Songs We're Singing - October 4

 
 

This Sunday's readings juxtapose two things: marriage and Jesus' incarnation. This to me is a beautiful way of explaining the mystery of God become flesh. In the Genesis and Gospel readings, it is emphasized that man and woman are made of the same stuff, the same flesh. God made an appropriate companion for Adam by creating out of his own material, leading him to exclaim: "Flesh of my flesh, and bone of my bone!" Jesus describes marriage as two becoming one flesh, a union of like entities in the bond of love. So when we read the Hebrews passage, and we hear: "Since, therefore, the children share flesh and blood, he himself likewise shared the same things...Therefore he had to become like his brothers and sisters in every respect..." we can relate the work of Christ to the picture of marriage. God became man because we needed a savior just like us, with flesh and bone, to unite himself to us. Our concluding hymn, with the poetry of Charles Wesley, captures this wonderfully in the last stanza: "Our knees and hearts to Him we bow; of our flesh, and of our bone, See - Jesus is our brother now, And God is all our own!"

This Sunday, we'll sing a few new songs. One is called "Prayers of the People," and you can listen to it here:

 
 

Another new song is "Jesus, Your Love." Hear it below:

 
 

I look forward to worshiping with you this Sunday!

Songs We're Singing - September 27

 
 

This week we hear, from both Old and New Testament, about the mysterious way God chooses to dispense the gift of God's Spirit. In the Numbers reading, both the elders with Moses, who are in the "right" place, and the two who were in the "wrong" place, prophesied in the Spirit. Joshua (of Jericho fame) is annoyed and wants Moses to stop this unauthorized display of God's power. But Moses rightly laments: "Would that all the LORD's people were prophets, and that the LORD would put his spirit on them!" As we know, God answers Moses' plea at Pentecost. In our Gospel reading, Jesus' disciples are similarly perturbed by some people who were outside their fellowship, but still casting out demons in Jesus' name. Again, Jesus signals a desire for more people to be blessed with the power of the Spirit, not just his groupies. We don't always understand the ways God moves to bring his will about in our world. But these stories show us that we should be asking things like: "God, what are you doing? How can we partner with your work?" We should not worry so much about the right place and time for the move of God's Spirit, but thank God whenever and wherever he chooses to make himself known.

A new song (to us) this week is called "Sing to Jesus," by Fernando Ortega. Here's a lovely arrangement:

Another new(er) song this week is "Build Your Kingdom Here," by Rend Collective:

 
 

I look forward to worshipping with you this Sunday!

Songs We're Singing - September 6

 
 

This week's readings bring out the theme of God's way of justice. In Isaiah, God is a God who comes to save, to right the wrongs of this world, so that the deaf hear and the lame walk, the deserts become oases and the wilderness bears fruit. The refrain for our Psalm is: "He gives justice for those who are oppressed, and food to this who hunger." And James exhorts the believers to reject false religion and turn to his definition of true religion: "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. (James 1:27)" So for James, worshipping God goes beyond inner purity - it ALWAYS manifests itself in outward acts of love and care for those in need.

On these lines, we'll sing a new song for the offertory called "Hands and Feet" by worship band The Brilliance. Listen to it here:

 
 

We'll also sing again the new song we've been learning: "This I Believe (The Creed)"

 
 

I look forward to worshipping with you this Sunday!

Songs We're Singing - August 23

 
 

This week's readings give the result of Jesus' hard words - "From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him." (John 6:66) We also get this sense of a stark divide in our Old Testament reading from Joshua, in which the famous ultimatum is uttered: "Choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15) As the history of the Israelites is born out, we see that most of the people chose something other than the LORD.

We are called - weekly, daily, moment by moment - to a choice. Who are we serving? The answer is never "No One." It is often "Me." Serving Jesus continually is often a hard task, owing to the countless ways we must take up a cross and crucify our desires and preferences in His service. But, with Peter, we will find there is nowhere else to go. Jesus alone has the words of life. As Fr. Ryan put it so well last week, we may not know everything and have it all figured out, but we who trust in Christ have seen enough of who he is to choose to follow. It's about finding real, abiding life in the son of God, Jesus Christ. 

This week, we'll sing a song we've learned this year that highlights this theme: "Christ is Enough." Listen to it here:

 
 

The new song we learned last week also fits our theme this week, as we declare "I believe in You, I believe that Jesus Christ is Lord.." Listen to "This I Believe" here:

 
 

I look forward to worshiping with you this Sunday!

Songs We're Singing - August 16th

 
 

This week, we continue in the Gospel of John, as Jesus gives us a long discourse about his nature as God's Son. We hear his words through the lens of 2000 years of church history and rich theological explanations, so we may miss the shock of what Jesus proposes. But still, for our modern age of consuming and fulfilling our individual dream and desires, there still remains a "hard saying" for us. Jesus says if you do not abide in Him, feast on Him, trust Him for life, then "you have no life in you." Everything is else is, as Ecclesiastes puts it, "meaningless, a chasing after the wind." We so often want "Jesus AND..." And money. And family. And a fulfilling career. But the point is very clear. Those things are like "the bread the fathers ate, and died." Only one kind of sustenance gives life eternal - the life of Jesus.

We will sing a brand new song (to us, though you may have heard it before!) this week. Hillsong Worship has blessed the church with an inspiring rendition of the Apostle's Creed. Listen to a simple version here:

 
 

I look forward to worshipping with you this Sunday!