From the album Under The Gaze.

Written by Carolyn Arends.

Any given Sunday
Folks are congregating
In cathedrals and gymnasiums
And everything between
There’s liturgy that some say
And some are rock ‘n rollin’
But rest assured most everyone
Will take an offering
There’s confusion and confession
Interruption, intercession
Holiness and imperfection
Any given Sunday

Any given Sunday
Preachers do their preaching
Some with whispers, some with shouts
They all go way past noon
And you can count on singing
There’s every kind of music
There’s hymns and Bach and folk and pop
And most of it’s in tune
Hearts are mending, hearts are breaking
There’s some giving and some taking
Some folks find what some are faking
Any given Sunday

And God is in His heaven, but He’s also in those pews
I bet sometimes He’s angry, and that sometimes He’s amused
But we can know for certain that His heart is always moved
By the praises of His children
Yeah, He’s always glad to hear them
And that’s why it really matters
That two or more are gathered
Any given Sunday

Any given Sunday
We get to remember
In the bread and in the wine
Just as we are, we come
And in those holy moments
Every heart that’s tender
Joins with those around the world
Who love and know the Son
‘Cause there’s an everlasting song
The saints of every time belong
And we can come and join the throng
On any given Sunday

© 2004 Carolyn Arends Music (SOCAN)

About the Song

Because I am on the road a lot of weekends, I get a chance to worship in many different churches. Believe me, there are a lot of different ways to do church! But it seems to me that every gathering – from the mega-churches to the barely-surviving – is both more flawed and more sacred than we imagine.

In Under the Unpredictable Plant Eugene Peterson talks about the “foolishness of the congregation” (a play on the Apostle Paul’s foolishness of preaching). Peterson describes the “haphazard collection of people who somehow get assembled into pews on Sundays, half-heartedly sing a few songs most of them don’t like, tune in and out of a sermon according to the state of their digestion and the preacher’s decibels, awkward in their commitments and jerky in their prayers.” But Peterson goes on to affirm that in the midst of this motley crew are people “who suffer deeply and find God in their suffering.” There are “men and women who make love commitments, are faithful to them through trial and temptation, and bear fruits of righteousness, spirit-fruits that bless the people around them.” He talks about baptisms and funerals and Eucharist, about “sinners [who] honestly repent and believingly take the body and blood of Jesus and receive new life.”

Any Given Sunday, in any given congregation, there are folks just biding time and folks encountering the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in staggering ways. They sit right next to each other. I have been in both categories, sometimes on the same Sunday. But I am beginning to understand that when I go to church, regardless of the state of my heart, I am always a participant in something bigger and holier than I can fathom.

This track features the “Love Sponge Strings” from Nashville. I sang some musical lines over the track and sent them to the Viola player – she sent this wonderful arrangement back. Man, I love my job!

Under the Gaze

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