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

April 19, 2014

This is the third of three posts with music from Christian Stephens’ self-titled album (1980, Creation records).

On Wednesday I posted 2 songs:  Look What You’ve Done, and Broken and Bleeding.  On Friday, I posted Song of the Cross which is the first part of a trilogy of songs for the Triduum.

Below follow the two additional songs:  The Descent and Arise.   You should listen to and read the lyrics from Song of the Cross before listening to the songs below.  As explained in yesterday’s entry, the songs imagine a dialogue between Jesus and the Father.

Here’s the audio file (the two songs are combined into one track).  The lyrics follow.

(The audio sometimes is slow to load, but it should play. Should there be a problem, use this link.)

 ***

The Descent
[S] = the Son, [F] = the Father

[S] O my Father, can You hear me call?
I need Your light, there’s darkness over all.
I ache to hear Your voice but remain here all alone
Father, when will I begin my journey home?

[F] O my Son, I know You cannot hear.
But I am coming, behold I am very near.
Hold to my words until You hear the trumpet call,
Then You my Son will rise the victor of all!

[S] I ache to hear Your voice, but remain here all alone
Father when will I begin my journey home?

***

Arise

[F] “Arise! And come to me my Son.
Arise! And come to me my Son!”

[S] Father, I feel Your touch of life from above
Lifting me by the power of Your love.
Hallelujah, I am alive again!
Hallelujah, I am alive again!
[Death] tried to hold me back,
tried to hold me down,
While the power of life lifts me off the ground.
Hallelujah, I am alive again!
Hallelujah, I am alive again!
Hallelujah, I am alive again!
Hallelujah, I am alive again!
And I have overcome!
Yes, I have overcome!
Yes, I have overcome!

***

HALLELUJAH, HALLELUJAH, HALLELUJAH!!!

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.


Lent and Beyond: Good Friday 2014 Index

April 18, 2014

I (Karen) have had the joy and privilege of being able to take a Holy Week retreat the past 2 days, which enabled me to find a a lot of wonderful devotional material online to share here.  I never expected to post so many entries today, but I have been so thankful to spend the day in worship, prayer and reflection through the various devotionals, hymns, poems, etc. that I’ve posted.  Here’s an index of all our Good Friday posts today, starting with the earliest entries first.

  • GOOD FRIDAY 2014 (the header post which appeared at the top of the blog throughout the day with several key links)

 

 ***

After the posting of “DEAD!” at 20:00 GMT this evening, I won’t post anything further until 16:00 GMT tomorrow (noon Eastern) [Jill or Torre may perhaps post some entries, however].  I’ve scheduled five posts for Holy Saturday tomorrow afternoon and evening.  I’ve so enjoyed devotional blogging this Lent and Holy Week.  I hope to be able to continue posting with some frequency throughout the 50 Days of Easter.  Stay tuned….

I and all of us here at Lent & Beyond wish a blessed Good Friday, Holy Saturday and a GLORIOUS Easter to all our readers and friends.  – Karen B.  L&B founder


Good Friday related entries from the King’s English blog

April 18, 2014

As I did yesterday for Maundy Thursday, I thought many of our readers would appreciate have the links to various of the entries at the King’s English blog from past years that are tied to Scriptures related to Good Friday.

My kingdom is not of this world – John 18:36

Crucify him, crucify him – Luke 23:21

Pilate washed his hands – Matthew 27:24

Crown of thorns – Matthew 27:29

Hail King of the Jews – Matthew 27:29

Father, forgive them they know not what they do – Luke 23:34

Gave up the ghost – John 19:30

It is finished – John 19:30


Patrick Comerford’s Sermons on the Seven Last Words of Christ on the Cross

April 18, 2014

In 2011, the Rev. Patrick Comerford posted a series of seven sermons at his blog on the seven last words of Christ.  They are meaty and worth savoring if you can take the time:

Seven Last Words (1): ‘Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing’

Seven Last Words (2): ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise’

Seven Last Words (3): ‘Woman, here is your son … Here is your mother’

Seven Last Words (4): ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’

Seven Last Words (5): ‘I am thirsty’

Seven Last Words (6): ‘It is finished’

Seven Last Words (7): ‘Father, into your hands I commend my spirit’


A Hymn for Good Friday #2: O Love Divine, What Hast Thou Done

April 18, 2014

A wonderful hymn by Charles Wesley that is new to me…  I’m so thankful these are not mere words, but TRUTH.

