In the Spirit: a director's commentary

Songwriter and musician Marc Byrd, when asked about advice for those who may want to make music for the church, said, “If you’re gonna spend your life in music and sound, allow yourself to have spaces of silence.” (Marc Byrd. Speakeasy Theology Podcast, "Seeing the World with Music in Our Eyes". April 10, 2024)

This is true not just for musicians but for all of us. And I think it’s a helpful reminder for us as we gather together as the worshipping Body of Christ. Because the silence he’s talking about is less the “absence of sound” and more about a posture… a posture of clearing out the noise to prepare to hear.

This is the hope and the purpose of the visual meditation - named the Call to Listen - that we sit with before the message. That through the beauty of image and music, we would be drawn into a still moment, and through the spaciousness of the visual metaphors, we would be drawn into a posture of curiosity, leaning into the questions of what we are seeing so that we are ready to lean into the question of what God wants to say to us, His church.

There is, of course, meaning to all of the images, and intention in their construction… for example, here are a couple of things to notice:
It is common for videos to have a second or two of black before the images start, but for this video, the Trinity symbol is present right from the first frame, already moving… there is no beginning stroke in its dance, and there is not a single frame of this video that doesn’t have the Trinity symbol present because there is not a single moment of existence in which the Triune God is not. Before everything, God is.

But true to our experience and vantage point, though the Trinity is eternally present, it was through Jesus that this divine reality was revealed. As Darrell Johnson wrote, “it’s when we focus on the simple facts of Jesus that we find ourselves drawn into the theological grappling which keeps ending up at the Trinity" (Experiencing the Trinity, Darrell Johnson, pg. 10).

The rest of the video revolves around N.T. Wright's Trinity Prayer and a collage of the various metaphors for the Holy Spirit - the dove, the wind, the flame, the oil, the breath present in the music, the Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead… but all of these are anchored to the continued relational context of the divine Three-in-One.

There is more that could be unpacked, but the hope is that you would discover some of it for yourself to sit with it, listen to it, respond to it, be moved by it, and observe what is stirred up within you - for all of our responses… even boredom and apathy… are opportunities to prayerfully observe our inner movements and to ask Jesus to reveal his invitation to us, all in the hope that we together would be prepared in heart and mind to hear what God may be saying to us today.

May these images, sounds, and words help us move towards him and may we be drawn to and caught up in the rhythms and motions of this Divine Dance to find both our rest and our momentum in it.
You can see the "In the Spirit" Call to Listen before the message as a part of any of our Sunday worship gatherings in our In the Spirit teaching series, or watch it by itself here.
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