May 17, 2019

From a funeral bulletin. Hopefully, the deceased had a sense of humor. And this – dear pastors, music directors, organists, church secretaries, and anyone else hanging around – this is why you always proofread. Oh, Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder Consider all the words thy hands have made I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder Thy power throughout the universe displayed Then things my soul, my saviour God, to thee How Great Thou Art, How… Read more

May 12, 2019

We’ve got a problem, everybody. Maybe you haven’t noticed it yet. I didn’t for a long time, either. There’s a term that people like to throw around at church in regard to worship. Especially as a church music director, I get this one a lot. “That was so meaningful.” “I got a lot out of that sermon. It was meaningful.” “That anthem was so touching; it was meaningful to me.” “That church’s services are so meaningful.” For the longest time,… Read more

May 12, 2019

At the Lamb’s high feast we sing Praise to our victorious King, Who has washed us in the tide Flowing from his pierced side; Praise we him whose love divine Gives his sacred blood for wine, Gives his body for the feast, Christ the Victim, Christ the Priest. Where the paschal blood is poured, Death’s dark angel sheathes his sword; Israel’s hosts triumphant go Through the wave that drowns the foe. Praise we Christ, whose blood was shed, Paschal Victim,… Read more

May 10, 2019

I really didn’t want to write this post. First, I didn’t want to write it because I was hoping and praying for Rachel Held Evans to pull through and fully recover. Second, I didn’t want to write it because I don’t want to leverage her death into profit for myself. But I feel like I need to write something now. I feel like I need to go on record. Because of Christianity Today, which lost any remaining credibility with me… Read more

May 9, 2019

Every year at this time I start seeing the same questions come up in all the social media groups for church musicians and pastors: What are you doing for Mother’s Day? How are you celebrating mothers? Are you preaching on Proverbs 31? Which hymns and anthems are appropriate for Mother’s Day? One pastor in a Facebook group discussing United Methodist worship actually just posted a “liturgy” she created for Mother’s Day, asking the group if we thought it appropriate for… Read more

April 28, 2019

Thine be the glory, risen, conqu’ring Son: endless is the vict’ry thou o’er death hast won; angels in bright raiment rolled the stone away, kept the folded grave-clothes where thy body lay. Thine be the glory, risen, conqu’ring Son; endless is the vict’ry thou o’er death hast won. Lo! Jesus meets thee, risen from the tomb; lovingly he greets us, scatters fear and gloom; let the church with gladness, hymns of triumph sing, for her Lord now liveth, death hath… Read more

April 21, 2019

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia! The strife is o’er, the battle done, the victory of life is won; the song of triumph has begun. Alleluia! The powers of death have done their worst, but Christ their legions hath dispersed: let shout of holy joy outburst. Alleluia! The three sad days are quickly sped, he rises glorious from the dead: all glory to our risen Head! Alleluia! He closed the yawning gates of hell, the bars from heaven’s high portals fell; let hymns… Read more

April 20, 2019

I don’t remember when I first became aware of Rachel Held Evans, nor when I first read something written by her, but she quickly became a hero of mine. Having grown up in a similar conservative, quasi-fundamentalist background that was rapidly becoming too small, the earnestness with which she grappled for her faith through doubt was inspiring. I found her writings to be lucid and clear, always irenic, but never capitulating to even her harshest critics. And they’ve become even… Read more

April 19, 2019

Ah, holy Jesus, how hast thou offended, that man to judge thee have in hate pretended? By foes derided, by thine own rejected, O most afflicted! Who was the guilty? Who brought this upon thee? Alas, my treason, Jesus, hath undone thee! ‘Twas I, Lord Jesus, I it was denied thee; I crucified thee. Lo, the Good Shepherd for the sheep is offered; the slave hath sinned, and the Son hath suffered. For our atonement, while we nothing heeded, God… Read more

April 7, 2019

My song is love unknown, my Savior’s love to me, love to the loveless shown, that they might lovely be. O who am I, that for my sake my Lord should take frail flesh and die? He came from his blest throne, salvation to bestow; but men cared not, and none the longed-for Christ would know. But oh, my Friend, my Friend indeed, who at my need his life did spend! Sometimes they strew his way, and his sweet praises… Read more

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