Selah

Experiencing Psalm 107

Rembrandt's Sea of Galilee

Sumsion’s “They that go down to the sea in ships” sung by the Hereford Cathedral Choir This is a six minute choral piece. If choral music is unfamiliar territory for you, take the time to sit quietly and look a the text below while listening to the piece. You’ll notice how the composer has used every tool at his disposal to meditate on the meaning and emotion of the text (Psalm 107: 23-30). They that go down to the seaRead more

Praise Overflowing

Kingfisher bird

“Pied Beauty” by Gerard Manley Hopkins: Glory be to God for dappled things – For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow; For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim; Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings; Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough; And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim. All things counter, original, spare, strange; Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?) With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim; He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:Read more

Morning Thanksgiving

Morning light over barley field

A Sampling of Morning Prayers from The Book of Common Prayer: Thanksgiving for the gift of another day We give thee hearty thanks, O heavenly Father, for the rest of the past night, and for the gift of a new day. Grant that we may so pass its hours in the perfect freedom of thy service, that at eventide we may again give thanks unto thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (from Forms of Prayer to be Used inRead more

A Meditation on Belonging

Woman carrying child - listen

“I Belong” by Kathryn Scott: Not angels nor demons, No power on earth or Heaven, Not distance nor danger, No trouble now or ever, Nothing can take me from Your great love. Forever this truth remains: I belong; I belong to You I belong; I belong to You Not hardship nor hunger, No pain or depth of sorrow, Not weakness nor failure, No broken dream or promise, Forever this truth remains: I belong; I belong to You I belong; IRead more

Beaten But Not Lost

Abstraction of All Saints depiction

“Beaten but not lost” by Steve Turner: We beat her and she lost weight. She lost blood. She lost consciousness. But she never lost hope. She never lost poetry. And she was never lost. You must have to beat real hard to get the God out of these people; to still the noise of heaven in their hearts. A prayer O God, who still bestows upon saints and martyrs the ability to stand fast, and to have the victory againstRead more

Between Good Friday and Easter Day

Statue of woman weeping

The Fortieth Day of Lent: Holy Saturday An excerpt from “Reliving the Passion” by Walter Wangerin, Jr.: Mark 15:47: “Mary Magdalen and Mary the mother of Joses saw where he was laid.” Stone cold. And the stone is closed. Where do I go from here? Nowhere. Back to the city. Which is a nowhere now. The Master isn’t there. The Master is not. Everywhere is nowhere. There’s nowhere to go. What do I do? I don’t know what to do.Read more

Struggling with God

Hand reaching for sky - listen

“Hard To Get” by Rich Mullins: You who live in heaven, Hear the prayers of those of us who live on earth: Who are afraid of being left by those we love, And who get hardened by the hurt. Do you remember when You lived down here where we all scrape To find the faith to ask for daily bread? Did You forget about us after You had flown away? Well I memorized every word You said. Still I’m soRead more

Have mercy upon me, O God

Peter penitent - listen

A choral arrangement of Psalm 51: This is probably my favourite choral piece, period. If you’ve never heard Allegri’s “Miserere,” then prepare for something exquisite. The piece is a choral setting of Psalm 51, a psalm that was penned by King David, expressing deep remorse for his sin. It is traditionally sung during the penitential season of Lent, a beautiful meditation that invites us to confess our own sins to God. The text appears below the video in both EnglishRead more

Judas / Peter

Rooster crowing

“Judas / Peter” by Luci Shaw: because we are all betrayers, taking silver and eating body and blood and asking (guilty) is it I and hearing him say yes it would be simple for us all to rush out and hang ourselves but if we find grace to cry and wait after the voice of morning has crowed in our ears clearly enough to break our hearts he will be there to ask us each again do you love me?Read more

Praying for Loved Ones when we cannot find the words

Praying hands

A Sampling of Prayers from The Book of Common Prayer: For Relatives and Friends O Loving Father, we commend to thy gracious keeping all who are near and dear to us. Have mercy upon any who are sick, and comfort those who are in pain, anxiety or sorrow. Awaken all who are careless about eternal things. Bless those who are young and in health, that they may give the days of their strength unto thee. Comfort the aged and infirm,Read more

Weary in Well-Doing

Sad dog

“Weary in Well-Doing” by Christina Georgina Rossetti: I would have gone; God bade me stay: I would have worked; God bade me rest. He broke my will from day to day, He read my yearnings unexpressed And said them nay. Now I would stay; God bids me go: Now I would rest; God bids me work. He breaks my heart tossed to and fro, My soul is wrung with doubts that lurk And vex it so. I go, Lord, whereRead more

I Shall Not Want

sheep snuggling - listen

“I Shall Not Want” by Audrey Assad: From the love of my own comfort From the fear of having nothing From a life of worldly passions Deliver me O God From the need to be understood And from a need to be accepted From the fear of being lonely Deliver me O God And I shall not want, no, I shall not want When I taste Your goodness, I shall not want From the fear of serving others Oh, andRead more

The soul’s longing

Old fashioned villa on a hill

“Heaven-Haven: A Nun takes the veil” by Gerard Manley Hopkins: I have desired to go where springs not fail, to fields where flies no sharp and sided hail, and a few lilies blow. And I have asked to be where no storms come, where the green swell is in the havens dumb, and out of the swing of the sea. A prayer O God, in the course of this busy life, give us times of refreshment and peace; and grantRead more

The King who loves me

Christ the King - listen

“How Many Kings” by Downhere: Follow the star to a place unexpected. Would you believe, after all we’ve projected, A child in a manger? Lowly and small, the weakest of all, Unlikeliest hero, wrapped in his mother’s shawl – Just a child Is this who we’ve waited for? ‘Cause how many kings step down from their thrones? How many lords have abandoned their homes? How many greats have become the least for me? And how many gods have poured outRead more

Rejoice, mortals! (Advent is coming)

Detail of painting depicting the Triumph of Christ (by Dore) - listen

“Albricias Mortales” – Rejoice, mortals! This is a baroque piece by 18th century Mexican composer Manuel de Sumaya (sometimes spelled “Zumaya”). They were certainly making some very beautiful choral music in Mexico in the 1700s. This particular piece is dedicated to Mary, and combines orchestra and choir, giving us a taste of celebration. It fits in beautifully with the season of Advent because it points to the coming of Christ – not just his first coming, but also his secondRead more

A Wrongful Arrest

Detail of "The arrest of Christ" by Fra Angelico (c. 1437-1446)

“The Crucifixion” by Steve Turner: You were one with the Father. Then the Father turned his back on you. You felt forsaken, hanging there between heaven’s thunder and the dank spittle of earth. For that moment you belonged nowhere. You were love, cut off from love; truth nailed down by lies. You must have wanted to explode, to disintegrate, to disappear into a void. But that was forbidden. And that was the test. Your blood burst through your skin andRead more