Worth Revisiting: Music that Moves Us- “Take Me”

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(This post is part of a series to be found at ReconciledtoYou.com hosted by Allison Gingras featuring the music of Ben Walther. For other bloggers and songs check out #MusicthatMoves)

“Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will, All I have and call my own. You have given all to me. To you, Lord, I return it. Everything is yours; do with it what you will. Give me only your love and your grace, that is enough for me.”       – Sucipe, St. Ignatius of Loyola

The first time I heard this beautiful song by Ben Walther, I instantly recognized its Ignatian underpinnings. The Sucipe prayer by St. Ignatius is one that, as with Ben, speaks profoundly to a need in my own life- a need for surrender. A need to relinquish any misconceptions or desires to control situations, or cling to any gifts that I have received in my life.

“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.”Romans 12:1

Understanding that all that I have or am comes from God does not imply a lifetime warranty or use thereof. Rather, it is accepting each gift or grace for the limited time that it may be given to me and expressing my heartfelt gratitude in these moments.Be prepared for surprises too, for God is the ultimate giver and will not be undone in love or mercy. Perhaps you have yet to discover a particular talent within, or a way to use that talent. Not to worry, when needed God will seek to bring forth the best use of that gift. All he asks of us is to “Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning” Luke 12:35

God is calling us to be transformed- ready to be moved, to follow his lead and this entails letting go. Trusting that even in the most uncertain times, that the One with the map will guide and accompany us each step along the way. And sometimes we may become so certain of our place in life, of our abilities or lack of,  that we cannot see the greater opportunities he has in store. We resist taking on this new perspective, and in doing so become fearful of losing what was never ours to lay claim to in the first place.Detachment then from all that impedes our following God’s will is so essential in our discipleship.

“Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” Matthew 16:24-25

A once in a lifetime decision to follow Christ? Not hardly.  It is a daily turning of heart and surrendering of self (body and soul) to Christ that is being asked of us. In our doubt and trials as well as in our faith and joys our Risen Lord asks for our trust, our will, our understanding -our all.

For, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” Galatians 2:20

What is promised through surrender?

There is much peace in actively and fully surrendering. In knowing, that He is God and we are not. In allowing God to be the primary mover in all that we do. In this invitation of surrender, and petition for direction we continually experience his unfailing love.

Father, when my own steps are unsure or I seek to better secure the path ahead please lead me on. For those times I rest in the grace that surrounds me when you are asking me to move, help me to find my security in you. All I am and do are because of You- and this life I live is Yours. Take All of Me.

Reflection:What if we each held onto the life we are living presently? Would we be able for God to move us where he wanted us to be..would the safety we feel be worth the treasure that awaits?

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Music That Moves: The King of Love My Shepherd Is

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 My post today is part of a series by Allison Gingras featuring a number of amazing Catholic women bloggers on the music by Sarah Kroger.  For this and more in this series, continue to check back at Reconciled to You each week during Advent. 

The Love of a Father

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What is it about the image of a lowly shepherd that instills in us a reminder of the love of our Father, the king of all love? Throughout scripture, from Genesis to Romans, this is the picturesque scene that tells of the wandering in our lives, and the constant guiding hand and voice that leads us.

The One who is the gatekeeper, and who does not passively watch over but continually seeks after each one of us.  John 10:2-4

In a beautiful contemporary rendition of this traditional hymn Sarah Kroger offers a very moving refrain from the sheep’s perspective. For, if  you “knew that Jesus is your shepherd..How could your heart ever turn away?” And still we do, but when we do we are not met with anger or unforgiveness but instead with love and mercy.

“Confused and foolish I have strayed but yet in love he sought me”.  Luke 15:3-7

Poignantly, I understand this scripture passage all too well in the challenging life decisions of my oldest son. Troubled and looking for an easy way, his choices have led him to a life and a path that we most certainly would not have chosen for him. Unable to truly feel God’s love and seeking consolation in a myriad of unsteady friends, alcohol and drugs he wanders. Unable to hear the Shepherd’s voice for the loud din of the world, he finds himself walking in circles with no discernible signposts.