O Love divine, what hast thou done!
The immortal God hath died for me!
The Father’s co-eternal Son
Bore all my sins upon the tree.
Th’immortal God for me hath died:
My Lord, my love, is crucified!

Is crucified for me and you,
To bring us rebels back to God.
Believe, believe the record true,
Ye all are bought with Jesus’ blood.
Pardon for all flows from His side:
My Lord, my love, is crucified!

Behold and love, ye that pass by,
The bleeding Prince of life and peace!
Come, sinners, see your Savior die,
And say, Was ever grief like His?
Come, feel with me His blood applied:
My Lord, my love, is crucified!

Then let us sit beneath His cross,
And gladly catch the healing stream:
All things for Him account but loss,
And give up all our hearts to Him:
Of nothing think or speak beside,
My Lord, my love, is crucified!


Good Friday Quotes: Charles Spurgeon – I Slew Him

April 18, 2014

“I slew him—this right hand struck the dagger to his heart. My deeds slew Christ. Alas! I slew my best beloved; I killed him who loved me with an everlasting love. Oh eyes, why do you refuse to weep when you see Jesus’ body mangled and torn? Give vent to your sorrow, Christians, for you have good reason to do so.”

adapted from “The Tomb of Jesus” by Charles Spurgeon

H/T:  Bible Gateway


Classic CCM Songs for Holy Week: Many Years Ago (Mickey & Becki Moore)

April 17, 2014

Note: this song is ALSO appropriate for an Easter playlist since it includes mention of the resurrection.

https://i2.wp.com/c3.cduniverse.ws/resized/250x500/music/668/7821668.jpg

Yesterday I wrote about my love of certain classic CCM songs and albums from the 1970s and early 80s, and how good it is to increasingly find much of it available online.  A very surprising album to find online a few months ago was Mickey and Becki Moore’s Everything is Under Control (Wo Wo), from 1976.   I heard them in concert in my hometown in NJ twice while I was in high school.  As they produced most of their albums independently, it was a wonderful surprise to find most on iTunes.

One of their songs, Many Years Ago is among my favorite songs for Holy Week.  Another song of theirs I recommend for Holy Week is Was it for Nothing

***

Here is Many Years Ago:

(There should be an embedded audio file and play arrow above, but WordPress has not always been displaying embedded music correctly lately.  If it does not show up, click this link, but please respect the copyright and purchase the song if you intend to keep it.)

Many years ago, so the story goes there lived a simple man.
He was a carpenter by trade,
though the best things that He made were never found in wood.
They would find Him at His work in the morning in the dark before the sun arose, before the sun arose.

So many years ago, so the story goes, there lived a good man.
They say His words were made of gold and His arms were made to hold the sorrows of the world.
That there was something in His eyes that was like unto the skies before the sun arose, before the sun arose.

So many years ago, so the story goes, there lived a great man.
They say He walked upon the sea and He taught man to be free, to love their fellow man.
And He spoke unto their lives and He opened up their eyes before the sun arose, before the sun arose.

But they didn’t like the carpenter, and they said He was no good.
So they took Him out one cold Friday, and they nailed Him to His wood.
And they said “come down ye carpenter,” and they laughed and mocked His name.
But He only shook His head at them, for He loved them just the same.
Then the sun went behind the cloud, and lightning filled the air, and a voice cried within the crowd “was a god really there?”

Many years ago, so the story goes there lived a simple man.
He was a carpenter by trade, though the best things that He made were never found in wood.
They would find him at his work in the morning in the dark before the sun arose.
And the Son arose, and the Son arose.

– Mickey and Becki Moore, 1976. From the album Everything is Under Control.

(You can get all of Mickey & Becki’s albums from their website.  Also, 4 of their albums are available at iTunes.)


Holy Week Quotes: Fr. Tim Fountain on the tradition of veiling crosses during Holy Week

April 17, 2014

At Stand Firm, there is wonderful commentary from the Rev. Tim Fountain about the symbolism and significance of the common Anglican practice of veiling the cross during Holy Week:

There’s a certain contradiction or at least irony in the tradition.  We are proclaiming the cross, after all, and with intensity in Lent and Holy Week as we look at the burden of our sins and the Lord’s gift of his body and blood for the forgiveness of same.  […]  So why veil what we’re so busy exalting?

