All Glory, Laud, And Honor04.18.11

On Palm Sunday I was at a large international church with my kids. As the regal cadence of strings playing  “All Glory, Laud, and Honor” to the tune of St. Theodulph filled the air, my chest tightened with memories of people and places who have entered the presence of the Holy through this hymn. As the children’s choir waved homemade palm branches and sang their well-rehearsed parts, my nine-year-old intently peered at the faces of the young singers and whispered quite seriously to me, “What language are they singing, Mommy?”

My son, raised in a missionary home with regular family devotions and frequent church participation, had no idea what the song was about. Neither glory, laud, nor honor mean much to him, and even the word king is far from his daily life. He understands president and emporer, but king sounds like something out of a long ago fairy tale. Fortunately for us and no doubt a few others, the children’s story which followed pulled us into the feelings of the Jerusalem crowd-  eagerly cheering for Jesus and begging him to help us in our troubles. Somehow with this as the experiential starting point, we were all given opportunity to ponder our own fickleness, our own eagerness to see Jesus  do what we want him to do…and the cross.

For me, the song speaks. For my son, it was curious noise. How many of our attempts to communicate the living Word strike our hearers as curious noise? Next Sunday is Easter. What do our music, our worship services, our pancake breakfasts and Easter egg hunts communicate to those around us? For those totally unchurched around you, what would communicate LOVE CONQUERS DEATH! THANK YOU, CREATOR GOD! this week? That’s the question I wrestle with as I’m planning a kids’ outreach activity on Sunday afternoon.


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Posted by Andrea Johnson under Uncategorized.

2 Responses to “All Glory, Laud, And Honor”

  1. Hello Andrea,
    Inside Baseball: One Lent in my last congregation we were very busy trying to design worship experiences that would create glory, laud and honor. Worship on Easter concluded with the Hallelujah Chorus with the expectation (unannounced) that all would stand and participate, at least in the chorus – music and words were not provided to the congregation. The music was majestic and as I stood in the back, ready to greet people as they left I noted Presbyterians swaying to the music – yes Presbyterians moving to music! But I also began shaking hands with the dozen or so visitors that day who after a while tired of the chorus and left. Music that was so meaningful to the regulars meant almost nothing to the visitors. A lot of what we do in the mainline church feels like inside baseball. I am glad that life for you and yours has settled enough that you can think about things other than surviving.


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    Posted by Leonard Sponaugle on 12/13/09 April 20th, 2011 at 10:15 AMReply

    • How wonderful to hear from you. “Inside baseball”! Now there’s a good oxymoron, and a nice image to jolt us into realizing that something is wrong with the picture. The contrast of those who were totally moved and those who were left cold is exactly what I was feeling.

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      Posted by Andrea Johnson on 12/13/09 April 20th, 2011 at 11:34 AMReply

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