From Generation to Generation:

Ponder Anew

Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
–Isaiah 43:19

As these words of Isaiah imply, God always finds new ways to come to us. Throughout salvation history, whether through commandments bestowed on a mountaintop, manna in the wilderness, embodiment in flesh and bone, or as tongues of flame behind a locked door, God ordains to send us all that we need through sheer grace. And yet, Isaiah asks, “do you not perceive it?”

In times of stress, God’s people have often struggled with perceiving God’s goodness. The people grumble against Moses for bringing them into the wilderness, complain about eating the same food every day, villainize Jesus, and surmise drunkenness over the presence of the Holy Spirit. Indeed, perceiving God’s goodness is a task that is not for the faint of heart in an era where skepticism, cynicism, and sarcasm are the norm.

Etched in stone on the stairs in the Center for the Arts at Valparaiso University, the above words of Isaiah call out as if to say that through art, music, dance, storytelling, and overflowing creativity God will be made known to every generation. To that end, this conference – held in conjunction with Lutheran Summer Music – would have us Ponder Anew how to communicate God’s saving grace to all peoples in meaningful, relevant ways. Through workshops, discussions, worship, and hands-on learning opportunities, participants will strengthen their gifts and develop new skills in topics such as worship leadership, technology, composition, enriching assembly song and more, all the while forming connections from Generation to Generation with musicians in the LSM Academy.

Thanks to a generous donation from Pauline and John Kiltinen, a high point of our exploration for this week will be a celebration of the 300th anniversary of Johann Sebastian Bach’s St. John Passion in the form of a presentation of this work by the ALCM and LSM communities. We will have opportunities to ponder the current relevance of Bach’s church compositions alongside other current practices to enliven and nurture the song of the church.