Category Archives: Music

One Bread, One Body

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This contemporary song was written by John B. Foley, professor of Liturgy at St. Louis University.  It is often used on Lutheran Via de Cristo weekends and beautifully expresses the ideal of unity in the Body of Christ, His Church.

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Great Things Happen When God Mixes with Us

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My post about the laity as a motley crew made me think about this song.  It’s one we often use on Lutheran Via De Cristo weekends and it reminds me that we don’t do anything in our own strength–it’s the power of God working with us, both lay people and pastors.  It’s composed by Carey Landry, who wrote other favorites such as Only A Shadow and Abba Father.  Once you get it in your head, you’ll be singing it all day!

Seek Ye First

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On a Via de Cristo weekend, one of the talks is entitled “Piety.”  We learn that piety is part of a balanced Christian life, which also includes study and apostolic action.  True piety means directing your entire life toward God;  doing His will, understanding His purposes.  The song, “Seek Ye First” is a good reminder to do this every day.

Showers of Blessing

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I think this song and especially the comments in the post about revival are significant for me and for my church at this time. I’m hoping other readers will find it meaningful as well. It is certainly a beautiful and uplifting hymn.

Wordwise Hymns

Words: Daniel Webster Whittle (b. Nov. 22, 1840; d. Mar. 4, 1901)
Music: James McGranahan (b. July 4, 1840; July 9, 1907)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Daniel Whittle born, died)
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: This song is sometimes given the longer title There Shall Be Showers of Blessing. For some reason, many hymn books fail to include the fifth stanza of the song. It is significant, as it makes a practical and personal application. You might consider including it in the church bulletin, if you hymnal doesn’t have it. Or projecting it for all to see, when the time comes to sing the song.

The partnership of “Major” Whittle (his rank in the Civil War) and James McGranahan was a rich and productive one for eleven years. But it began at a scene of terrible tragedy. When hymn writer Philip Bliss and his wife were killed in a…

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A Song of Blessing

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Omer Westendorf (1916-1997) published this hymn under the pseudonym J. Clifford Evers in the People’s Mass Book (1964).  It was the first vernacular hymnbook to implement the changes in Roman Catholic liturgy ordered by the Second Vatican Council.

Omer was born on February 24, 1916, at Cincinnati, Ohio.  He became a church organist at the age of twenty and served at St. Bonaventure Church, Cincinnati, for over forty years.  The church’s choir has recorded religious music and performed on television, radio, and in live concerts.

Leland Bernhard Sateren (1913-2007) harmonized this tune in 1972 when it was included in the Lutheran supplement Contemporary Worship – 4: Hymns for Baptism and Holy Communion.  It is often used as a recessional at the end of the service.

The King of Love My Shepherd Is

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I’ve been to several funerals already this year, no doubt an indication of my age and being the wife of a Pastor.  Of course, Psalm 23 is a familiar and comforting reading that is often used.  Meditating on Jesus as my shepherd has reminded me of this lovely hymn that expresses God’s agape love for us.

Jesus Loves Me

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My friend Nancy’s email about music made me think about the simple children’s song, “Jesus Loves Me.”  Although my mom couldn’t communicate much during the last years of her life, she could still sing, and the old hymns and Christian songs were favorites.  Jesus Loves Me always brought tears to her eyes.  My husband and I had a good Christian friend who asked that this song be sung at his funeral.  I think he felt its’ simple message captured the essence of his faith.  He’s not the only person who ever felt this way.  Karl Barth, a Swiss Reformed minister, who was know as one of the greatest theologians of the twentieth century was once asked to summarize all the words he had written about theology.  His answer?

“Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”

The words of this song were first published in a novel entitled See and Seal by Anna And Susan Warner.  In the story a young boy named Johnny is dying.  His Sunday School teacher comforts him by making up this little song.  The novel became a best seller in the 186o’s, and the song, set to music by William Bradbury, became the best-known children’s hymn of all time.

 

Funeral Songs

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Last night I received an email from my good friend, Nancy, who is also one of our faithful readers.  She mentioned that she had been at a funeral and the music was just lovely.  In her words:

In keeping with the blog, I went to the funeral yesterday of a dear friend from church. It was the most singing at a funeral that I have ever experienced, and it was perfect. One of the songs we sang was the “Hymn of Promise” that I had sent to you. And we sang a medley of last verses of six old hymns that all spoke of heaven and Jesus coming to “take us home.” There were more hymns- all were affirmations of faith and hope.

This made me think about the songs that uplift me in times of grief.  One of my favorites is “I Know that My Redeemer Lives.”  It’s an Easter song, based upon Job 19:25-26

“I know that my Redeemer lives, and at last he will stand upon the earth, and after my skin has been thus destroyed, then from my flesh I shall see God,

Whom I shall see on my side, and my eyes shall behold, and not another.”

I can’t imagine anything more comforting and hopeful than that word  picture.  Here’s the whole hymn, in case you don’t know it:

 

Martin Luther on Music #2

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“My heart which is so full to overflowing, has often been solaced and refreshed by music when sick and weary.”

What about you?  Have you ever been comforted by music in a difficult time?  We’d like to hear your thoughts.

Martin Luther, Protestant, Statue

Sing — It’s Good For You

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“Praise the Lord!

For it is good to sing praises to our God;  for he is gracious and a song of praise is seemly.”   Psalm 147:1

The Bible tells us that singing is good;  Martin Luther said music is a gift from God.  Numerous studies also tell us that singing and music are not only good, they are good for us.  Here are some examples:

  1. Music education, even at a very young age, improves visual, verbal and communication skills
  2. Music keeps an aging brain healthy.  It’s exercise for the brain and promotes better memory and mental agility
  3. Music causes your brain to release dopamine which improves your mood, and reduces depression and anxiety
  4. Music strengthens the heart and has been shown to improve the recovery time of patients after heart surgery
  5. Music improves sleep quality
  6. Music boosts the immune system and reduces pain

My advice?  Go to a church where you sing and make a joyful noise to God at least once a week.  You’ll be happier and healthier.