All the while God is calling and seeking to draw him close.

I nothing lack if I am His..

“The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want… Psalm 23:1 Wants and needs, I think of this often in my own daily choices. Are my wants, His wants and my needs one and the same? A shepherd provides for the basic needs of his flock, guards for their protection, and tends to what is best for each of them. If my wants are in line with Christ, then I will lack nothing that I need.

His Goodness faileth never..

Allowing God to lead does not mean that we will not know sorrow or difficulties. Rather, in our distress, we are given hope and comforted by His immeasurable love. Momentary emptiness, replaced and surmounted by a once inconceivable peace. At the apex of seeming despair over seeking to help my oldest son, I found peace. Through tears,and surrender I found hope.

“You are my song and strength”

Why do we sing His praise? Because we recognize “that the LORD Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves”. Psalm 100:3 Humbly, and awestruck we stand in the His presence and in gratitude for His love we sing of all that he has done for us. Oh, how he longs to be our shepherd and for us to be His people. If “today, (we) would (but) hear His voice”. Psalm 95:7

“Home rejoicing brought me” …”You are mine forever”

Our earthly existence here is a temporary place, but the home with God that awaits is a forever home. All of our time spent grazing,wandering away from, and running to the shelter of His love will come to a rest one day. It is a time that I seek, pray and strive towards, and like a child joyfully anticipate.  In Christ,  “I am convinced that neither death nor life… nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39.

This is the promise and care of the King of Love That My Shepherd Is! 

Reflect: How is God both King and Shepherd in my life today?

Peace,
Signature

Music that Moves Us: Take Me by Ben Walther

 :

(This post is part of a series to be found at ReconciledtoYou.com hosted by Allison Gingras featuring the music of Ben Walther. For other bloggers and songs check out #MusicthatMoves)

“Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will, All I have and call my own. You have given all to me. To you, Lord, I return it. Everything is yours; do with it what you will. Give me only your love and your grace, that is enough for me.”       – Sucipe, St. Ignatius of Loyola

The first time I heard this beautiful song by Ben Walther, I instantly recognized its Ignatian underpinnings. The Sucipe prayer by St. Ignatius is one that, as with Ben, speaks profoundly to a need in my own life- a need for surrender. A need to relinquish any misconceptions or desires to control situations, or cling to any gifts that I have received in my life.

“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.”Romans 12:1

Understanding that all that I have or am comes from God does not imply a lifetime warranty or use thereof. Rather, it is accepting each gift or grace for the limited time that it may be given to me and expressing my heartfelt gratitude in these moments.Be prepared for surprises too, for God is the ultimate giver and will not be undone in love or mercy. Perhaps you have yet to discover a particular talent within, or a way to use that talent. Not to worry, when needed God will seek to bring forth the best use of that gift. All he asks of us is to “Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning” Luke 12:35

God is calling us to be transformed- ready to be moved, to follow his lead and this entails letting go. Trusting that even in the most uncertain times, that the One with the map will guide and accompany us each step along the way. And sometimes we may become so certain of our place in life, of our abilities or lack of,  that we cannot see the greater opportunities he has in store. We resist taking on this new perspective, and in doing so become fearful of losing what was never ours to lay claim to in the first place.Detachment then from all that impedes our following God’s will is so essential in our discipleship.

“Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” Matthew 16:24-25

A once in a lifetime decision to follow Christ? Not hardly.  It is a daily turning of heart and surrendering of self (body and soul) to Christ that is being asked of us. In our doubt and trials as well as in our faith and joys our Risen Lord asks for our trust, our will, our understanding -our all.

For, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” Galatians 2:20

What is promised through surrender?

There is much peace in actively and fully surrendering. In knowing, that He is God and we are not. In allowing God to be the primary mover in all that we do. In this invitation of surrender, and petition for direction we continually experience his unfailing love.

