My shepherd will supply my need,
Jehovah is his name;
In pastures fresh he makes me feed
Beside the living stream.
by Johann Jakob Shütz
tr. Frances E. Cox
Sing praise to God Who reigns above, the God of all creation,
The God of power, the God of love, the God of our salvation.
With healing balm my soul is filled and every faithless murmur stilled:
To God all praise and glory! Continue reading
“Praise the LORD. Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise in the assembly of the saints.” —Psalm 149:1
This past Saturday evening we had the great privilege to host one of the best touring choirs in the United States. This 55 voice choir has traveled the world over the last 70 years, singing before presidents and heads of state. They have sung seven times at the White House for the previous two presidents. Even with all of these accomplishments, they sang for us, as if we were their most prestigious concert.
They serve as inspiration and example for us. Only half of the choir is made up of music majors. The other half comes from every walk of life and area of study you can imagine. But they come together with common purpose, lifting their voices in song to bring honor to their God.
We too serve this great and marvelous God. Each week we come together corporately to worship. We lift our voices in song, because we of all people have something worth singing about. We have the greatest story that can be told, and it is a story that often words alone do not do it justice.
We are approaching the season where we retell this story. As always, we will tell part of it with song. Holy Week carries such emotion that often our souls need assistance processing it all. The language of music helps make sense of these emotions and fulfills the deeper longing of the season.
And while our choir will likely never sing for presidents or heads of state, each week we do sing for the King of all kings. This Lenten season, I encourage you to join us for Choir, (Yes, you. The one reading this article. The one who doesn’t believe that you can sing well enough.) Join us for the season of Lent as we
explore the depth of the story.
Homework this week:
Pray about joining the choir just for the season of Lent. Let’s fill the choir loft for Good Friday and Easter. Together, let’s declare the story of our salvation, of the Cross and Resurrection.
This ancient hymn has, for some time, been my favorite song. The haunting melody bears the familiar pain of the exile, and yet this song about deep desire and current pain is filled with hope. Not just any hope, but hope of deliverance. It is the hope for the return of God.
Emmanuel had been here before. Adam and Eve walked with Him in the cool of the day. But those days are long forgotten. The years of rebellion had pushed them so far away that all they had left was an ache to be remembered. O come, O come Emmanuel! Can you identify with this song? Christ came and brought about our redemption. He walked with us in the cool of the day. But years of rebellion have pushed our world to the edge of evil. Listen to the echoes of wars and conflict. Those wars happen between countries, but they also happen between family members, they happen between friends. A thousand shattered relationships make us cry out, “O come! O come, Emmanuel!”
We are exiled, caught between the already and the not-yet. We already have our redemption from our sins, but with creation we groan for the redemption that is to come. We already have seen Christ come in victory on the cross, but we long for His victory in the skies. We already have seen God implement His Kingdom on earth in Christ through the Church, but we long for His rule and reign to be seen and acknowledged by all. O come, o come, Emmanuel.
Homework this week comes in three parts. Pray for the Peace of Israel. Pray for the return of Christ! And “Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.”
“Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus, Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth,and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” – Phil 2:5-11
This is perhaps my favorite passage of scripture! It is said that Paul is quoting one of the hymns that the early church sang. What a reminder this is that worship is not about the songs we sing, but about the attitudes of our hearts. Paul reminds the people of Philipi, Your attitude should be the same as Christ Jesus. This puts a completely different twist on the common phrase “What would Jesus Do.” No longer do we ask that question to answer what would Jesus do if he were in my situation, but rather, we ask, “What should I do to put myself in the situations Jesus found himself in?”
This week’s homework: As you encounter life’s situations each day, seek to have the attitude of Christ. Worship with Attitude!