83 items tagged "music"

  • Lent 4 - Psalm 42 & Daily Hymns

    Dear Friends in Christ,

    The text for the hymn on Tuesday, taken from Psalm 42, was also the reading this week at our midweek service.  Psalm 42 is a tough one to read because it talks about the longing for God, the thirsting for God and begs the questions "Why have you forgotten me?"  This is one of those areas in the Christian walk that is difficult and I'm not sure there is a clear answer.  One great thing about the Lutheran tradition is that we are allowed to ask questions and question God.  The problem is we don't always get answers in ways we can understand them.  Crummy things happen and I just don't get why.

  • Lent 3 - Lenten Prayer & Daily Hymns

    Dear Friends in Christ,

    Our midweek series this year is very powerful.  We come together in candlelit meditation on word, prayer and song and then follow with a simple meal with an emphasis on global hunger issues.  I would encourage you to check it out but if you aren't able to come down during the week don't forget we can all join together in prayer at noon each day.  Pray the simple prayer Deacon Lulu taught us, "Thank you God for this day" or there is a list of prayers in the front of the ELW (Red Hymnal) beginning on page 72.  At this weeks midweek service, John Ogren led us in A prayer of Martin Luther found on page 87.  Blessings and peace to you this week.

  • Lent 2 - Lenten Prayer & Daily Hymns

    Dear Friends in Christ,

    God of mercy, as we move through the journey of this season incite us to truthful reflection, faithful action, and quiet release of all that is false and fleeting.  Deliver us from every evil and protect us from all anxiety as we wait in joyful hope for the great feast of Easter, the passover of the Lord Jesus from death to life with you.  Amen.

  • Lent I - Unplugged

    Dear Friends in Christ,

    "How we spend our days, is of course, how we spend our lives".  Annie Dillard

    I came across this quote in the latest issue of "Gather", a magazine published for women of the ELCA.  It was part of a Lenten reflection series and it certainly made me pause and think.  Pastor Chris reminded us during the Ash Wednesday services that we fast in order to better give our time and resources to Holy things and for those who really could benefit from our attention.  For Lent this year I've decided to 'unplug' and I've given up the internet, email, and social media in order to better focus on things in life that matter more than the latest status update or blog posting.   

  • J.S. Bach at Transfiguration Sunday

    Dear Friends in Christ,

    We are moving from a tremendous, four-part sermon series to Transfiguration of Our Lord/Last Sunday after Epiphany and then into Lent.  Transfiguration is defined as "A marked change in form or appearance:  a metamorphosis" and "a change that glorifies and exalts".  In this Sunday before Lent we hear how as believers we are able to see the light of God in Jesus' face because the light that shines in our hearts gives us that vision.  We are able, therefore, to be a shining light for others in the world.  Historically, church music has seen a lot of change but the goal has always been the same:  to glorify and exalt.  As "the singing church" we Lutherans have a wonderful repertory of music from which to pull from each week that spans hundreds of years.  My goal between now and Easter is for us to experience our rich musical history in a bigger and deeper way each week.  I can't think of a better way to immerse ourselves in our music than by starting off with a Prelude and Fugue by J.S. Bach.  

  • Time After Epiphany 6

    Dear Friends in Christ,

    Choosing the hymns each week is a joint effort between me and the 'preacher'.  At G.A. we are blessed that our worship team is so strong and that we truly have open lines of communication.  This week we are in for a treat because our own Deacon Lulu will be preaching!  It was such a treat to work with her so closely and she had a hand in ALL of the hymn choices because she is so moved in her faith by texts and tunes.  When I asked her to say a few words about this is exactly what she said, "These hymns were chosen because I know God is so great...our faithfulness leads to new life with Jesus...and our love and trust in God and his love for us fills us up and our wounded souls are healed".  Fantastic. 

  • Time After Epiphany 5

    Dear Friends in Christ,

    Confessing our sins, asking for forgiveness, and making amends.  These are not fun tasks for anyone of any age-just ask my two year old!  She has a very specific routine when she has done something wrong that includes a unique cry, covering her face and then running and hiding so she can crumple to a ball on the floor.  We also have a very specific 'routine' for dealing with these scenes.  We talk about it, say we're sorry and then share a hug and a kiss.  There is a definite mood shift when she gets to say sorry and move to the hug and kiss phase of the routine.  It's almost as if the cloud of sorrow has been lifted and she immediately starts to smile and laugh.  It's a great feeling both for her and as a parent.  If only it were that easy as adults.  It is easier to ask forgiveness for coloring on the wall than it is for some of the things that we do to each other because of our selfish wants and desires.  

  • Time After Epiphany 4

    Dear Friends in Christ,
    It's a busy and bustling week at GA so I will keep this NFTB short and sweet.  Blessings abound this coming Sunday.  We will hear part two of the sermon series 12 Steps to Serenity, Logan will joins our church family through the sweet waters of baptism, and we have an annual meeting complete with a 50 page report! 

  • Time After Epiphany 3

    Dear Friends in Christ,

    "All are welcome, all are welcome, all are welcome in this place!" .Our opening hymn by Marty Haugen sets the tone not only for our new 4 week sermon series "The 12 Steps to Serenity" but also for our mission here at G.A.  This is an amazing time of growth both in faith and number, a time of learning with new sermon series, new bible studies, a growing Sunday School class and Diakonia classes, a time of fellowship with the brunch for young adults, a bustling coffee hour and a church retreat coming up in March and a time for outreach during the week with the various groups that meet in our social hall at all hours of the day.  I think this is due in large part because we have strive to "build a house where all are named, their songs and visions heard and loved and treasured".Praise the Lord!

