Doing Well in the Things that Count
How are you really doing, that is, in the things that really count?
Helen Lemmel, a member of Ballard Baptist Church, died in Seattle on November 1, 1961, thirteen days before her 98th birthday; she had written nearly 500 hymns. Due to her extreme poverty, her remains were cremated and nobody seems to know where they were disposed of. No matter. Those are things of earth. Strangely dim.... Continue Reading
Handel’s “Messiah,” A Prophetic Masterwork—An Introduction
Great music has a paradoxical effect: it is both anchored in its own time, and yet timeless.
When you think of a work that has Jesus the Messiah as its sole subject, you would reasonably assume that the text is heavily dependent on the New Testament, and primarily the Gospels. But when you look through the text, roughly two-thirds of the passages used are Old Testament. That alone suggests its prophetic nature. We... Continue Reading
Music: Theology’s Seasoning
Music plays an important role in keeping theology palatable for the saint.
Hymns are Dominantly God-Centered. Most hymns that have lasted the test of time are God-centered hymns. Even songs about personal sanctification often have the intention to draw your eyes to Christ in the midst of your trials. This is the ultimate point isn’t it? A life experiencing hardship tests the saint’s commitment to resolutely keep God... Continue Reading
Jesus Shall Reign
The Remarkable Story of the First Missionary Hymn
Two themes dominate the hymn the Tongans sang 160 Pentecosts ago: the universal reach of Jesus’s reign, and the unrivaled blessings of that reign. The risen Christ is on the move, undeterred until his blessed foot treads every coastland and continent, every inland and island, from Israel to England to Tonga. The Tongans sang because... Continue Reading
Venite Adoremus: The Creedal Hymnody of Christmastide
This article gives some attention to the theologically rich and particularly creedal congregational singing that surrounds Advent.
The Christmas hymns and carols being among the most lovely, sing-able, and familiar, are also among the most richly doctrinal. I know of no other time of the year where so many Evangelical and Protestant congregations (from all sections of the worship-style spectrum) are singing and meditating on such explicitly creedal confessions of the church... Continue Reading
Love Beyond Telling
The Surprising History of a Favorite Hymn
As with so many of our favorite hymns, “The Love of God” was born in adversity. Frederick Lehman (1868–1953), who wrote the hymn with his daughter, had experienced the failure of his once-profitable business, which left him packing crates of oranges and lemons in Pasadena, California, to make ends meet. Again and again throughout history,... Continue Reading
A New Video on the Pilgrims
Celebrating the 400th anniversary of the Voyage of Mayflower
One way to celebrate Thanksgiving is to rehearse the history of the Pilgrims and the Mayflower. You can recount this history by watching a new video on the Pilgrims recently released. The Pilgrims, 17th-Century English Emigrants is a 30-minute documentary in celebration of the 400th anniversary this year of the voyage of Mayflower. Among the... Continue Reading
Miss. Pastor Wins ‘the Voice,’ Sings Christian Song ‘I Can Only Imagine’ in Finale
“Pastor, we love seeing your journey throughout this whole season,” coach John Legend told him.
Shelton praised him for “the connection you have with people.” In the finale, Tilghman also performed alongside his coach Shelton the John Mellencamp hit “Authority Song,” The minster was surrounded by his wife of 21 years and their eight children as host Carson Daly named him the winner of the singing competition. Todd Tilghman, a... Continue Reading
For the Hymnal
Having a hymnal in the pew and in the home helps join the sacred and the secular.
Having the physical hymnal in the pew and at the dinner table creates a beautiful resonance and harmony between church and home. A liturgy of life emerges that helps Christian piety and devotion extend beyond Sunday morning. This is especially well-facilitated in Lutheranism and other traditions where the hymnal also contains Scripture-saturated liturgical services, rites,... Continue Reading
O Come, Thou Day-Spring, Come and Cheerthe Presence of a Good Reputation
The sun has indeed come up again. Tomorrow is now today. And in the context of this song, this is Jesus.
Jesus is called the “Day-Spring.” The dayspring is the dawn – it’s that moment, which ebbs and flows according to the season, when light first breaks over the darkness. But it’s more than that – it’s the first sign every day of the dispelling of darkness. It is the daily reminder that the mercies of... Continue Reading