Posts Tagged ‘Music’

Christ Be In My Waking

I’m thankful for beautiful new music that reaches into my life and draws me closer to God… Lately at church we’ve been singing “Christ Be In My Waking” by Stuart Townend. Although this is a song of contrast and all of the lyrics speak about wanting Christ in my life at every circumstance, the “Christ be in my gladness” verse in particular jumps out for me. There is a contrast of joy and goodness to sorrow and darkness, yet so true how each of these is unpredictably and often simultaneously present in my life . The gladness isn’t diminished because of the darkness, and the sorrow doesn’t disappear just because of the goodness that is there … but in each situation, there is Christ. There is Christ.

Christ be in my waking, as the sun is rising,
In my day of working, with me every hour.
Christ be in my resting, as the day is ending,
Calming and refreshing, watching through the night.

Christ be in my thinking and my understanding,
Guarding me from evil, walking in the light.
Christ be in my speaking, every word a blessing,
Pure and not deceiving, grace to all who hear.

Jesus, this is my devotion,
All my life to know You,
Every day to walk with You.
Saviour, You’re my deepest longing,
You’re the One I live for,
Teach me, Lord, to walk with You.

Christ be in my gladness for the joy of living,
Thankful for the goodness of the Father’s hand.
Christ be in my sorrow, in my day of darkness,
Knowing that I follow in the steps He trod.

Christ when hope has faded, nothing left to cling to,
Every pleasure jaded, every well is dry.
Christ the loving Shepherd draws me with His kindness,
Leads me from the desert to the streams of life.

“The starting point for the song,” explains Stuart, “was the famous 16th century ‘God be in my head’ prayer, but I wanted to apply it in such a way that it helped us to recognise the closeness of God at every hour of the day, and every season of life – in the joys and the sorrows, in the process and the crisis – and I hope that both the song and the brilliant video help to bring this home.”

Everyday scenes play out as Stuart’s vocals call for a wider view of God, one that sees devotion in the simple act of walking with God, every day. The effect is compelling and beautifully articulates the message at the heart of the song: that whatever we find ourselves doing can become a conduit for our own devotion and service to God. There is no sacred/secular divide, and there are no invisible barriers that keep our faith and work separate. Christ can be in our working and walking just as much as he can in our worshipping and witnessing … and even, it seems, in our videos.

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The song “Sorrow” by Bad Religion absolutely moves me every single time that I hear it.

And lucky for me, it’s played on the radio a lot despite the fact that it’s a 9-year-old song. I have it included in in several of my iTunes playlists as well. Today I watched the music video for the first time and was impacted even more deeply as I watched the emotions on the face of the lead singer. In our world, there is pain, there is sorrow, there is evil, and you cannot come to grips with it by trivializing it. Unless you recognize that there is something greater, you only make a mockery. (I think this is how John Lennon messed up with “Imagine.”)

“Sorrow” explores the suffering of the Biblical character of Job, but there’s a personal connection as well as so many of us long for “the only true messiah” to come to the rescue. While I am not responsible for all of the pain in the world, I certainly am responsible for some. I’m human; I mess up. I cause a whole lot of my own problems, I often cause problems for others, and I am part of the kind of others-second society that is to blame for everything from food shortages to genocide.

Lord, come quickly and rescue me from myself! I ache for that day when there is “sorrow no more…”

Father can you hear me?
How have I let you down?
I curse the day that I was born
And all the sorrow in this world

Let me take you to the hurting ground
Where all good men are trampled down
Just to settle a bet that could not be won
Between a prideful father and his son

Will you guide me now, for I can’t see
A reason for the suffering and this long misery
What if every living soul could be upright and strong
Well, then I do imagine

There will be sorrow
Yeah, there will be sorrow
And there will be sorrow, no more

When all soldiers lay their weapons down
Or when all kings and all queens relinquish their crowns
Or when the only true messiah rescues us from ourselves
It’s easy to imagine

There will be sorrow
Yeah, there will be sorrow
And there will be sorrow, no more

With these lyrics about the Messiah’s return fresh in my mind, I can’t help but to think about the end of the world tomorrow. Oh, sorry. The rapture tomorrow and the end of the world in October. What an idiot this guy is to predict Christ’s return for tomorrow! If he truly understood this rapture that he’s trying to predict, he would know that one of its most basic tenets is that nobody can know the date (Matthew 24:36). And the same Bible that he says predicts the rapture on May 21 (it doesn’t) also says that anyone who believes this guy is a fool (2 Thessalonians).