My working answer is that veiling the cross does exalt it, via a negative path.  Hiding it reveals a tremendous absence, “What if the cross of Christ never existed?  What if that reference point didn’t exist for our understanding of life?  What if that sign never intruded into history and culture?”

I worked questions like those into a Lenten sermon decades ago.  I still remember a woman who came up after and said, “I felt all the air go out of the church when I thought about those questions you asked.  They were terrifying.”

So there’s power in veiling crosses for Lent.  It intensifies big questions, “What if we are left in our sins and our own self-justifying efforts to ‘balance them out?’  What if there’s no decisive God-given remedy for the human dilemma?”

And in aggravating that tension, the veiled cross sets up the strong medicine of Good Friday and the glorious recovery announced at Easter…

Go read the full entry.


A Prayer for Wednesday in Holy Week

April 16, 2014

Kendall Harmon has this prayer posted at TitusOneNine tonight:

O God our heavenly Father, who to redeem the world didst deliver up thine only Son to be betrayed by one of his disciples and sold to his enemies: Take from us, we beseech thee, all covetousness and hypocrisy; and so strengthen us, that, loving thee above all things, we may remain steadfast in our faith unto the end; through him who gave his life for us, our Saviour Jesus Christ.

–the Rev. Lawrence Tuttiet (1825–1897)

 

Don’t miss all of Kendall’s posts in his Holy Week category.  He usually has some wonderful entries.

 


“Something for the Feast” a poem by Teresa Roberts Johnson on the betrayal by Judas

April 16, 2014

Something for the Feast

With them you walked and closely held the purse,
The cunning one so trusted, yet so cursed.
Grave countenance to cover evil plans,
Imagining the coins in your hands,
You ate the bread, then lifted up your heel
To crush the One who offered you the meal.
Yes, quickly go into the dark of night
To make your deal; betray the One True Light.
For if you change your mind, the world is lost.
No other sacrifice can pay the cost.
Go, sell the perfect Lamb to the chief priest,
Obtaining what is needed for the Feast.
As your companions thought, your deeds secured
Provision for the poor, who had endured
The terrors of the one whose path you chose.
His plans the God of Heaven to oppose
Came to fruition on the bloody cross,
While deeper plans unraveled all his power.
He won and lost it all in that same hour.
There in the presence of our greatest foe
The feast was set and blessings overflow.

by Teresa Roberts Johnson, Copyright 2013

Go to Angliverse to read more of Teresa’s Holy Week poetry, and to read her notes on this poem.

***

As we continue to think of Judas’ betrayal of Jesus today, you may also enjoy these devotionals:

And here are two other poems about Judas and his betrayal:


Today’s Devotional for “Spy Wednesday” from Desiring God

April 16, 2014

The Holy Week Devotional series at Desiring God’s blog continues…  (these are excerpts from the new book by Justin Taylor and Andreas Kostenberger, The Final Days of Jesus,)

***

Wednesday went quietly. Too quietly.

With the previous three days awash in drama — Sunday’s triumphal entry, Monday’s temple cleansing, and Tuesday’s temple controversies — now Wednesday, April 1, A.D. 33, comes like the calm before the storm.

But out of sight, lurking in the shadows, evil is afoot. The church has long called it “Spy Wednesday,” as the dark conspiracy against Jesus races forward, not just from enemies outside, but now with a traitor from within. It is this day when the key pieces come together in the plot for the greatest sin in all of history, the murder of the Son of God.

The Plot Thickens

Jesus wakes again just outside Jerusalem, in Bethany, where he has been staying at the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. His teaching again attracts a crowd in the temple. But now the Jewish leaders, silenced by Jesus the day before, will leave him be. Today they will avoid public confrontation and instead connive in private.

Caiaphas, the high priest, gathers to his private residence the chief priests and Pharisees — two competing groups, typically at odds, now bedfellows in their ache to be rid of the Galilean. They scheme to kill him, but don’t have all the pieces in place yet. They fear the approving masses, and don’t want to stir up the assembled hoards during Passover. The initial plan is to wait till after the feast, unless some unforeseen opportunity emerges.

