A Blessed Advent to All

November 27, 2016

It’s been seemingly forever since I (Karen) have been anywhere near Lent & Beyond… Bad internet connections and a very very busy season of work and ministry have pushed blogging far off my radar screen.

But I find the beginning of Advent has me itching to blog!  I’m honestly not likely to contribute much, but I may try to post once or twice a week…

For this morning, I want to post three songs that have come up in my Advent playlist this morning…  the first is a CCM classic, the second is a beautiful French worship song that I was introduced to at a retreat earlier this year, and the third is a lovely contemporary adaptation of the traditional O Come Divine Messiah.  I’ll post the songs first, and then post purchase information for all three at the end.

Michael Card’s The Promise – it captures well the hope and expectation of Advent as we review the prophecies and promises made about Messiah’s coming.  How wonderful that we who live in an A.D. word can look back and see that all the promises were true!

The second song is the beautiful, stirring  Eveille-toi, mon âme  (Awake my Soul) by the Canadian worship group Collectif Cieux Ouverts.  The words make a very apt Advent prayer (there is an English translation that appears on the video).

Finally, last year, Redeemer Downtown (the downtown congregation of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in NYC), put out an Advent / Christmas worship album which contains a wonderful adaptation of the classical O Come Divine Messiah.  It’s called In Silence and it’s quickly become one of my Advent favorites:

Here are the lyrics:

o come, divine messiah,
the world in silence waits the day
when hope shall sing its triumph,
and sadness flee away.

o come desired of nations,
whom priest and prophet long foretold,
will break the captive fetters,
redeem the long-lost fold.

o come in peace and meekness,
for lowly will your cradle be:
though clothed in human weakness
we shall your god-head see.

***

Here are links to purchase each song:

  1. Michael Card’s The Promise, from his 1987 album The Final Word. (iTunes US store)
  2. Eveille-toi Mon Ame – the title track on the 2014 album by Collectif Cieux Ouverts (iTunes US store)
  3. Redeemer Downtown’s In Silence, from their 2015 album Permanent City (via Bandcamp)

Note: to find other Advent music I’ve posted over the years, use our Advent Music tag.


Advent Music: Fantastic Rendition of Veni Veni Emmanuel (The Gesualdo Six)

December 5, 2015

Thanks to @StBarnabasMusic  who tweeted this wonderful version of Veni Veni Emmanuel earlier this week.  It is by the British group The Gesualdo Six.

Just Stunning.  As you’re listening, thank the Father that Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us, and invite Jesus to come near, filling your heart with more of His Spirit, more of His light and life.

If you are a lover of sacred choral music, I HIGHLY recommend following @StBarnabasMusic on Twitter.  I’ve discovered some beautiful selections through their tweets, especially during the major liturgical seasons of Advent, Christmas, Lent & Easter.


Excellent FREE Advent Music from Redeemer Presbyterian in NYC

December 2, 2015

I’ve fallen in love with a new Advent song from the Worship team at the downtown parish of Redeemer Presbyterian in New York City.

They’ve got an album availble called Permanent City

Permanent City cover art

 

I’ve fallen in love with the song In Silence.

You can learn about the album and listen to samples here

You can download it for FREE at Bandcamp:

 


Advent Poems: Christina Rossetti’s “Advent Sunday” (Behold the Bridegroom Cometh) – read by Malcolm Guite

November 29, 2015

One of the Advent Series I am most excited about is Anglican priest and poet Malcolm Guite’s series for Advent 2015.  He’ll be reading an Advent poem from his Advent poetry anthology “Waiting on the Word” each day.

Today, for Advent Sunday, his reading is Christina Rossetti’s poem “Advent Sunday” (Behold the Bridegroom Cometh)

Here’s the text of the poem, which I found here.

Advent Sunday

Source: The Poetical Works of Christina Georgina Rossetti, with a Memoir and Notes by William Michael Rossetti (1904), page 156

BEHOLD, the Bridegroom cometh: go ye out
With lighted lamps and garlands round about
To meet Him in a rapture with a shout.

It may be at the midnight, black as pitch,
Earth shall cast up her poor, cast up her rich.

It may be at the crowing of the cock
Earth shall upheave her depth, uproot her rock.

For lo, the Bridegroom fetcheth home the Bride:
His Hands are Hands she knows, she knows His Side.

Like pure Rebekah at the appointed place,
Veiled, she unveils her face to meet His Face.

Like great Queen Esther in her triumphing,
She triumphs in the Presence of her King.

His Eyes are as a Dove’s, and she’s Dove-eyed;
He knows His lovely mirror, sister, Bride.

He speaks with Dove-voice of exceeding love,
And she with love-voice of an answering Dove.

Behold, the Bridegroom cometh: go we out
With lamps ablaze and garlands round about
To meet Him in a rapture with a shout.

Before 1886.

Each day’s poetry reading is accompanied by a beautiful illustration by Lancia SmithHere’s her image to accompany today’s poem:

2 Behold the Bridegroom cometh 1 - wm

art credit:  Lancia E Smith: Behold the Bridegroom Cometh


Advent – Make Time to Prepare a Place

November 29, 2015

This morning, a perfect song for Advent came up in my worship playlist:  Prepare a Place, written by Christine Dente and Michael W. Smith.  It’s from a 2004 Christmas compilation by various artists called Gloria.