I understand from reading the Bible that the requirement for Christians is that they should be able to recognize the end of the world when it does come (1 Thessalonians 5). But again, nobody can predict that.

In the midst of my opinion about the May 21 preacher being an idiot, however, I was struck by the thought that just because this guy says the Messiah will return tomorrow does not mean that the Messiah will not return tomorrow. Wouldn’t that be something?! Of course I kinda hope that he’ll stay away just to spite, but … he is coming. He is coming some day and I am eager to see him, and excited in that nervous skydiving-from-a-plane-for-the-first-time sort of way. I’ve never done this before, and it’s going to be grand!

So if the purpose of all of this May 21 hoopla is to make you and me more heaven-minded, then okay, that’s all right with me.

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good enough

Last night at Downtown Disney, Gerry and I sat and listened to a classical violinist for a while. He had an orchestral accompaniment track going on speakers in the background, and his music was wonderful and soothing. However, because I was raised on good classical music, I could tell each time that he fudged a note or skipped a beat. It was weird to sit there thinking: This is beautiful, but this is not correct.

When I expressed this thought to my husband, he told me a story of an experiment that was conducted in the NYC subway tunnels a while ago. A highly famed violin player was asked to dress as a street musician, play for tips for a day, and report on his observations afterwards. He ended up playing for an hour and a half and got about $40 in tips before an observant commuter blew his cover. The surprising thing, though, is that only three people actually stopped to listen. Everyone else just hurried by, enjoying the music for only a phrase or two before they were out of earshot. The lesson that the violin player learned is that people are generally accepting of “good enough” rather that “good” or “great.”

Several weeks ago, I read an article titled “The Good Enough Revolution,” by Robert Capps writing in Wired Magazine, which further explores the lesson illustrated by the famous violin player in the NYC subway tunnels. Excellent writing!

And months before that, I read a book called “The Innovators Dilemma,” by Clayton Christenson, that took a look at the differences between sustaining and disruptive technologies. In layman’s terms:

  1. Sustaining technology = make it faster, shinier, and better
  2. Disruptive technology = make it a different way altogether

Disruptive technology is successful because consumers sometimes don’t care about a product being the best it can be — they would rather have it be convenient, economical, accessible, or any number of other things.

An example is the Flip digital videocamera — it has very limited capabilities, but guess what?! It will fit in your pocket, and it will fit in your budget. If you’re just sharing videos with your family and friends, and have no need for production-quality film, it’s perfect.

Another example is the MP3 file. It has a much lesser sound quality than ___ (I don’t know what it’s called), but it’s small enough that music fans can collect thousands of MP3 files and listen to them without needing any special audio mixing training or equipment.

This has been a fascinating subject to bump into from time to time throughout the past year, and last night at Downtown Disney, it was also pleasant.

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musical stylings

Two songs that I am really loving right now:

“King Without a Crown” – Matisyahu. It’s so … messianic. Joyful. Hopeful. The first time I heard this reggae song was after the wedding as Gerry and I drove north to Napa Valley. The artist is an Orthodox Jew, apparently, and he wears his full orthodox garb in concert or in videos. Wild!

“Sorrow” – Bad Religion. This one, I’ve only started hearing on the radio recently. Don’t know anything about the band, don’t know the story of the song. But it also strikes me as messianic.

The fact that both of these songs have religious messages, but have made it to popularity on mainstream radio, has got me thinking about so-called Christian contemporary music and how many people refuse to listen to it. “It’s because the message is offensive,” the Christian community will shoot back. “We can’t help it that we’re speaking the truth.” Noooooo… Oftentimes the musical stylings are offensive as well. I appreciate festivals like Cornerstone and magazines like Paste that put an emphasis on putting quality into Christian music and film.

