbook My Money Talks, which is a collection of songs for worship on economic stewardship themes.
4. “Whatever You’ve Got!” – 1 Peter 4:7-11
A series of songs and reflections that centre on this text’s astonishing claim – we called to be good stewards of nothing less than the very grace of God! An encouragement to discover, explore, and share the gifts that each has been given.
This theme draws especially on songs from Bryan’s CD Can’t Keep Quiet.
5. “On Being and Becoming the Body of Christ” – 1 Corinthians 12:4-27
What does it mean for the church to understand itself – and to function as – “the body of Christ?” Bryan’s songs draw us into this text and these questions in ways that are by turns lively and humorous, painfully honest, and deeply moving.
This theme draws especially on songs from Bryan’s CD A New Heart.
6. “Detectives of Divinity” – Matthew 11:1-15
How do we make sense of what’s going on in our world right now in light of what we read in Scripture? How do we make sense of what we read in Scripture in light of what’s going on in our world right now? In this service, John the Baptist’s urgent, contextual, political question – “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we wait for another?” – rings in our ears as we explore how to be “detectives of divinity” today, seeking “signs of God’s activity” and how we can align ourselves with God’s purposes.
This theme draws especially on songs from Bryan’s CDs Detectives of Divinity and I’m Glad You’re Here.
7. “To Serve the Soil: Relearning Our Role in the Garden of God” – Romans 8:18-23; Psalm 7; 1 Corinthians 12; Genesis 1-2
With Paul’s vivid imagery in Romans 8 as a “jumping off” point (“creation groaning” and “creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God”), this theme is an inspirational (and challenging) reflection on human vocation and relationship with creation. What if we paid attention to Paul’s suggestion, and hear creation itself as the voice of lament (eg: in Psalm 7)? What does it look like to live as though the earth is God’s household, and to re-learn our human vocation in the garden of God? Singing from Genesis through Revelation, Bryan’s songs move us to inhabit these questions and challenges in a compelling and ultimately hopeful way.
This theme draws especially on Bryan’s CD I’m Glad You’re Here.
8. “Save Me From All My Pursuers: Hearing Creation,’s Lament” – Psalm 7; Romans 8:19. 22
The “voice” of creation in the Psalms typically expresses praise. But in Romans 8:19 and 22 we hear of creation “waiting” and “groaning” – the language of lament. In these days of climate crisis, what if we heard creation itself as the speaker in Psalms of lament, like Psalm 7? Will we listen to creation’s cry?
This theme draws on songs from a number of Bryan’s CDs, including I’m Glad You’re Here, A New Heart, and My Money Talks.
9. “How Can We Sing The Lord’s Song in a Strange Land?” – Psalm 137; Exodus 2, 15; Psalm 46; Amos 5:21-24; Romans 8:38-39
We live at a time where group singing is not only challenging – it is dangerous! We are not the first, and we won’t be the last, to live through times where singing as a community is logistically, politically, emotionally, spiritually and theologically complicated. Let’s walk and sing through a few biblical examples that call us to deeper reflection on what and why and how we sing.
This theme draws on songs from a variety of sources, including new and unreleased songs by Bryan.