Jazz Mass Sermon

Here is the sermon that I preached at the Jazz Mass on Sunday. It is preceded by a fanfare organ improvisation from Frikki Walker, to get me up into the pulpit, which if I'm not mistaken was based on a song from Michael Jackson's Bad album.

Here is the text:

Can I say how wonderful it is to have jazz in church today. We don’t do this kind of thing often enough. I know of a number of American churches which have built up a special ministry, scheduling jazz vespers several times a year and reaching out to a whole new set of people who find their own spirituality reflected in the music.

Indeed, it is great to be able to have the jazz musicians with us today in celebratory mood. The last time I had jazz in a service it was at a funeral, probably the biggest funeral that I’ve ever taken.

It was for a University Principle who died in office. I’ve taken a number of similar services and I have learned that Universities tend to go to town on funerals for their great and their good. This one was no exception. Several thousand people gathered for it and it took place in the local town hall. Not only because none of the churches were big enough, but also because the man who had died was not supposed to be a believer. As I planned and prepared for the service, I kept getting told the same thing – He was an atheist, you know. Make sure you don’t mention God. [Read more…]