83 items tagged "music"

  • Holy Traditions

    Dear Friends in Christ,
    I want to share with you the story of a Holy event that took place last Sunday.  A group of us went up after church to visit Adeline LaPorta, a longtime G.A. member who recently suffered a stroke and because of permament damage is now living in a longterm care facility.  Adeline loves hymns and we wanted to lift her spirits with song.  Music has a spiritual power that cannot be explained but something Holy was at work in the room that day.  Loud, beautiful harmonies surrounded Adeline and all of the guests in the room with joy, peace and love.  While she has lost the ability to speak clearly she knew those hymns well.  Tears were streaming down her face as we sang 'How Great Thou Art'. 
  • Communion

    Dear Friends in Christ,

    I hope you all had a wonderful summer!  It's great to be back from summer vacation and we are already in the thick of weekly worship and communion together. 

    There are two random facts that you should know about me.  1.  I love the television show Glee and 2. I have a special place in my heart for communion-in fact when I was a confirmation student we had to deliver speeches on topics in Luther's Small Catechism and mine was on communion.  For me, communion is the culmination of the service.  It binds us together in community with our neighbors and with God. 

  • "Summer Hymn Sing 3"

    Dear Friends in Christ,

    Happy Sunday!  Our first hymn this week is Earth and All Stars!, chosen by Robin Benson.  This was a popular hymn in my church growing up and I always enjoyed singing it because it is just so peppy and robust.  Personally, I find the text fascinating because on one hand it is a bit dopey talking about test tubes but on the other hand it shows that God's hand is in everything and everywhere.  It is a catalog text that invites us to share with a whole host of natural and cultural phenomenon to "Sing to the Lord a new song!"  As an editing note, there were originally six verses but in the publishing of the ELW portions of verse 1 and 2 were combined. 

  • "Summer Hymn Sing 2"

    Dear Friends in Christ,

    This week we have another group of great hymns.  Our opening hymn is the "Battle Hymn of the Reformation" or A Mighty Fortress Is Our God by Martin Luther.  It was first published in 1529 and it has been called "the greatest hymn by the greatest man of the greatest period of German History".   It has been sung and played throughout history during many a momentous occasion including by Luther and his companions as they entered Worms on April 16, 1951 for the Diet, King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden as his forces went to battle in The Thirty Year's War, it was sung at the funeral of American president Dwight Eisenhower in 1969 and it has been used in popular culture on shows such as The Simpsons, Deadwood, Shawshank Redemption and Deadwood.   The text is taken from Psalm 46 and we are singing the most popular and accurate translation by Frederick H. Hedge. 

  • "Summer Hymn Sing 1"

    Dear Friends in Christ,

    Happy Summer to you.  I just love summer.  I enjoy being outside, the slower pace of life, the opportunity for relaxation, renewal and play.  It reminds me of the Plato quote, "You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation".  When I take my daughter to the playground there is not one child's face that says "I hate this summer playing business".  What a wonderful gift from God! 

  • "Summer!"

    Dear Friends in Christ,

    The splendor of summer is upon us!  To celebrate we will be doing our first ever Summer Hymn Sing.  For the next five weeks the hymns will be chosen by you!  Please send your favorite tunes my way or catch me after church.  Favorite hymns are like 'comfort food' for the spirit and soul.  They are so much fun to sing and often times filled with important memories.  I look forward to hearing which hymns are meaningful to you.   

  • "Make a Joyful Noise"

    Dear Friends in Christ,

     Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. 

                                                       Psalm 100:1-2

  • "Pinecrest Sunday"

    Dear Friends in Christ,
    This Sunday we will have a special musical treat.  Two of the musicians from Pinecrest Lutheran Leadership Ministries will be leading us in worship.  I just saw the bulletin and we are in for some fun.  The format of the service is the same but the music is all taken from the services at camp and it is upbeat, filled with wonderful messages about love, acceptance from Jesus and how precious our connections are to each other. 

  • "Sundays and Seasons"

    Dear Friends in Christ, 

    I stumbled upon something fun this week in my preparations for the Sunday service and wanted to share it with you.  Augsburg Fortress, the publishing house of the ELCA, publishes a book called "Sundays and Seasons" which is a companion guide to aid in the planning of weekly worship.  Not only does it provide the weekly readings, hymn and music suggestions, prayers, color schemes and acclamations, but it also gives you ideas to help you focus on the theme of the day.  It is an indispensable tool.   This week there was a fun reference to a very popular musical and film that I wanted to share with you.  I found it very insightful and fits well with popular culture because many a favorite reality show is having a season finale this week.

