About an hour ago I got back from the Evangelical Lutheran Worship – ELW – event. My North Park contingent split early, right after dinner and in fact, maybe an hour into the 7-hour long presentation I'd said to Maria, "This [presentation] is really terrible" and she agreed. I live about a 2-minute walk from the church that hosted us and the catered dinner was wonderful, so it amounted to nothing lost and a little gained.
Besides getting my very own copy of the book, which features a gracefully dynamic cross on its Reformation Red cover, I discovered at least one of the new to me hymns is a winner, #524, "What Is This Place." One of the presenters told us the song long has been popular in Mennonite and Brethren churches. The tune, from Nederlandtsch Gedenckclanck (1626) is Kömt nu met Zang, with Huub Oosterhuis' text translated by David Smith.
- What is this place where we are meeting? Only a house, the earth its floor.
Walls and a roof sheltering people, windows for light, an open door.
Yet it becomes a body that lives when we are gathered here,
and know our God is near.
- Words from afar, stars that are falling, sparks that are sown in us like seed:
names for our God, dreams, signs and wonders sent from the past are all we need.
We in this place remember and speak again what we have heard:
God's free redeeming word.
- And we accept bread at this table, broken and shared, a living sign.
Here in this world, dying and living, we are each other's bread and wine.
This is the place where we can receive what we need to increase:
our justice and God's peace.