I don’t know why Easter brings out the subversive in me. Maybe it has something to do with the culmination of the radical movement that the day celebrates. Or maybe I just like to surprise people. Two years ago I hired a funk band and opened our Easter morning worship service with Uptown Funk. And it was awesome. Last year we did Coldplay. This year, well, I knew I had to do something that was going to stretch all of us, but that also had to be insanely popular and contemporary. So I decided to rap.
It’s funny looking back on it now, because it seems so obvious, but a few months ago I was struggling to think of the perfect boundary-pushing fit for our Easter service. But when it finally hit me, all doubt was gone. We had to do Hamilton. The moments in “My Shot” where he starts singing “Rise up!” fit so well that I couldn’t even consider anything else once I had it in my mind that this is what we were going to do. Of course that meant I might have to do some light rapping. It was time to enlist the youth.
Okay, so I got one youth. Those teenagers are so busy these days! My goodness! But once Stanya agreed to help with a little of the rapping duties, I knew we had something. But if we opened the service with “My Shot,” that still left the anthem slot open. I needed a second piece of music. And so, hey, why not more Hamilton?! I had a good group of women who were willing to sing a little extra, so “The Schuyler Sisters” seemed like the perfect thing to do. It just needed some new words.
Boy, this was a lot of work. Arranging the two songs for strings and band, and adding in the choir, plus the women’s group (not to mention integrating Stanya into both songs!) was more than maybe I had expected. It turns out that doing twice as much of something increases the amount of effort. But it worked. We had a great time. The service was a success. Except now I don’t know what we’re going to do next Easter. Although that might be okay. It probably hasn’t been written yet.