Father, when my own steps are unsure or I seek to better secure the path ahead please lead me on. For those times I rest in the grace that surrounds me when you are asking me to move, help me to find my security in you. All I am and do are because of You- and this life I live is Yours. Take All of Me.

Reflection:What if we each held onto the life we are living presently? Would we be able for God to move us where he wanted us to be..would the safety we feel be worth the treasure that awaits?

Worth Revisiting: Contemporary Christian Music

For many years, I have followed the Contemporary Christian music scene.  Going beyond the artists themselves the message of the music gives true praise to the one true Artist, our heavenly Father- while speaking quite profoundly to God at work within each one of us. Not a faith removed from the world, it is a faith that finds us in our brokenness, enables us to meet the struggles,and celebrates the victory won in Christ. Thursday’s concert with Tenth Avenue North, Sidewalk Prophets and Dan Bremnes at Plymouth Memorial Hall would not disappoint!

Image result for holy ground tour 2015

 

Arriving early with press pass in hand, so to speak, I made my way onto the floor and delightfully bumped into Dan Bremnes! Completely humble and unassuming, Dan who was opening that night, called out “Hey there, how are you?” I have to admit I was just a bit caught off guard at first as to why he was not backstage, but oh so thankful for this opportunity to speak with him. So easy was the conversation, that we fell into an faith-filled back and forth exchange of inspiration for songs, our own faith journeys and the importance of events like the Holy Ground Tour.

(Paraphrasing here)

ER: Where do you find inspiration when writing songs- through events in your own life or through those you encounter?

DB: “Really, it is a well that I draw from.. Important to be filled and then the writing overflows”

ER: What is important for you to keep in mind in your relationship with our Heavenly Father when touring?

DM: ‘To be grounded in the word of God. Spending time with scripture, and in prayer allows for that needed time to connect.’

ER: I’ve found that sometimes I run across a particular passage, and wonder why that scripture was intended to be read that day and then God reveals it it’s importance..

DB: ‘So true, for we know that “there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known..” ‘ (Luke 8:17)

Later at the VIP “Meet and Greet” with Tenth Avenue North, I posed a similar question to lead singer Mike Donehey..

ER: We are all so busy in our lives today.. how do you connect with God in midst of the busyness of touring?

MD: “Oh that’s easy! See there is silence and solitude when touring..it’s when I come home to my three kids that it is more difficult!”      (Truth!)

The concert itself was from beginning to end a whole sharing of self to all those who had gathered. With humor, sincerity and witness there was purpose in conveying a passion for the faith and a beautiful responsibility to live that faith out loud in the world around us today.

Peace,

Signature

Touching Hearts and Lives: Contemporary Christian Music

For many years, I have followed the Contemporary Christian music scene.  Going beyond the artists themselves the message of the music gives true praise to the one true Artist, our heavenly Father- while speaking quite profoundly to God at work within each one of us. Not a faith removed from the world, it is a faith that finds us in our brokenness, enables us to meet the struggles,and celebrates the victory won in Christ. Thursday’s concert with Tenth Avenue North, Sidewalk Prophets and Dan Bremnes at Plymouth Memorial Hall would not disappoint!

Image result for holy ground tour 2015

Arriving early with press pass in hand, so to speak, I made my way onto the floor and delightfully bumped into Dan Bremnes! Completely humble and unassuming, Dan who was opening that night, called out “Hey there, how are you?” I have to admit I was just a bit caught off guard at first as to why he was not backstage, but oh so thankful for this opportunity to speak with him. So easy was the conversation, that we fell into an faith-filled back and forth exchange of inspiration for songs, our own faith journeys and the importance of events like the Holy Ground Tour.

(Paraphrasing here)

ER: Where do you find inspiration when writing songs- through events in your own life or through those you encounter?

DB: “Really, it is a well that I draw from.. Important to be filled and then the writing overflows”

ER: What is important for you to keep in mind in your relationship with our Heavenly Father when touring?

