Lent, Music

Blissfully Unaware – Giving Up Worry

I recently joined the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus and have truly enjoyed singing in an ensemble regularly again. One of the pieces we’re doing at our concert this Sunday is a 3-movement piece by Bernstein featuring a collection of Psalms sung in Hebrew. No matter what order we rehearse the movements in, the second one is the one that always plays over and over in my head for days after a rehearsal.  

A soloist and the women start by singing the well-known Psalm 23, when suddenly they are interrupted by the men singing Psalm 2.  We go from peaceful sheep in green pastures by still waters to “why do the nations rage?!?” with quite a different tone. Part of the way into the men’s psalm, the women come back in recounting the Lord as their Shepherd again over the top of the chaos described in Psalm 2.  While the words are powerful (especially when you look at them in English together), it suddenly meant so much more when I saw the musical markings as the women come back in. Typically the music may say something like “fast and crisp” or “bright sound.”  In this section we are instructed by the composer to come in singing “blissfully unaware of threat“. (You can listen to this movement here performed by the Taipei City Symphony.)

In my mind, this musical note isn’t suggesting being naive about the danger, but rather, of remembering in Whose arms you rest as the “nations rage”. A sheep doesn’t spend all of it’s days freaking out about the potential dangers around them, and even if they do, there is absolutely nothing they could do on their own to protect themselves from the things that might attack them.  They have to depend on their shepherd.  

The same is true for us. 

  
So today in my Lenten journey, I give up worry. I give up freaking out about things over which I have no control. I give up wondering when things will happen in my life.  I give up worrying about our own “raging nations” in the world today. I give up unproductive concern for loved ones.  Worrying about things doesn’t make any potential threat go away. 

Instead as the troubles come, I pray that I can simply rest content in my Shepherd’s arms… that I find myself blissfully unaware… abiding in His love. 

Adonai r-oi, (The Lord, My Shepherd), even when I walk through the valleys of life, may I do so without fear, because I can trust that You are with me.  Help me today, give up my worry and replace it with trust. No matter what is going on around me or what happens in this life, may I rest secure knowing that I will dwell in Your house, forever. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

  

First Trinity, Music, Prayer

God’s Word is AMAZING! – Week 2 Memory Verse Song

God’s Word is truly AMAZING!  As I shared in the children’s sermon this morning, there are many things that amaze me about God’s Word, but the thing that amazes me the most is its power to change our lives.  I loved Pastor’s sermon today that outlined just 7 of the MANY ways God’s Word changes us.

Our memory verse for this week is a simple but POWERFUL prayer in which we ask God to show us those wonderful things in His Word.

Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law. (Psalm 119:18)

To help us memorize this verse, I bring you week 2’s memory verse song.  In addition to a normal recording below, you’ll find a recording of First Trinity’s choir leading the congregation in singing this beautiful verse in today’s traditional worship service.  I pray these songs help us all hide God’s Word in our hearts.

You can find and/or downloard all the songs throughout the series here.

31 Days of Imperfection, Music

“As Is” {31 Days of Imperfection – Day 10}

What a great reminder… God takes us ‘as is’!

AS IS

by Peder Eide
Moses was a stutterer
David was a murderer
Jeremiah suicidal
Naked in the street
Paul, he had a problem
The specifics left unsaid
Timothy had stomach-aches
And Lazarus was dead

Samson was a long-haired
Arrogant womanizer
Rahab was scarlet corded
Lady of the street
John the baptist eatin’
bugs and honey on his bread
Gideon a scaredy cat
And Lazarus was dead

 

As is
As is
He chooses us as is
As His
As His
Infuses us as His
With never ending
Love transcending
All our weakness
No excuses
He uses us as is

 

Noah was a drunk man
Abraham an old man
Jacob was a liar man
Leah second best
Jonah should have followed God
But ran away instead
Martha was a worrywart
And Lazarus was dead

(chorus)

Jesus said to stay awake
They went to bed instead
Peter turned and ran away
Jesus hung and bled

As is
As is
He chooses us as is
As His
As His
Infuses us as His

With never ending
Love transcending
All our weaknesses

No excuses
He uses us
No excuses
He chooses us
No excuses
He uses us
As is

31 Days of Imperfection, Music

What if? {31 Days of Imperfection – Day 7}

I found myself at the kitchen sink last night, finally giving in and doing the dishes that had been staring at me all night long.

Music always makes cleaning more exciting, but in breaking out itunes for a little inspiration, I never expected it might break me. Not in a bad way, but more in the “I think God just punched me in the gut” kind of way. If it hadn’t been for that “revelation” earlier in the day the one about fake imperfection and living in God’s dreams for us rather than the expectations of the world (yea, this one) I probably wouldn’t have given it a second thought.  itunes confirmed that I had heard the song before, but as these words came out of the computer, I think they bypassed my ears and went straight to my heart:

What if you lived like you were loved?

What if you did all the things Your heart’s dreaming of?

What if you sang your song at the top of your lungs?

What if you lived…

Like you were loved?

It struck me…  that’s all I’ve been called to do:

To live loved.

