Category Archives: Music

St. Francis Set to Music

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If you like the St. Francis Prayer about transforming your environment by starting with yourself, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this musical version even more.  It’s been going around in my mind every since my last post.  Remember, he who sings, prays twice!

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Peace Is Flowing Like a River

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On a Via de Cristo weekend, the speaker chooses a hymn or Christian song which everyone sings right before their talk.  This was the song I chose for my Environment talk, and I think it expresses the idea that when God’s peace, love and joy is inside of us, it will overflow and affect everyone we’re around.  Enjoy listening!

God’s Not Dead & God’s Not Dead 2 –Movie Review

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Martin Luther would have empathized with these film depictions of Christians who  found themselves in situations that required them to defend their faith against great odds.  You might say they became leaders unintentionally, as did Luther himself.  Facing the Diet of Worms in 1521 he said,

“Unless I am convicted by Scripture and plain reason, I do not accept the authority of popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other.  My conscience is captive to the Word of God.  I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe.  Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise.  God help me.”

Both films feature a main character who risks virtually everything to defend his or her Christian beliefs.  Both are vindicated and triumph over systems that seek to ridicule and belittle them. Both had very good presentations of the logical, scientific and historical reasons to accept Christianity (the big word for this is apologetics.)  I found them inspiring and entertaining. (Of course, I know I am years behind in my movie-viewing and probably most readers have already seen the films — if you haven’t, you can now easily get them from the local library).

I do have a few criticisms:  most of the characters were almost cartoonishly one dimensional — the Christians are obviously good, the atheists bad, and not much room in between for the doubting or seeking.  Conversions and answers to prayer come quickly….but this is a movie, right?  Things have to move rapidly (after all we only have 120 minutes) and I can’t expect the character development I might find in a good novel.  So I can let that go.

More seriously, the discussion of free will in the first film, and the implication in the second that we must “ask Jesus into our heart” conflict with Lutheran theology.  God choses us, we do not chose Him, and we do not have free will over our salvation (although we do in other areas.)

The Newsboys are not my favorite Christian musical group, but I’ll include the song for those who enjoy them:

Rise Up O Men Of God

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This hymn was written by William P. Merrill, a Presbyterian pastor.  I have heard it used at Lutheran ordination services.  These days some object to this hymn because the language is not inclusive.  In some hymnals the wording has been changed from “men of God” to “saints of God.”  However, in researching its’ history, I found that it was written in support of a growing men’s movement.  Since the original purpose was to encourage the leadership of men in the parish, is it necessary to “correct” it?  Would it be wrong to write a hymn directed specifically toward women?  Or some other group within the body of Christ?  I love this hymn just as it is, and personally think the gender-neutral idea sometimes goes too far. I’m posting it today for my husband’s birthday because it’s one of his favorites as well.  Readers, what is your opinion?

Generations of Leaders

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We sang this hymn in church recently.  It reminded me, that we can always look to Christ and many generations of His followers as examples and inspiration for our own walk.  Read your Bible to find the leader you want to emulate, then follow in the train!

 

All the Saints

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English Bishop William How wrote the hymn, “For All the Saints,” in 1864 for All Saints Day, a day meant to honor departed saints, both known and unknown.  This hymn celebrates the saints who went before us—”who from their labors rest.”  It tells how God sustained them through difficult times—strengthened them to battle evil—brought them light in their darkest days.  When I hear it, I think about that “great cloud of witnesses” the author of Hebrews mentions, as well as the many saints who have served my own church, St. Paul’s over the 190+ years it has been in existence.  Guess what, most of them were members of the laity!  Isaac Newton, the great physicist and astronomer, said, “If I have seen farther, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” We, the laity today, have been enriched and (as my husband puts it) “subsidized” by many faithful generations of Christians.  As you listen to this hymn, be thankful and think about what your part is in passing on the faith.  

 

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.

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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