  • Time After Epiphany 2

    Dear Friends in Christ,

    We are entering the Time after Epiphany where we focus on the inauguration of Christ's ministry at his baptism.  To help enhance our worship experience the liturgy will change and we will explore a variety of hymns offered in the ELW to help turn the "Time after Epiphany" into a mini festival celebrating the love and grace of Jesus. 

  • Time After Epiphany 1

    Dear Friends in Christ,

    Happy New Year!  Sunday is the Epiphany of Our Lord or the "manifestation" of Christ to all nations.  Some Christian traditions celebrate three great epiphanies on this day:  the magi's adoration of the Christ child, Jesus' baptism in the Jordan River, and his first miracle, in which he changes water into wine.  Sometimes it's tricky to 'fit' in all of the great lessons that the Bible teaches us in only 52 Sundays but regardless, we always get a taste of grace and mercy each week and this Sunday our hymns are a reflection of  everything that you could hope to fit in on Epiphany.



  • Happy New Year!

    Dear Friends in Christ,

    Happy New Year!  Sunday is the Epiphany of Our Lord or the "manifestation" of Christ to all nations.  Some Christian traditions celebrate three great epiphanies on this day:  the magi's adoration of the Christ child, Jesus' baptism in the Jordan River, and his first miracle, in which he changes water into wine.  Sometimes it's tricky to 'fit' in all of the great lessons that the Bible teaches us in only 52 Sundays but regardless, we always get a taste of grace and mercy each week and this Sunday our hymns are a reflection of  everything that you could hope to fit in on Epiphany. 

  • Merry Christmas!

    Dear Friends in Christmas,

    Blessings to you and MERRY CHRISTMAS!  Thank you to all of you who read this weekly column and thank you very, very much for your positive feedback.  It means a lot and I just love sharing all of these fun, historical tidbits of faith in music with you. 

  • Christmas is Coming

    Dear Friends in Christ,

    Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat
    Please put a penny in the old man's hat
    If you haven't got a penny, a ha'penny will do
    If you haven't got a ha'penny, then God bless you!

  • Happy New Year's Resolution!

    Dear Friends in Christ,

    Happy New Year!  It's a brand new church year and some exciting things are in store for us not only as we enter into the Holy Season of Advent but I've also come up with a News Year Resolution to challenge us in our music worship.  First our Advent liturgy. 

  • Closing the Church Year

    Dear Friends in Christ,


    It's the end of the church year and what better way to end of a year than with some joyous hymns?!  It'll be like New Years Eve minus the hats and champagne. 
  • All Saints Sunday

    Dear Friends in Christ,
    Happy All Saints Sunday!  Talk about a great day.  We get to sing and celebrate the lives of ancestors from our personal family trees, our Swedish ancestors that founded GA, pioneers in the church and saints living among us-including our little saints.  It's one big festival in which we ALL can take part.  Sing those hymns extra loud because you know the angel choruses will be joining in.
  • Reformation Sunday

    Dear Friends in Christ,

    Reformation Sunday is one of my favorite Sunday's of the year.  I love to hear the message of Grace, I love to be reminded that Lutheran's are called to be bold in their faith and actions and I just love to sing A Mighty Fortress-the louder the better.  On a more personal note, Reformation Sunday reminds me of my ancestors.  On both sides of my family tree there is a long line of German Lutheran Pastors.  My paternal Grandfather (Gramp) was one of 7 boys and 4 out of those 7 boys went on to become Pastors.  He had a wooden sign outside of their home that said Ein feste Burg.


  • The Power of Music

    Dear Friends in Christ,

       It has been very busy this week at Gustavus Adolphus and busy with mixed emotions.  On Saturday I will be playing two very special services - a funeral in the morning to celebrate the life of Adeline LaPorta and a wedding in the afternoon celebrating the love of Scott Perrucci and Emily Taylor.  Both events are filled with varying degrees of emotions and lots of music.  Sunday we will hear the wonderful message of Jesus telling us to love God above all others and your neighbor as yourself.  All weekend we will be celebrating major 'life milestone's and both days will have lots of music specifically chosen by the couple, Adeline's family, and by me and Pastor Tom to enhance these very special and different worship experiences.     

  • This Week's Hymns

    Dear Friends in Christ,
    I took my Mom and daughter to the Museum of the Moving Image this week to see the exhibit "Jim Henson's Fantastic World" which celebrates his extraordinary imagination and creative genius.  An interesting fact that I learned about Mr. Henson is that as a child his family would gather around the electronic organ in the living room and sing songs together.  I'm not sure if anyone is purchasing electronic organs for their living rooms now but I remember back home in Montana our confirmation class would go and visit some of our parishioners who were homebound and they would have electronic organs or pianos in their homes and we'd sing hymns with them.  My how times have changed! 


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Daily Bible Verse

  • Jeremiah 29:24-32

    28For he has actually sent to us in Babylon, saying, "It will be a long time; build houses and live in them, and plant gardens and eat what they produce." 29The priest Zephaniah read this letter in the hearing of the prophet Jeremiah.

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