Enter the traitor.

Keep reading at Desiring God…


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

April 16, 2014

christian-stephens-frontAs many of our regular readers will know, I (Karen) am a music lover. My tastes in Christian music are REALLY eclectic. (Yes, in the same week I have posted songs from rocker Mylon LeFevre and the Benedictine nuns of St. Mary of Ephesus…). But while I love good classical music, and also much contemporary worship music, there will always be a special place in my heart for some of the early Contemporary Christian Music of the 1970s and 80s. Those were the years when I was a new Christian and I had little fellowship. (My family attended an Episcopal church in the Diocese of Newark during the years of Bishop John Shelby Spong, need I say more?) Northern NJ seemed like a spiritual wasteland at times, but God used music in a wonderful way to deepen my knowledge of and love for Him.

It’s been a joy to discover that much of the music from that era is being made available in digital format. But a few of my favorite LPs still are not available on CD or online. One such LP is Christian Stephens’ eponymous release from 1980. There are several songs on that album that I listened to every Holy Week for many years….   A few years ago, I digitized my LP.  I thought it would be worth uploading a few songs here for Holy Week as I cannot find them anywhere online.  I pray these two songs bless our readers and help you quiet your heart to worship the Lord and rejoice afresh in His sacrifice, as they have helped me so many times to do.

[Note I will also post Christian Stephen’s  wonderful “trilogy” for the Triduum:  The Song of the Cross; The Descent; and Arise, on Friday and Saturday. Check back then.]

***

(There should be an embedded playlist above.  If there is no play arrow, or if the songs don’t play quickly, try these links: Look What You’ve Done  and Broken and Bleeding.)

Look What You’ve Done (Christian Stephens, 1980)

I was alone, You came to me
I was hurt, but You healed my pain
I was lost, You found me.
I was dying, but You gave me life.

I bow down before You.
O Lord my God how I adore You.
Look what You’ve done for me.

I was blind, You touched my eyes
I was crying, You took my tears away
I had no dream, You gave me hope
I was crippled, You taught me how to fly

Look what You’ve done, Look what You’ve done for me.
Look what You’ve done.

***

Broken and Bleeding (Christian Stephens, 1980)

 Well I saw my Lord as He passed by here
Stumbling ‘neath the weight of His cross, He was shedding a tear
But in His agony, I heard His spirit speak to mine, saying “come with me”

So I followed Him up to the top of Calvary
His screams shattered my soul as they nailed Him to the tree
And when they raised Him high, my heart was torn apart and I began to cry

Jesus I love You, broken and bleeding for me
Jesus I love You, broken and bleeding for me

Well the sky grew dark as the end drew near
The love within His eyes took away my fear
and once again He cried, lifted up His spirit, hung His head and died.

Jesus I love You, broken and bleeding for me
(Look what You’ve done)
Jesus I love You, broken and bleeding for me
(Look what You’ve done)

You died on the Cross
You gave Your life
You gave everything for me.
Out of Your love, You bled and died.
You died for me.

Jesus I love You, look what You’ve done for me
Jesus I love You, look what You’ve done for me

***

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.


Holy Week Quotes: Don’t miss the joy and the glory in focusing on the suffering

April 16, 2014

Of course, the four biblical Gospels, especially Matthew, Mark, and Luke, concur that Jesus suffered a great deal for us as he gave his life for our salvation so that we could be forgiven of our sins.

And yet, there is another aspect to the Easter story. It is best encapsulated in John’s statement that Jesus, when he “knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world … loved them to the end” (13:1, ESV). When introducing not only the scene of the foot-washing, but his entire passion narrative, John writes the following: “Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper…” (13:3–4; cf. 14:28).

In other words, John is at pains to show that the Cross was not a dead end but a station on Jesus’ way back home to the Father! This is why he strikes a triumphant note at the outset of narrating the Crucifixion: The Father had given all things into Jesus’ hands, and Jesus was on his way back to his pre-existent glory which he enjoyed with the Father (17:5, 24)! It is, as the writer of Hebrews put it, “for the joy that was set before him” that Jesus “endured the cross, despising the shame” (12:2). This Easter, let’s make sure we don’t leave out the “glory” part when we tell the story of Jesus’ suffering. No doubt, the Cross was glorious in and of itself in displaying Jesus’ perfect obedience, God’s love for humanity, and the God-man’s rendering of substitutionary atonement for sinners. Jesus’ earthly work is indeed “finished” (John 19:30), but his glorious work of ruling, reigning, and interceding continues to this day.

