For the imaginatively inclined, the church calendar provides endless opportunities to delve into stories creatively. The upcoming Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord (February 2), falling precisely forty days after Christmas, is no exception. As a pedagogical strategy, projecting ourselves into the story gives us a chance to playfully engage with the material, increasing the likelihood of making unexpected connections. Moreover, full immersion in the biblical narratives seems to be the starting point for many of our hymns, making our hymnody fertile ground for meditation or personal devotion.Read More > >
Hospitality is defined as “the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.”Read More > >
There are certain seasons that are inherently stressful, and we are currently in one of them. There were Christmases past in which it was difficult for me to keep the proper perspective. I felt overworked and underappreciated, and the added pressures I put on myself to have a beautifully decorated home and provide a “perfect” holiday for my family only produced feelings of personal failure and silent resentment toward others whom I believed had it easier than I. Does this sound vaguely familiar to anyone?
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If the only prayer you ever say in your whole life is thank you, it will be enough.
— Meister Eckhart.
Gratitude, the condition of being thankful or the readiness to show appreciation, is both a feeling and a disposition. In the last few decades, science and popular culture have rediscovered what our hymns have long taught us: science has ascertained its health benefits, and self-help books remind us that it is one of the habits we need to develop to achieve peace of mind.Read More > >
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven …
The author of Ecclesiastes reminds us that there is a time for everything. How we choose to live in each of these times affects our own well-being and that of others. I can relate to this passage more as I have gotten older, and I can relate to it in my vocation as a church musician as well. Here are a few thoughts:
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Well, here we are. Another choir season has come to an end, and the summer months are upon us. The Sundays keep coming and the planning never stops. How are you doing? Now is an ideal time to check in with yourself. What do you need in the next several weeks to restore, energize, and enliven you and your music ministry?Read More > >
Theologian and teacher Marva Dawn once said that children are the fingers and toes of the body of Christ that Paul describes in 1 Corinthians. The metaphor works beautifully for many reasons, not least of which is the wiggling nature of both fingers/toes and children. Dawn’s point was to drive home the importance of children in the worshiping body; children bring unique characteristics of innocence, openness, joy, playfulness, and enthusiasm, among others. When those qualities are missing in worship, the body is not whole.Read More > >
Many of the hymns and songs from All Creation Sings, our new worship and song supplement, are available as choral anthems, either from Augsburg Fortress or from other music publishers. As publishers of All Creation Sings, Augsburg Fortress staff have curated a helpful listing of almost fifty anthems in various voicings and styles.
This is the night! The Vigil of Easter is the heart of our celebration of the Three Days and the pinnacle of the church’s year. We gather around a pillar of fire, hear ancient stories of our faith, welcome new siblings in Christ at the font, and share food and drink. We proclaim Christ crucified and risen!Read More > >
I take great care in selecting my organ preludes and postludes for each Sunday. A prelude prepares the gathered community for worship. Whether the listener prays, reflects, or simply listens, they are still an active participant, and, as such, I believe they deserve the best the musician can give them. Likewise, the postlude, as the last thing they hear on the way out of church, is an opportunity to lift their spirits as they reflect on the worship that just ended and prepare to go about their week.Read More > >