Thursday, November 30, 2006
All that Jazz
In his book, The Last Word, NT Wright introduces some excellent metaphors to help us understand the role of scripture in the present life of the church. One metaphor he uses is the idea of musical improvisation. He writes:

The New Testament offers us glimpses of where the story is to end: not with us "going to heaven", as in many hymns and prayers, but with new creation. Our task is to discover, through the Spirit and prayer, the appropriate ways of improvising the script between the foundation events and charter, on the one hand, and the complete coming of the Kingdom on the other.

The notion of "improvising" is important, but sometimes misunderstood. As all musicians know, improvisation does not at all mean a free-for-all where "anything goes", but precisely a disciplined and careful listening to all the other voices around us, and a constant attention to the themes, rhythms and harmonies of the complete performance so far, the performance which we are now called to continue. At the same time, of course, it invites us, while being fully obedient to the music so far, and fully attentive to the voices around us, to explore fresh expressions, provided they will eventually lead to that ultimate resolution which appears in the New Testament as the goal, the full and complete new creation which was gloriously anticipated in Jesus' resurrection. The music so far, the voices around us, and the ultimate multi-part harmony of God's new world: these, taken together, form the parameters for appropriate improvisation in the reading of scripture and the announcement and living out of the gospel it contains. All Christians, all churches, are free to improvise their own variations designed to take the music forward. No Christian, no church, is free to play out of tune.


Biblical living as a jazz jam session! Excellent!

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posted by Mike Clawson at 12:38 AM | Permalink |


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