It seems to be a tradition among Lutherans to have an evening service once a week during Lent, usually on Wednesday. This service is generally shorter than the Sunday service and doesn’t include communion. Like any other season of the church year, the same hymns are used year after year. “Lord Jesus Think on Me” is one I associate with Lent. It is an ancient Christian hymn that was written by the Bishop of Ptolemais, Synesius of Cyrene around 375 AD. as an epilog to a series of nine odes that explained the most important doctrines of the church. As you will notice, it is a prayer to Christ asking for his help in the struggles of life. It has been translated into many languages and is still widely used. Listen and give thanks for the Lord who has saved you!
After I posted recently about opening my heart, I found this beautiful song on the same topic. It is written by Yolanda Adams, and tells the story of surrendering to God for guidance. I hope you will enjoy it, as I did, and it will speak to your own heart.
“Glory be to Jesus” is an 18th Century Italian hymn that was translated into English by Edward Caswall in 1857. I got to sing it this week at our mid-week Lenten service, and it is a wonderful reminder of the gift Jesus gave to us through His crucifixion. Make listening to it a part of your Lenten discipline as you contemplate the cross.
The hymn, Tis Good Lord to Be Here, was written by English clergyman and sometime Dean of Westminster, Joseph Armitage Robinson (1858-1933). It deals with the transfiguration of Jesus. When Peter saw Jesus in His heavenly glory on the mountaintop, he was so amazed that he never wanted to leave.
” As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, “Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what he was saying.) Luke 9:33
Of course, as we know, they could not remain because the work of Jesus on earth was not yet complete. As you listen to the words, let them fill you with the wonder of realizing who Jesus really is.
I first heard this beautiful, contemporary hymn when my husband was the supply pastor at a small Lutheran congregation. It was composed by David Haas (b. 1957), and the themes include God’s care, strength during difficult times, baptism and confirmation. It has also been used at funerals and healing services.
Today many people question the divinity of Christ, wanting to acknowledge Him as a great teacher, but not the Son of God. This hymn powerfully affirms His authority and status. I enjoyed singing it during worship this past Sunday, and I hope you will, too.
Originally a five stanza poem by the Rev. Somerset Corry Lowry (1855-1932), it was first published in 1894.
This was the gathering song used recently at a church I attended. It contains segments from Psalms 31, 32, and 56. The heart of the lyrics is this simple prayer: “I will trust in you.” It also speaks, like Zephaniah 3:17, of God’s surrounding us with songs. I hope you enjoy the lovely images and pensive melody as much as I did.
Recently, I’ve been writing a talk for an upcoming Via de Cristo weekend. The title of the talk is piety, or the process of learning to direct our entire live toward God. We can be comfortable doing this because, as the Bible tells us, “Nothing is impossible with God.” Luke 1:37. That doesn’t mean we’ll always get our way, but it does mean that God is omnipotent, He will work everything out in accordance with His Will, and it will be good.
As you listen to this song, resolve to surrender and allow God to control your life. He’s full of wonderful surprises!
Recently I attended a Via de Cristo team meeting where I heard this song. (If you don’t know what a Via de Cristo retreat weekend is, see this post: What is Via de Cristo?) Naturally, there are many tasks involved in presenting a three-day retreat, and so the team begins gathering months in advance to worship and pray together, and to work out important logistics. Singing is always an important part of the meetings, and this particular song was both new to me and appropriate for the monthly theme– the attributes of God. God is described as loving, mighty, strong, eternal and omnipresent. Listen and enjoy!
Most of our Christmas celebrations these days happen in the days leading up to Christmas, but that has not always been the case. In 567, the Council of Tours proclaimed the twelve days of Christmas (the days from Christmas Day until Epiphany, to be a sacred season. Historically there was a suspension of work, celebrations of Saints Days, and many festivities, especially on the final evening (Twelfth Night).
I’m sure you’ve heard the Christmas song about the twelve days of Christmas. Did you know it may have a hidden meaning? One theory about the origins of this carol links it to the period when Catholicism was outlawed in England (1558-1829). Since Catholics could not practice their faith openly, the song was developed as a sort of catechism to teach the fundamentals of belief surreptitiously. There’s no overwhelming evidence to support this idea, but it is interesting.
Here are the verses of the song, along with their supposed symbolism:
A Partridge in a Pear Tree – Jesus Christ
Two Turtle Doves – The Old and New Testaments
Three French Hens – The three virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity
Four Calling Birds – Four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John
Five Golden Rings – First five books of the Old Testament
Six Geese-a-Laying – Six days of creation before God’s rest on the seventh day
Seven Swans-a-Swimming – Seven gifts of the Holy Spirit
Eight Maids-a-Milking – Eight Beatitudes
Nine Ladies Dancing – Nine fruits of the Holy Spirit
Ten Lords-a-Leaping – Ten Commandments
Eleven Pipers Piping – Eleven faithful disciples
Twelve Drummers Drumming –Twelve points of belief in the Apostles’ Creed