God might not mind listening to my “joyful noise,” but other people probably do. Think of it like this: When a five-year-old draws stick figures and a tree, her parents put it on the fridge … not in the Louvre. Not everything that praises God is intended for public consumption. He gave us the abilities to create and develop and compose, so let’s use them!

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The day the music died

As a young girl, I inherited a beautiful Kimball console piano from my grandmother. It was built during WWII and instead of being built with traditional lightweight piano parts, the inside was manufactured from cold, hard, wartime steel! As a result, it’s well over 800 pounds … and it sounds absolutely gorgeous.

My family has had the keys and the pads re-covered since taking ownership, and the strings are also new. The wood finish is original, and is therefore chipping away in a couple of places. The piano has been appraised for up to $2400 as-is, and even more if it was to be refinished.

There is so much sentimental value for me in this instrument. Aside from that, it’s gorgeous and I think I will never find its like again. This is one-of-a-kind, and I absolutely love owning it.

It has resided at my parents’ house for the past several years that I’ve lived with Debbie in the apartment. (You just don’t haul an 800+ pound piano up three flights of stairs! You just don’t.) But now, they are preparing to move to Arizona, while Gerry and I are also preparing to move to California. Where is it going to go? It is a real dilemma that I have considered for quite a long time.

Last night, with much emotion, I decided to try to sell it.

Click to read more…

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A friend gifted me with a music CD this morning that, at first glance, I suspected wasn’t going to be a favorite. Perhaps it was the perfectly coiffed, blue-eyed, middle-aged man on the cover, trying his darnedest to put on a cherubic face. Or maybe it was the title, “My Miracle.” The liner notes explained that the artist had been diagnosed with cancer in 2006, and that whenever he felt discouraged, he wrote a song. Eventually he compiled a CD from all these cancer songs. His request to his wife before he died this year was that she make one million copies of the CD and give them away, free of charge.

Eww.

But I’ll try most anything once, so I popped it in for the drive home from work later in the day. And aside from the synthesizers, slow eclectic drum kit, and arthritic wanna-be electric guitarist accompanying the artist, it wasn’t too horrible. By that I mean the guy had a good voice … although he was severely lacking in any sort of dynamic range.

The first song was all like: “God keeps his promises / whoa yeah / he always keeps his promises / every single one / whoa yeah / all of the time he always keeps his promises / yeah he never ever fails to keep his promises.”

The second song was all about the guy’s cancer: “God promised me healing / this disease will not end in death / whoa yeah / God promised me life / the cancer’s going to go away / so I trust his promise / ’cause he spoke to me / and I’m not going to die from cancer / whoa yeah.”

I thought it was a little strange to stick those back-to-back. After all, the guy’s dead now from his cancer. Do ya really wanna be advertising that God doesn’t keep promises?!

I tuned out for a while, then the seventh track, I think, was back on the topic of being healed from cancer: “God has healed me / I’m already well / believing that I am healed / my body is not sick / God has promised this to me / yes, he’s promised this to me / whoa yeah / I’m not sick for I am healed.”

Again, the guy is dead now! What the heck.

The CD got me thinking a bit about what is the difference between faith … “I have faith that this disease is going to be healed in me!” … and denial … “The doctor says I have cancer, the MRI shows I have cancer, but it’s an illusion. I’m already healed!” Faith is an essential part of living as a Christian, but it can obviously be taken to ridiculous places. I think that it’s important to know what God has actually factually historically said (what’s in the Bible) and cling to that stuff with faith. If we think God has promised something specific to us, we’d better be darn careful about how we treat that “promise” in our lives, and hope that it’s not just an expression of our own wishful thinking.

Remember that lady at work who said God had promised her a baby? She did get a baby, and from the strangest place in the strangest way. I think that really was God giving her a baby! But how did she know?

Anyway, I’m thinking on these things.

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