– Andreas J. Köstenberger and Justin Taylor
From here


Excellent reflection on Lent and Fasting

April 15, 2014

Today’s Lenten devotional at the Trinity School for Ministry, by MDiv student Rebecca Osborn is really excellent.  I know all too well how easy it is to seek some distraction or comfort to keep me from examining and confronting my sin and the state of my heart…  May the Lord help us all in these remaining days of Holy Week to come to Him and bare our hearts and let Him burn away all the dross that is dulling His life, His righteousness, His glory within us.

God’s grace through judgment is a major theme in the Old Testament. We are used to the idea of grace by gentler means, but we must not miss that God’s grace often takes the form of hardship to get the attention of his stubborn children. In Lent, we enter that hardship voluntarily, so that our hidden sins might be exposed and judged, and our new humanity in Christ might be a little more freed.

I don’t know about you, but I’m terrible at fasting. Food, in addition to being the good sustenance that keeps us alive, is also a comfort to hide in. When I am comforted in my physical body, it is easy to ignore an uneasy spirit. Whether I am uneasy because of pain or guilt or isolation, it is easy to escape those unpleasant feelings in a snack or other compulsion. Take away that habit and the emotion is exposed. It is in such a state that I can say, with the dejected voice of Jerusalem in Lamentations 1:19-20a:

“I called to my lovers, but they deceived me; my priests and elders perished in the city, while they sought food to revive their strength. Look, O Lord, for I am in distress; my stomach churns; my heart is wrung within me, for I have been very rebellious.”

Lamentations 1:17-21 is the distress call of Jerusalem in judgment. She has hit rock bottom. Many times in our Christian walk, we stand before the cross admitting our weakness. The path to wholeness in Christ is long. While we must be willing, our will alone is not enough to change us.

But unlike the woman Jerusalem, we are not without comfort (v. 17). We know that the worst of the suffering has fallen on the servant, of whom Isaiah tells us, “A bruised reed he shall not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice” (Isaiah 42:3). Through the fasting of Lent, we take our faintly burning wick to Christ, trusting him to bring forth justice in the fire of union with himself.  

(emphasis added)


Pastor Scotty Smith: A prayer for Tuesday in Holy Week

April 15, 2014

I *REALLY* like Pastor Scotty Smith’s prayer today at Heavenward.  Yes.  How amazing that Jesus wept for those who would crucify Him, and how thankful I am that He shows the same love and compassion to me as marred and scarred and broken by sin as I am.

***

 As he [Jesus] approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes.” Luke 19:41-42

    Dear Jesus, everything about Holy Week reveals the depth of your compassion for sinful, broken people, like me. The tears you wept coming into Jerusalem, and even the passion you showed driving the moneychangers from the temple—every encounter, parable, and action gives staggering clarity to Paul’s words,

“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:6-8).

Paul was writing about me. I’m one of the powerless, ungodly sinners for whom you died—demonstrating God’s incomparable, irrepressible love for the ill deserving. I wasn’t an impassioned seeker; I was God’s enemy when I received the gift of reconciliation (Rom. 5:10). I have peace with God only because God made his peace with me, through you.

I would still be blind to what alone brings us peace, if you hadn’t opened my eyes to see my need and your provision. The gospel would still remain hidden from my eyes unless you had given me sight to behold you as the Lamb of God, who took away my sin. I have no claim to salvation… no boast, no hope, no assurance of sins forgiven and righteousness received, apart from sovereign grace.

How I long for the Day when I will no longer even be tempted to look for peace anywhere else, but in you, Lord Jesus. I yearn for the Day when we will see you as you are and we will be made like you (1 John 3:1-3).

This is my great hope—until that Day, keep healing the eyes of my heart of all spiritual myopia, astigmatism, or anything else that keeps me from seeing the magnificence of your glory and the full measure of your grace. So very Amen I pray, in your tenacious and tender name.


%d bloggers like this: