Tuesday, January 30, 2018

CRC Symposium on Worship: Songs of the Refugees with Proskuneo and the Immigrants Apostles' Creed


Humbled and Broken by Proskuneo's Multicultural Worship and the Immigrants Apostles' Creed by Rev. Jose Luis Casal at the CRC's Symposium on Worship on Friday, January 26 


This year was my first time going to the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship's Symposium on Worship, hosted by Emmaus City's denomination in Grand Rapids, Thursday, January 25 through Saturday, January 27. It was an absolute privilege and joy to worship with and learn from 1,500+ people from 30+ countries and 40+ denominations.

While my expectations were high in light of Urban DoxologySandra McCrackenThe Porter's Gate Worship Project and more participating, the symposium far exceeded my hopes. 

Not even half way through my two days participating in the three-day symposium, I was floored spiritually and emotionally by the wonders of worship displayed through services of the Word; liturgies; seminars on worship in light of suffering, redemption, injustice, vocation, persecuted people groups, indigenous people groups, Church history, sacramental life, mental and physical handicaps, etc.; vespers; and more.




Crying before God with Proskuneo and sisters and brothers from Syria, Sudan, Korea, Myanmar, China, and more


While there is much more I could write, for now I'm providing this post based on Friday's vesper with Proskuneo, a multicultural worship team I had not heard of until last week. Jaewoo Kim from Korea led us alongside Fadi Alsayar from Syria, Abraham Deng from Sudan, and others from Myanmar, the U.S., and China. Check out Proskuneo's YouTube Channel for examples of their team leading worship-in-song together.


The vesper on Friday focused on Psalm 137:4: "How shall we sing the LORD's song in a foreign land?" as Proskuneo's dynamic team led us through a liturgy involving Scripture, stories, and songs focused on conflict, loss, displacement, and the song of the LORD in a foreign land.

I'm getting emotional again just thinking about it. The 45 minutes with these beautiful people is still too raw and too full of awe for me to give them or the time with them justice on multiple levels. 


For now, I will leave you with the order of worship, a few key links to Scriptures and songs, and The Immigrants Apostles' Creed by Rev. Jose Luis Casal we recited together to close the service. 

If you would like to hear more about how the time impacted me, check out the audio from my sermon from Saturday, January 27th's mass: Matthew 4:12-17, 23-25 | Jesus Brings Near to Us the Promise and Power of the Good News of the Kingdom of Heaven

Songs of the Refugees Vesper: How shall we sing the LORD's song in a foreign land? + Psalm 137:4


Conflict

Scripture: Psalm 137:1-4 in Arabic, Burmese, and English  
Narration: Story of persecution for faith  
Song: "I Have Decided to Follow Jesus"

Loss
Narration: Story of a refugee 
Song: "Elahi Yesua," Arabic song by Manal Samir  
Prayer: For those suffering loss and grieving our own loss

Displacement
Narration: Story of a refugee 
Song: "Hold on Strong," South Sudanese song by Abraham Deng 
Scripture: Philippians 3:20 in Korean, Arabic, and English 

The Song of the LORD in a Foreign Land

Narration: Story of a refugee 
Scripture: Jeremiah 29:7 
Song: "Always Thankful," Arabic song by Fawaz Amaish   
Song: "Blessed Assurance" by Fanny Crosby 



The Immigrants Apostles’ Creed


Adapted from Rev. Jose Luis Casal’s
update of The Apostles’ Creed, 390 A.D. 

I believe in God the Father almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, 
who guided His people in exile and in exodus, 
the God of Joseph in Egypt, Daniel in Babylon, Esther in Persia. 
I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, 
conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, 
immigrant of heaven and displaced Galilean on earth, 
who was raised under occupation and fled as a refugee 
with His parents when His life was in danger.
When He returned to His own people, 
He suffered under the imperial power 
and oppression of Pontius Pilate, 
and was unjustly crucified by the empire, dead, and buried. 
He descended to hell. 
On the third day He rose again, not as a scorned foreigner, 
but as the King victorious, ascended to heaven and 
empowered to offer us citizenship in God’s eternal Kingdom. 
I believe in the Holy Spirit, 
the eternal immigrant from God's Kingdom among us, 
who speaks all languages, lives in all countries, 
and reunites all races. 
I believe in the holy catholic Church that is the secure home for the 
foreigner among believers across time and in every nationality. 
I believe in the communion of the saints that is revealed 
when we embrace all of God’s people in our diversity in unity. 
I believe in the forgiveness of sins, 
which makes us all equal before God at the cross, 
and in His reconciliation, which heals our brokenness and 
identifies us together more than race, language, or tribe. 
I believe in the resurrection of the body when
God will unite us as one people in which all 
are distinct and alike at the same time. 
I believe in life everlasting in which no one will be a foreigner 
but all of God’s people will be citizens of the Kingdom of heaven 
when Jesus Christ reigns forever and ever. Amen.


The Immigrants Nicene Creed


Adapted from St Albans Diocese’s 
update of The Nicene Creed, 325 A.D.
and Rev. Jose Luis Casal’s update of 
The Apostles’ Creed, 390 A.D.

We believe in God, the Father, the Almighty,
Maker of a heaven and earth without borders or nations,
who led His people from slavery to freedom
through exile and exodus,
the God of homelands lost and found,
the God of temple and desert, of manna and sacrifice.

We believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord,
incarnate from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary,
immigrant of heaven and displaced Galilean on earth,
who was born under occupation and fled as a refugee 
with His parents when His life was in danger.
When He returned to His own people,
He suffered under the imperial power and oppression of Pontius Pilate, 
and was unjustly crucified by the empire, dead, and buried.
On the third day He rose again, not as a scorned foreigner, 
but as the King, opening for us the door to new life and
destroying the power of death 
that denied us our birthright as citizens of God’s Kingdom.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life, and
the eternal immigrant from God's Kingdom among us, 
who speaks all languages, lives in all countries, and reunites all races,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son, 
unity in diversity, three-in-one.

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church,
the communion of saints across countries and centuries,
made equal by our need for repentance 
and our assurance of God’s mercy,
united by our citizenship identity by baptism 
in the name of the Father, Son, and Spirit,
We look for the coming of the Kingdom of God,
where our passport is Christ’s love,
our bodies are resurrected and healed,
the image of God in all of us is honored,
and all nations and tribes and people will be reconciled in the place
where there is no mourning or sadness, no exile or despair,
and we will be no longer strangers or guests,
but family gathered safely together in the arms of our Father
and united at the table of Christ our King.
Amen.


For more examples for how to bring to light, lament, and worship in light of our immigrant and refugee sisters and brothers' plight, check out Emmaus City's denomination's additional helpful sites:

CRC Refugee Justice Worship Resources  
+ Reformed Worship: God's Eye Is on the Refugee: A Simple Drama, a Powerful Message

And for an example of a sermon that looks into the immigrant and refugee life of the Son of God Himself, check out: Matthew 2:12-23 | Christmastide: Remembering the Holy Innocents | Martyrs and Refugees

Soli Jesu gloria.

Rev. Mike "Sully" Sullivan

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