The lyrics are an exhortation for us to intentionally enter into this season of waiting and prepare our hearts anew for Christ’s coming:

Prepare A Place

Prepare a place, while you’re waiting.
Prepare a place for the coming One.
Prepare a place and be patient.
While you wait for the coming One.

Chorus:
Wait for the coming One!
While you wait for the coming One!

Prepare your heart, while you’re waiting.
Prepare your heart for the coming One.
Set time aside and be quiet.
While you wait for the coming One.

– written by Michael W. Smith and Christine Dente, from the 2004 album “Gloria”


Christian Stephens – Their self-titled debut LP from 1980

June 23, 2015

This is a bit of an unusual posting for us, but it’s in response to several reader comments and emails.

christian-stephens-frontEach week we continue to get visits via search engines from those looking for the music of one of the early CCM groups, Christian Stephens.  In 2014 during Holy week, we posted several of the best songs from their eponymous debut album Christian Stephens from 1980, which I’d digitized from my vinyl LP.

Classic CCM songs for Holy Week from Christian Stephens: Look What You’ve Done, and Broken and Bleeding

Classic CCM for Good Friday: Christian Stephens – Song of the Cross

Classic CCM for Holy Saturday into Easter: Christian Stephens’ The Descent, and Arise

Those posts have brought readers here looking for more songs from the album, or more information about how to obtain the album.  The album is no longer in print and not available online anywhere as best as I can discover.

Since several readers have expressed interest in other songs from the album, I’m uploading all my songs from my LP.  Apologies that the quality is not always as good as I would wish.  There are several scratches / skips.

I pray this will be a blessing to those who have been wanting to hear this album again.  Hard for me to believe it’s 35 years old already!

***

Note: the songs posted are digitized versions of my original vinyl album.  There are some scratches, etc.  I believe the album is out of print, but if anyone knows of a CD or digital version available for purchase, I would love to know so I can link it here and ensure royalties go to the artist. 


Brand new song from Selah: The People of the Cross; and Honoring the Martyrs (part 2)

April 28, 2015

People Of The Cross

[Scroll down for new song from Selah – it’s SO good, Wow!  But the intro is inspiring, important and relevant…]

Last week I posted an entry about the Ethiopian, Kenyan and Egyptian martyrs: Lifting High the Cross: How the Martyrs Exalted Christ by Their Deaths (part 1) I have an additional entry I planned to post as a followup, but a very busy workload in recent days kept me from completing that draft.  Today I found myself with some unexpected free time between meetings and I was browsing Twitter catching up on various prayer needs and current events around the world…  Two posts on Twitter related to the martyrs killed by ISIS grabbed my attention, and I felt it very important to post them here.  So what was going to be a two-part series, will now be a three-part series.  I’ll hope to post the third entry on Thurs. or Friday.

The first tweet related to the martyrs today was posted by the famous Catholic monk and musician John Michael Talbot:

The full text of what he wrote was:

Coptic Christians in praise of Jesus in 2011 before the uprising of recent persecutions by fanatical Islam. This is the strength that gets them through the persecution today. Do we have the same?

I watched the linked video from the great Middle Eastern Christian channel SAT-7 (over 2 million views for this video!)

Here are excerpts from the lyrics in English – they utterly astound me in light of ISIS actions killing our brothers from Egypt & Ethiopia on the grounds that they were PEOPLE OF THE CROSS.  It is almost as if this song was written to prepare the church in Egypt for the time of testing to come.  INCREDIBLE.

Increase your praises to Christ, lift up the Lord with your tunes
Call out the heroes, His heroes, who walk with the cross before you
Increase your praises to Christ, lift up the Lord with your tunes
Call out the heroes, His heroes, who walk with the cross before you
Say that He has risen and death has no authority
And there is no forgiveness except through His blood
Say that He has risen and death has no authority
And there is no forgiveness except through His blood
And the light of the Gospel is increasing
[…]
Say that He has conquered darkness and its authority
He has lit up our days and given them color
And the light of day is increasing
[…]
Call out the heroes, His heroes, who walk with the cross before you
Say that He is He is defeating his foes
We’re winning with His testimony and blood
And our heritage is increasing
[…]
Call out the heroes, His heroes, who walk with the cross before you
Live the joy of heaven, joy, joy
Satan will wear the clothes of one in mourning
[…]
Increase your praises to Christ, lift up the Lord with your tunes
Call out the heroes, His heroes, who walk with the cross before you

No sooner had I finished watching that, then I glanced back at my Twitter feed, and the VERY FIRST tweet I saw was this from We Are Worship USA:

So, I went straight to YouTube to watch this video. This song People of the Cross was just released today – it’s on iTunes and other music download sites.

So powerful.  May this be true.

We are the People of the Cross.  We choose Christ and count all else as loss.  We won’t be shaken.  Hope won’t be taken. We are the People of the Cross.

May this be a rallying cry to the Evangelical Church in the West to truly live as People of the Cross, following in the footsteps of the martyrs from Egypt, Kenya and Ethiopia who have counted the cost and shown that Christ is worth dying for.

Go buy this song and keep listening and keep praying for the church around the world that we may not shrink back in the face of suffering and persecution….


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