Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”
In you, O Lord, I take refuge;
let me never be put to shame.
In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me;
incline your ear to me and save me.
Be to me a rock of refuge,
a strong fortress, to save me,
for you are my rock and my fortress.
Rescue me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked,
from the grasp of the unjust and cruel.
For you, O Lord, are my hope,
my trust, O Lord, from my youth.
Upon you I have leaned from my birth;
it was you who took me from my mother’s womb.
My praise is continually of you.
It has been six days since we gathered together and celebrated Easter. It was a wonderful day as people gathered to worship our risen Lord and Savior. It was especially nice because it was the first Easter that we celebrated together, in-person, since 2019. Since that day people have returned to their busy schedules. The stores have replaced the candy and baskets with their summer displays. The demands of life have slowly begun to overshadow that beautiful day of worship. It is easy to see how quickly Easter fades in our memory as we move further and further away from that Sunday…
I appreciate that my childhood spanned the 60s, 70s and 80s. Mom and Dad passed their love of music along to me. As a kid, songs like “Sweet Caroline,” “Turn, Turn, Turn,” “Son of a Preacher Man,” and “Mama Told Me (Not to Come)” filled the airwaves. Dad’s 8-track tape case was magical with everything from the Beatles to Charley Pride…
There are many songs that have changed the world, but there are few songs that were written with purpose of bringing relief to the world. In 1985, the country of Ethiopia was experiencing a significant famine. A severe drought had taken hold of the country and that, accompanied by oppressive governmental policies, brought a severe famine to this part of Africa. This directly caused the deaths of nearly 400,000 people…
One of the great joys of new technology is the ability to rediscover the past. I recently located the album “Underground” by “Abraham of Clymer Pennsylvania.” The (fairly obscure) album was released on cassette tape in 1987, and the band was one of my favorites. In fact, their concert in Corry, PA was one of the very first “rock concerts” I attended as a teenager. My cassette tape (and player) was lost many years ago, but the iTunes version brought back so many memories…
One of my favorite hymns is, “I Love to Tell the Story.” This beautiful song is filled with language that makes our connection with Jesus seem so intimate. As you sing through the lyrics you hear the joy and passion that Jesus invokes in the person who has heard the great story of his love and his wonderful works done while on earth. This hymn lifts my spirits every time I sing it. On this day after Easter, it seems even more significant, as I think about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia!
Earth and heaven in chorus say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heavens, and earth reply, Alleluia!
Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids Him rise, Alleluia!
Christ has opened paradise, Alleluia!
Soar we now where Christ has led, Alleluia!
Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like Him, like Him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!
Charles Wesley, 1739
But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” Saying this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” Mary Magdalene went and said to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.
Every year, there is a song that resonates with me throughout the Lenten season. The song is Were You There? It is an American spiritual that was first published in 1899 with William Eleazar Barton’s Old Plantation Hymns. Some years later in 1940, it was included in the Episcopal Church hymnal, making it the first American spiritual to be included in any major American hymnal…