DM: ‘To be grounded in the word of God. Spending time with scripture, and in prayer allows for that needed time to connect.’

ER: I’ve found that sometimes I run across a particular passage, and wonder why that scripture was intended to be read that day and then God reveals it it’s importance..

DB: ‘So true, for we know that “there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known..” ‘ (Luke 8:17)

Later at the VIP “Meet and Greet” with Tenth Avenue North, I posed a similar question to lead singer Mike Donehey..

ER: We are all so busy in our lives today.. how do you connect with God in midst of the busyness of touring?

MD: “Oh that’s easy! See there is silence and solitude when touring..it’s when I come home to my three kids that it is more difficult!”      (Truth!)

The concert itself was from beginning to end a whole sharing of self to all those who had gathered. With humor, sincerity and witness there was purpose in conveying a passion for the faith and a beautiful responsibility to live that faith out loud in the world around us today.


Signature

Worth Revisiting: Music that Moves the Soul

It’s Worth Revisiting Wednesday! A place where you can come and bring a past & treasured post to share, and link-up with fellow bloggers! Co-Hosted with Allison Gingras at Reconciled To You.

Music is such an indelible part of my everyday, encompassing many of my earliest memories and connections with God. From children’s to adult choir, concert and jazz band, acapella in college..I have been singing, making or playing music for as long as I can remember. This Thursday, 10th Avenue North and Sidewalk Prophets are coming to town and this girl has a press pass! Stay tuned for my outtakes and maybe even a bit of Q and A with the bands!


Music that Moves the Soul!

Music (2)An essential part of a fulfilling community worship experience, its importance cannot be understated. Whether raised in praise, thanksgiving or lamentation, the ability of song to stir our soul and buoy our spirit is ageless and eternal.

In spiritual life formation and liturgy, music can be a tool not simply to engage the listener but to move an entire community to participation through “beauty expressive of prayer”, while preserving the “solemn character of the celebration”. [3] This tension is important to consider because not all songs are appropriate to the occasion or the solemnity of the moment no matter how beautiful or inspiring.

One age group or ministry that is making significant strides with in Youth Ministrydoing this well is the area of youth ministry. Incorporating visuals with songs, and quite often using live music, youth ministry is recognizing the importance of music as a means for evangelization and enrichment. Given the array of contemporary Christian artists, quite a few of them even specifically Catholic; there is no shortage of music styles, or diversity of gifts. While it might surprise you, in Christian music today there is not only room for outstanding gospel and praise artists, but blues, pop, metal, and rap as well.

So much more than just the confession of our sins… reconciliation is the reparation and renewal of the relationship between the believer, God, and the community of the faithful.

Having said this, I would love your help with my latest project! Within the format of the retreat setting, and sacramental preparation, I am interested in amassing an ongoing list of artists and songs to deeper engage the whole believer to participation. Then, with these songs, parishes could use them in coordination with guided sacramental programs and retreats, even garnering the assistance of local musicians if possible.

The following are an initial top 15 for Reconciliation, in no particular order, with some more obviously applying to different age groups. Please comment, or inbox me through FB or Twitter if you have suggestions for this list.

  1. Lord, I need You-Matt Maher

  2. Breaking You- Audrey Assad
  3. Forgiveness-Matthew West
  4. Come to Me-Jamie Grace

  5. Redeemed-Big Daddy Weave
  6. Turn Around-Matt Maher
  7. Infinite Grace-Sarah Hart
  8. Be Forgiven- Jackie François-Angel
  9. Empty and Beautiful-Matt Maher 

  10. In the Silence-Sarah Kroger
  11. Suitcases-Dara McClean
  12. Find You on My Knees-Kari Jobe
  13. Your love is like a River-Third Day
  14. Like a Bridge over Troubled Water-Audrey Assad 

  15. I Need You Now-Plumb

Peace,Signature


[1] Rudolph Steiner

[2] Plato

[3] Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1157

[4] http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/sacraments/penance/sacrament-of-penance-question-and-answer.cfm