  • "The Lord's Prayer I"

    Dear Friends in Christ,
    This week I'm going to start tackling "The Lord's Prayer".  I had never sung the Lord's Prayer in church before attending G.A. and it isn't a 'standard practice' in the Lutheran Church.  Now, I've certainly sung my fair share of modern settings of the Lord's Prayer at weddings and funerals, but the version that we sing, Plainsong Chant, was new to me.  Let's begin with defining Plainsong.  I found the following information of the development of chant and wanted to share it with you.  I have visions of Christians in those early years following the death and resurrection of Jesus in primitive church services beginning the development of what would become our liturgy.  

  • "The Lord's Prayer II"

    Dear Friends in Christ, 

    This week we continue with Part 2 of our quest on the history of the version of The Lord's Prayer that we sing.  I welcome continued input on this topic so if you have any knowledge of where/why/how this came to be at GA please let me know.

    I reached out this week to former GA members Kim and Shawn Norton.  These two super-talented musicians and longtime faithful members had some interesting facts to provide.  I found it very insightful not only because it gave me more information about the prayer but also some history of our music program.  Some excerpts from our exchange are provided below. 

  • "Psalms"

    Dear Friends in Christ,
              Alleluia!  Christ is risen indeed!  Alleluia!  What a wonderful Easter Celebration we had last week.  It was so nice to hear you all singing so robustly.  Many times I had the organ at full volume and I could STILL hear you.  Incredible.  A special shout-out to our choir and guest musicians.  In my humble opinion, I think our choir sounded just top notch and all of the music was beautifully enhanced by our wonderful instrumentalists.  Again, incredible. 

  • "Easter"

    Dear Friends in Christ,
    There is a lot happening at GA this week and while I hesitate to use the word 'exciting' it is certainly is a week filled with dramatics.  We've moved into real time as we walk with Jesus this week.  Every event that happens is different yet each scene and moment holds a key piece the builds into our Easter celebration.  Each week we carefully select the music to reflect the message of the day but this week it is particularly important and reflective of what is happening in the Holy Week journey. 

  • "O Sacred Head"

    Dear Friends in Christ,
    Our final hymn writer that we will study this week is alive and well and living in Minnesota.  I was first introduced to the music of Marty Haugen  while attending weekly services at Lutheran Campus Ministry in Missoula, Montana.  Personally, I find his music easy to sing and his moving text really speaks from the heart. 

  • This is my Story


    Dear Friends in Christ,

    Each Sunday, we as a congregation have the special opportunity of lifting up beautiful poetry in song to praise the Lord.  The combination of text and tune is electric.  Speaking "Joy to the world, the Lord is come" would just not have the same zest.  A hymn is a song specifically written for the purpose of praise, prayer or adoration.  The word is derived from the Greek word hymnos which means "song of praise".  So how do we go about picking the hymns that we sing each week? 

  • Just As I Am

    Dear Friends in Christ,
    This week we will hear about the life of Charlotte Elliott and her famous hymn "Just as I am, without one plea (ELW #592).  Charlotte had poor health her entire life and as a result was very weak and invalid.  But she had a great imagination, was highly intelligent and a lover of poetry and song.  In her lifetime she wrote over 150 hymns.  Scholars have noted that "her verse is characterised by tenderness of feeling, plaintive simplicity, deep devotion and perfect rhythm. For those in sickness and sorrow, she has sung as few others have done."

  • "Greetings from Texas!"

    Dear Friends in Christ,

    Greetings from Texas!  I am currently on tour with Legacy Performing Arts and fellow GA members Robin Benson and Krista Severeid.  We are bringing Robin's original musical, Angel Corp, to seniors in the Dallas area.  We are having an incredible time performing for these wonderful folks.

  • “Listen, listen, God is calling"

    Dear Friends in Christ,

    “Listen, listen, God is calling, through the Word inviting, offering forgiveness, comfort, and joy." (ELW #513) 

             The holy season of Lent is upon us and I have to say that this is my favorite time of year.  I have many fond memories of attending midweek dinners and services as a child, I love singing the more intense hymns, and I love the build up of Holy Week into Easter. 

  • "Housekeeping in the Hymnal"

    Dear Friends in Christ,

    In honor of the impending task of spring cleaning the title of this week’s entry is the ever glamorous "Housekeeping in the Hymnal".  I want to talk about all of the bits of writing that you see in small print below a hymn. 

  • "There are no parts; there are only participants"

    Dear Friends in Christ,

    I was reading an article this morning and there was an interesting quote from the German physicist Hans Peter Dürr stating that once we understand ecology we see "there are no parts; there are only participants".  This really struck me in relation to our worship experience because if this concept is applied then that means that we aren't some cogs in a worship machine from 11:00-12:15 but rather active participants the second we walk in the door and beyond throughout the week. 


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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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