Siren Song

loud-musicThe Song:

At noon and 6pm, music pours forth from my church.  Bells, or electric facsimiles of them, send out five minutes of tunes into the neighborhood around us.  In a closet behind the sanctuary, a cassette is timed to play through outdoor speakers.

It sounds really nice.  We have a few different tapes we can play, even a tape of Christmas tunes to play in December.  I’ve threatened to look online for one that plays Beatles tunes.

The Siren:

Perched atop our building is an elaborate speaker, pointing in all four directions.  When this sound cranks up, people go into their basements.   I suppose the sound is grating, but it could save your life.

It seems to go off at least once every spring when dangerous clouds are swirling overhead. When I hear it, I feel an instant pang in my gut, a warning that all is not well.

What sort of vibe is your church putting out?

Is your church a gentle lullaby, coaxing people in, or is it a brash trumpet, alerting all to imminent danger? Does your church present itself as a sacntuary of rest and comfort, or as a watchtower blowing the whistle on the threats we face?

Which is the right one to be?

A prophetic, siren blaring church is uniquely suited for fighting injustice, for helping the marginalized.  Members of a Siren church write letters and go on marches.  They take risks and carry the banner of Jesus Christ into a broken world.

A song church that sends music out to all who can hear is sending an invitation of peace, gentleness, maybe healing.  Inside the walls of this church is a place of comfort, of creativity, of togetherness.  Members of a Song church invite others to praise God and acknowledge each other as made in the image of God.

There are, of course, many other types of churches, but still I wonder…which of these two would you be drawn to?  Is God’s Kingdom blessed by both?

In the spring, on the first Monday of the month, something interesting happens.  The siren fires up for its monthly test at the same time  that the bells begin to play.

Let me tell you, for a couple minutes there at noon, it’s quite a racket.

But to the discerning ear…

it sounds like harmony.

Have a great week,





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Want to hear something weird?

The next “Weekly Devotion” you get from me will originate from a new location.

Yep, I’m moving to a new church.

This Sunday is my last one here.


Here’s what happens to me every time I have to say goodbye:

I lapse into an unsettled, melancholy awareness of time’s slow destruction of the present.

Let me translate that for you:  I fear change.

I fear change because you can’t go back.

Because it seems so final.

The idea of somehow dis-connecting and moving on seems really painful.

And as excited as I am about the future, I’ve been feeling some of that “melancholy” this week.

. . .

But then yesterday, this happened:

Somebody had the idea that, at my farewell reception next Sunday, we should have a reunion of sorts.

A reunion of the founding members of our contemporary worship service, from back in the 90’s.

The 5 of us have not been all together in the same room for about 15 years.

Those were great days back then.

We were creative and passionate and generated a lot of energy for the church.

And while I’ve stayed in touch with them all (heck I’m married to one of them), we’ve never tried to all reconnect musically.

That is, until yesterday, when we got together to practice.

We’d picked out some of our favorite old songs, and set up on the stage to practice.

We kicked off the first song.

Instinctively, we reverted to our old parts.

And there they were:  The same tight harmonies and chord changes.

It was nearly flawless.

We all just stared at each other, grinning.

It was as if the intervening 15 years had never happened!

. . .

No, that wasn’t it.

The passage of time was clearly present.

There were more lines on our faces.

We’d all been through big life changes since we’d last been together,

but we shared something yesterday that I hope to never forget:

Things are always changing,

but the Love of God,

and the connection of true friends,

and the harmony between kindred spirits,



Thank you, First Church Lawrence, for your love and support!