Ian Morgan Cron on 10.9.11


This weekend, we had the huge privilege of leading worship at Willow with my friend Ian Morgan Cron,
who is an author of two phenomenal books, a great musician, and crazy smart.

Ian grew up Roman Catholic, planted a non-denomina-tional church in his 30s, and is now an Episcopal Priest. As you might guess, he has a fascinating perspective about God, church, worship, and liturgy…and so we invited him to Willow Creek to share some of his journey and lead us in a liturgical experience.

We began the service with:
Let it Rise / For the Beauty of the Earth / Let it Rise
A reading of Psalm 133
How Good and Pleasant (Tommy Walker)
Revelation 19

And then I introduced Ian and invited him to lead us.  After reading a bit from his book Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and me…, Ian guided us in the Kyrie Eleison – which means “Lord, have mercy”. He taught a very simple refrain, and then guided us through a number of liturgical prayers. We (the band) did our best to think “What would Sigur Ros sound like in a Roman Catholic cathedral?”, and accompanied the prayers with a moody soundtrack that built and built and finally exploded into a soaring “Lord have mercy; Lord have mercy.”

As it all landed, Ian invited us to quietly pray:

Have mercy upon us, most merciful Father;
in your compassion forgive us our sins,

known and unknown,

things done and left undone;

and so uphold us by your Spirit

that we may live and serve you in newness of life,

to the honor and glory of your Name;

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

…and then he took the biggest risk of the weekend. Ian tenderly said, “I believe that we all are the priesthood of believers, and so I’m going to ask you to do something that might feel weird. Please turn to the person next to you, look them in the eye, and say ‘In the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven’”.

The next few moments were as holy as it gets. Such a simple thing, but so powerful.

I’m really thankful to Ian for coming to serve our church – and exposing us to an entirely different experience of worship and the liturgy. (You can learn more about his work and ministry at iancron.com.)

Posted by Aaron Niequist on 10.11.11 under Lead Worship, Weekend Experience.

2 Responses to “Ian Morgan Cron on 10.9.11”

  1. I appreciated this experience of liturgy.
    It’s not often enough that I think to request of the Lord that He have mercy on me. Not in those terms anyway. The repetition focused me.

    And I appreciated again that Willow welcomes Brothers and Sisters of Bible-teaching denominations to call us to focus on our Lord. Willow does not shy away from leading us to experience Him in varied and rich ways.

    The prayers that we read through together were also interesting to me.
    I would have liked more time to sit with them. I am a “word person”.

    And I am curious about a line from one of the prayers…
    It called us to pray for the dead, if I remember correctly.

    Could you talk that out a bit for me?
    What could or does that mean?

    Thank you for seeking to stretch us.

    Vaya con Dios.

    Posted by Kathy on 12/13/09 October 15th, 2011 at 9:29 pm

  2. As a Catholic who has come into a personal relationship with Christ, I was able to appreciate the beauty of the liturgy. I do feel a line was crossed during this time when in prayer, we were lead to pray for the dead. I found this to be disturbing and certainly not scriptural. I have wrestled with commenting, but feel moved to share my voice in light of the large Catholic community in our congregation who were raised to pray dead souls out of purgatory. My understanding of scripture is that dead is dead and no amount of prayers by those remaining will remove the choice made to reject a relationship with Christ.

    Posted by Karol Nusbaum on 12/13/09 October 24th, 2011 at 3:56 pm

Leave a Reply