And yet, I complicate each day with so many other things.  The question never was, never is, and never will be, “What if I were loved?”  Because WE ARE LOVED.

Yet, we make it the question as we compare ourselves to others…”What if I were like her? then would I be loved?”
We make it the question when we seek approval, we long to be noticed, “What if I wear this outfit or do my hair that way? Then would I be loved?” 
We make it the question when we long for more, “What if I got that new toy or what if I made a little more money?  Maybe THEN I’d feel loved.”

And we forget that WE ARE LOVED! In forgetting that, we struggle to live out the dreams God has for us, we struggle to sing the unique song he’s created our lives to sing.

Dream for a minute, just what might life look like if we truly lived loved?

What kind of chances would you be taking?

What sort of difference could you make?

Would you let go of the secrets that you’ve been keeping,

If love was your shield and strength?

What are you waiting for?

There’ll never be, never be a better time.

No one could love you more than He who gave His life

Join me today in answering these questions.  In the comments below, in conversations with your family and friends, in your journal… wherever… answer the questions and then ask God to give you grace to understand YOU ARE LOVED and strength to live like it!

What if you lived like you were loved?

What if you did all the things Your heart’s dreaming of?

What if you sang your song at the top of your lungs?

What if you lived…

Like you were loved?

(What If? by Scott Krippayne)

God-Sighting Saturday, Haiti

God-Sighting Saturday

A new worship song penned by a high school youth boldly asking “Use me, God”! And He does!
God works through people.

Women gathered in a slightly older one’s home. Chocolate chip pancakes and an evening in the Word, in sharing, in tears, in joy.
God gives rest.

Beautiful peach roses delivered amazing new neighbors.
God brings joy.

Staff members gathered in prayer midday, back from Haiti, Colorado, Texas, beyond.
God goes with and God brings back.

Stories from Haiti from two beautiful young women. Passion, joy, excitement.
God makes alive.

A neighbor watching. Staffmates acting.
God protects and provides.

Walking with my neighbor-teammate and his daughter on a morning commute. Pure joy in a three year old’s voice as she tells me about “white” day in preschool.
God in simple things.

Same three year old removes her coat to show off her dress as bystanders tell her she’s beautiful … and she is. I look in her eyes and can tell she really believes it. Silent prayers lifted that she never forgets!
God reminds, we’re beautiful too.

Kari Jobe on repeat singing “I want to sit at your feet, drink from the cup in your hands, lay back against you and breathe, feel your heartbeat. This love is so deep, it’s more than I can stand. I melt in your peace, it’s overwhelming”. . Sleep comes.
God is near.

Where did you sight God this week?

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Bekah's Heart, Music, Poetry/Songs

The Walls that Divide

This afternoon, I found myself thinking about a lot of things.

Mostly… about the walls that often divide us… walls in schools, homes, churches, friendships, and more.

These walls often come from areas of pain in our individual lives.

Following is a musical response I wrote this afternoon… not perfect… recorded only on my computer in my spare bedroom… voice cracking at times due to the cold I think I’m starting to get… but for whatever it’s worth… here’s my prayer that God would begin to restore our lives and as he does so, restore some of the brokenness in our relationships and in our world.

(If you’re reading this in some kind of blog reader, you’ll likely have to go to my actual website to listen.)

 

 

 

The Walls That Divide

Verse 1: The rain outside my window
Echoes rain inside
Of souls I walk past
Each and every day
Their storms of life
Overwhelm
Darkness looms
Shame destroys
Lord, please shine your light

 

Chorus: Break through the walls ’round our hearts
The hurt and the pain I see everyday
Restore our lives, I pray
Break through the walls that divide
Teach us to love, to care, and to serve
Restore our world today
Please break through

 

Verse 2: I am so frustrated by all the hurt I see
People caring less and less about humanity
How did we get so rotten?
How did we get so mean?
Gossip and lies
Please, open our eyes
Lord, please make us clean (Chorus)

 

Verse 3: Alone we are so powerless
Together we are strong
And with God on our side we will be defeated no more
Let us stand up and fight the enemy that seeks to destroy.
Instead, Lord, restore. Please have your way in me. (Chorus)

 

Bridge:
Break through.
Break through.
Break through, today.
Break through the hate
Break through the judgement.
Break through the walls that divide.  (Chorus)

 

 

First Trinity, Music, Youth Ministry

Joyfullyblessed by music

There’s just something about music that calms my soul.

 

St. Augustine once said, “He who sings, prays twice.” 

 

As people gathered in Trinity Lutheran Church in Lockport, NY tonight, many prayers, with voice and song, were raised up for the homeless in Western New York.  It was such a fun night tonight.  Various musicians from all over WNY gathered together in a concert to benefit Lockport CARES, a homeless shelter in Lockport.  Everyone was great and I especially want to brag on the awesome First Trinity Youth Band who got the evening off to a rockin’ awesome start!  They did such a great job setting the tone for the evening of praise to God! 

 

If you want to know more about Lockport CARES or how you can support them as they help the homeless, check out their website.