There have been a number of amazing musical moments in my life.
Moments when the joy fills the room, even as the artist leads us into deep places of pain.
Often enough, those moments happen on Tuesday mornings.
There is something about the Wine Before Breakfast bandhood that finds a way to reach deep into our souls; something that gives us voices to sing – even at 7.22 in the morning!
In my life the WBB band stands in a rich tradition of artists whose music they will often bring into our worship. Artists that I have had the good fortune to enjoy performing live:
Leonard Cohen, Bruce Cockburn, Josh Gritter, EmmyLou Harris, Daniel Lanois, Van Morrison, U2 and Bob Dylan.
And it is a Dylan concert that this week’s music will conjure up for me.
It was the late 70’s and Dylan had ‘got religion.’ In fact, the show that he was touring was nothing less than a gospel revival! And there he was on the stage of Massey Hall singing:
You may be an ambassador to England or France
You may like to gamble, you might like to dance
You may be the heavyweight champion of the world
You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls.
But you’e gonna have to serve somebody,
Yes you are, you’re gonna have to serve somebody.
It may be the devil, or it may be the Lord,
but you’re gonna have to serve somebody.
Gospel Bob was on a roll, and I was so blown away by what I saw at Massey Hall that I followed the tour down the 401 to Montreal for another show.
Rumour has it that the band might dust off “Serve Somebody” on Tuesday morning and maybe throw in a little Johnny Cash while their at it.
You gotta serve somebody.
Paul would totally agree.
Our text this week at WBB is Romans 6. And in this passage the apostle employs language of ‘dominion.’ As far as St. Paul is concerned, we all live our lives under the dominion of one thing or another.
The starkness of Dylan’s “devil or the Lord” is matched by Paul’s contrast between the dominion of sin which leads to death and the dominion of justice which leads to life.
But if Paul is right when he says earlier that we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God; if he is right that we are in this sin business together; and if he is right that sin is deathly (and I think that this is one biblical belief that has all kinds of empirical evidence to back it up), then how can we ever get out from under the dominion of death?
Resurrection, of course.
And that is precisely what Paul says is on offer in Christ. Resurrection!
Through resurrection we are liberated from the dominion of sin that has enslaved us, and set free to live under the dominion of justice.
Now if a Jewish follower of Jesus was going to think of a path of liberation from an enslaving dominion to a kingdom of justice, how do you think he might do that?
I’ll bet that some water will be involved. Paul can’t help but interpret the liberation on offer through the resurrection of Jesus as anything less than a new exodus. So wade in the water, little children. Wade in the water.
That’s why he says that when we are baptized into Christ, we are baptized into his death and raised to new life.
From slavery to freedom.
From the dominion of death to the kingdom of life.
From sin to a righteousness manifest as justice.
This week we dwell in Romans 6. Take a read before you come on Tuesday to WBB.
David Neelands will both preach and preside.
The band has the aforementioned Dylan and Cash up their collective sleeves.
Adrienne has crafted our prayers and Amy Fisher (the whip of the sign-up sheet) has the muffins.
Wine Before Breakfast
Tuesday, November 13 @ 7.22am
Wycliffe College Chapel
PS Offering for Campus Ministry: As announced last week, we have identified next Tuesday, November 20, as the day that we will take up an offering for our campus ministry. If you want any more information about this (tax receipts, who to write a cheque to, etc) get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org