In good marriages, it’s often stated, “Behind every great man is a great woman.” In some cases, this adage can be flipped: “Behind every great woman is a great man.”
Such is the case with singer/songwriter Aaron Niequist and wife, Shauna Niequist, best-selling author of Bread and Wine and Cold Tangerines.
While Shauna’s writing is quickly gathering momentum as a transparent, sassy and wise voice for Christian women worldwide, Aaron’s music is picking up equal speed for people looking to slow down and feel God’s presence in their hectic lives.
With his latest collection, A New Liturgy, folk can get their spiritual groove on at the beginning of every day (25 minutes) and the end (25 minutes). By getting in the right headspace first – that space being shared with none other than God Himself – people will be more refreshed to engage with their jobs, families and friends. It’s ideal for commuters stuck in traffic, but anyone – from the stay-at-home mom to the musician biking to work – can benefit from it.
When speaking on its creation, Aaron writes about A New Liturgy, “It’s a moveable, sonic sanctuary. Released quarterly, each Liturgy is a 25 minute journey of music, prayer, scripture, and space that helps open us to The Almighty in any location, season, community, or emotion.”
What is this CD collection all about?
Prayer is considered talking and listening. It’s about communing and connecting with the Lord and it’s at the center of A New Liturgy. According to Niequist, “Most of us don’t need more information, but a holy container to engage with what we already know… A sacred space to meet with the God who has been here all along. Each liturgy attempts to initiate a conversation and then get out of the way.”
In nothing be anxious, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus. —Philippians 4:6-7
To best describe the music, one can look at the inspirational question behind this collection: “What if a piano-based/indie rock band lead a Catho-Protestant Mass?” Each liturgy is carried by a musical score that works as a soundtrack for reflection and prayer. It’s vibrant and eclectic, but not so much that those who prefer a more traditional style of worship won’t be scared off.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your heart to the Lord. —Colossians 3:16
This CD pulls from a wide influence of styles and genres, with original inspiration being from God’s holy Word. With the firm belief that scripture is one of the primary ways that God speaks and guides us, each liturgy is anchored in the text.
WHY THIS CD VERSES SILENT PRAYER?
The fact is, there are times when being left to our own thoughts and prayers isn’t enough. We need to be pastored.
The name of Yahweh is a strong tower: the righteous run to him, and are safe. —Proverbs 18:10
HOW WAS IT CREATED?
Created by Aaron Niequist and a few friends in his little basement studio, this project has grown into an exciting collaboration with a handful of gifted musicians and artists. These devoted disciples are passionate about exploring deeper and more diverse ways to honestly engage with God and each other.
WHAT THE HECK IS A LITURGY ANYWAY?
Niequist, who was profoundly shaped from his experience at the groundbreaking church, Mars Hill, found singing to be a wonderful practice. At the same time, he came to realize that it was only one way to Worship God… that there are other ways to do so with both spirit and truth. With that in mind, he sought to create something ’new’ only to discover that many have had this figured out for generations and generations. The name for it? “The Liturgy.”
That led Aaron to wrestle with the question: “How do we bring the depth and wisdom of the Liturgical tradition into the questions and struggles of today? What can we learn? How can our past shape and launch us into the future? Since the word liturgy means “the work of the people”, how do we best invite our spiritual communities into this work?”
The result is this new collection. And it doesn’t stop there. Niequist is a prolific writer. Just check out his Tumblr feed. With titles like, “Why Rock Star Worship Leaders are Getting Fired?” and “Liturgy is a Feast, Not a Style,” Niequist is not afraid to dive deeply into questions of Christian theology, what makes worship meaningful, and what it means to live fully human, but fully spiritual, lives.
Take his post from August 6 where he asks:
So as a worship leader, I’ve been asking myself: Am I offering the church a well-balanced meal?
Over the course of a month…
•Do we practice a number of different worship forms… or do we only sing?
•Do we focus on many aspects of God’s character… or just the most common in worship songs?
•Do we encourage the full range of human emotion (joy, sorrow, gratefulness, lament, etc)… or find ourselves in a pretty narrow bandwidth?
•Do we learn how to worship from many different traditions… or are we only influenced by our own tradition?
•If my church community feasts on the worship practices we offer them, month after month, will they become well-nourished worshipers?”
It’s said that smartest people aren’t afraid to admit they don’t have all the answers. At Believe.com, we don’t pretend to know everything ourselves, but we recognize a great artist when we see one.
Check into Andrea Frazer’s blog, due to publish in February, where she will be giving away 5 of Aaron Niequist’s CDs.
Until then, may your time with reflect A New Liturgy. May you find sacred space, time for prayer, and faith to ask the hard questions.
Andrea’s Blog Look for more of Andrea’s posts on her blog which publishes Monday, Wednesday and Fridays!
* Note: The above link will bring you to the parenting section of Believe.com. Her blog is located on the right side-bar!