Advent and Christmas always plunge me back into music and poetry, mostly, I believe, because the wonder and mystery of the incarnation cannot be expressed merely in the language of explanation and logic. Instead, this mystery stumbles beyond our words into the leaping artistry of words and melodies to help us enter into the deepest places of what the Apostle Paul described as “the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit” (Ephesians 3:4-5).
The other day, I was listening through the album Blood Oranges in the Snow by the Cincinnati duo Over the Rhine. This is the third Christmas album they assembled and it still catches my imagination. Here is a song entitled “Bethlehem” from that album.
They write this about the song:Read More »
As we remember a real legend of our own nation today, here is a moving rendition of U2’s “Pride (In the Name of Love)” covered by John Legend. This was recorded for a History Channel special on Martin Luther King, Jr. entitled King. Find out more about the show here.
It’s hard not to be moved by the final words of the video, showing MLK saying the following:
If you can’t fly, run. If you can’t run, walk. If you can’t walk, crawl. But by all means, keep moving.
I came across these striking word from A. W. Tozer recently while reading through the title essay from the book I Talk Back to the Devil. Like many great books, this one had gone out of print. Thankfully, it is now back in print and available for a new audience.
Some of you go to the ball game and you come back whispering because you are hoarse from shouting and cheering. But no one in our day ever goes home from church with a voice hoarse from shouts brought about by a manifestation of the glory of God among us.
Actually our apathy about praise in worship is like an inward chill in our beings. We are under a shadow and we are still wearing the grave clothes. You can sense this in much of our singing in the contemporary church. Perhaps you will agree that in most cases it is a kind of plodding along, without the inward life of blessing and victory and resurrection joy and overcoming in Jesus’ name.
Why is this? It is largely because we are looking at what we are, rather than responding to who Jesus Christ is!
I’m a big fan of a guy named Chris Lizotte who is a worship leader at a Vineyard Church in California. What I love about his music is the way that he conveys such honest and heart-felt worship of God in his music. He’s been around for awhile, but I just came across this video of a new song of his called “Brighter Day” with his sister-in-law, Crystal Lewis, guest singing with him.
In some research for a project I’m working for at Brooklife, I came across the web-site for Gateway Church in Austin, TX. Besides having some nice graphics and resources on their site, I watched an interesting thing that they did for Easter weekend.
They enacted the Prodigal Son parable by intertwining drama, music, and teaching, all utilizing U2 songs. While I don’t know if I liked it 100%, you have to admit that it must have taken a tremendous amount of work and forethought to pull something like this off.
Take a look here.
Brandon Brown turned me on to the movie Once, saying I would probably like it for its combination of story and music. He was right.
A month or so ago, Kelly and I watched Once and I have to say that I loved the movie. It is a musical in a sense, having songs throughout which are performed by the actors (who also wrote them!) as intricate parts of the story. At the same time, it’s not a musical in the sense of actors bursting into song while walking down the street a la movies like West Side Story or Singing in the Rain.
If you like stories that point out aspects of love, friendship, and the power of creativity, I think you would really enjoy the movie Once.
You can take a look at excerpts from the movie at the official movie site and also enjoy some clips from the soundtrack at the actors’ band, The Swell Season, mySpace page.