Tag Archives: Michael Card

Digging Deeper for Lent, Week 4: Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs

medieval hymnWhile music is not everyone’s preferred tool for spiritual growth and renewal, nor even for worship, it has its place in centering one’s thoughts on God, and can also be a teaching tool, both for doctrine and Scripture memory.

Since the apostle Paul instructs the early believers to sing “psalms, hymns and spiritual songs” (see Ephesians 5:19 NIV), today I will offer my own recommendations for a bit of each of these three, from a variety of recording artists.

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Advent Voices: The Shepherds

advent wreath with three lit candlesAt the end of another hectic week (and I still haven’t started my Christmas cards), here’s another one of my Advent readings. I find the shepherds to be especially poignant. I imagine them wistful, wondering what it would be like to be part of a larger community, to be “in the know”. They’re always out-of-town, out of touch, out of the loop. No one tells them anything.

Which makes it so delightfully kind of the Lord to tell them the Good News first–and let them tell everyone else.  (***If you’d like to read more about the historic shepherds and why they were such unlikely recipients of the greatest newsflash ever, check out this article at Livebold.com.)

I wrote Advent Longings because I wanted to hear the Biblical voices still waiting, those patient faithful souls waiting without any clear idea of hope being fulfilled. As we wait here in the between-time, looking for our Lord’s second coming, may their voices fill us with new hope.

Happy third Sunday of Advent!

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The Things We Leave Behind

Carl's ballastFunny how a computer-animated kids’ movie can make you think, make you weep…

…the image of a grumpy, squarish old man pushing all his worldly possessions out his front door so that he is light enough (literally) to go on the adventure he is meant to have.

If you haven’t seen Pixar’s UP, that image won’t ring a bell, but I hope it still rings true:  a person with a lifetime of stuff suddenly realizes that it is weighing him down.  He jettisons ALL of it, so that he can pursue–again literally–an important relationship, and maybe even save a life or two.

UP posterI’d seen this film two or three times already, but got to watch bits of it daily last week as I introduced it to my granddaughter.  Like most movies she sees for the first time, she then asks for it every day for a while, and I get to know it very, very well. (This makes it important to only present her with quality movies–and Pixar films generally stand up to many repeated watchings.)

I didn’t expect to be suddenly choked up during that scene on the fifth or sixth viewing, and to have to hunt for a Kleenex. But it suddenly struck me as such a graphic image, such a powerful metaphor. How easily we get tied to our possessions, the detritus of a lifetime.

How much of what I hold onto, I wondered, thinking of it as blessing… is actually a burden?

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Invitations Aren’t Only for Easter

It’s one week later. If Easter was a mountaintop, this feels like a dark valley. Yet the invitation to come is still there. It wasn’t a one-time offer. And even if we’ve already held out hungry hands for the bread of life, we can still find ourselves weak again, and needing to heed that call once more.
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Palm Sunday Pondering

My granddaughter Lucy is 26 months old. On Saturday night when I tell her that tomorrow is “church day” she cheers, and not only because that means she’ll get to eat cookies that Auntie Sharon gives her in the Coffee Connection after the service. No, Lucy also loves the few minutes each week when Miss Susi comes into the nursery and sings “Jesus songs” with the toddlers.

Thanks to Miss Susi, Lucy knows that there is a story about Jesus riding on a donkey, and people singing “Hosanna! Hosanna to the King!” She doesn’t know what that means yet, but she knows it happened.

She hasn’t heard thirty sermons (or fifty) on the fact that the crowd who cried “Hosanna!” on Sunday were the same who cried, “Crucify him!” on Friday. She’s just at the beginning of absorbing all this.

I think I envy her. Continue reading