Video

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

The Song of Simeon

A depiction of baby Jesus presented at the temple by William Brassey Hole (detail)

The first two chapters of Luke’s Gospel include four hymns of praise that connect the New Testament with the Old Testament. They are: the song of Mary, the song of Zechariah, the song of the angel choir, and the song of Simeon. Each of these songs is an expression of praise to God that he has fulfilled the promises of the Old Testament by sending Jesus. The Song of Simeon, also called “Nunc Dimittis” (from the Latin for “Now youRead more

Be still, my soul

A tranquil lake - listen

“Be still, and know that I am God.” – Psalm 46:10 (KJV) “Be still, my soul” by Katharina von Schlegel (1752), trans. Jane Laurie Borthwick (1855): Be still, my soul, the Lord is on thy side; Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain. Leave to thy God to order and provide; In every change He, faithful, will remain. Be still, my soul, thy best, thy heavenly friend Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end. Be still, my soul:Read more

Trusting in God’s Sovereignty

Sad girl - listen

“Sovereign Over Us” by Aaron Keyes, Bryan Brown, and Jack Mooring: There is strength within the sorrow, There is beauty in our tears. And You meet us in our mourning, With a love that casts out fear. You are working in our waiting. You’re sanctifying us, When beyond our understanding, You’re teaching us to trust. Your plans are still to prosper, You have not forgotten us. You’re with us in the fire and the flood. You’re faithful forever, Perfect inRead more

September 14: Holy Cross Day

empty crosses, listen

Exaltation, Triumph and Redemption: Why do we have a feast in the calendar called “Holy Cross Day” – when we already reflect so much on the passion of Christ during Holy Week? Well, consider that it has now been five months since Easter. We’re more than due for a reminder – not just of the sacrifice made by our Lord, but of his ultimate triumph over death. “Holy Cross Day” is a feast that is observed in many corners ofRead more

September 8, 2019

Reflections for Trinity 12, listen

The Twelfth Sunday after Trinity: Many of us live in this mental space: we know how God would like us to live, and we know that we fail to meet that standard – repeatedly. Though we know that Jesus died for our sins, we still live with a chronic sense of guilt, an overwhelming idea that our Father is disappointed with us. If this sounds at all familiar, then today’s collect is going to be good, theologically sound, medicine forRead more

A Place of Safety

Medieval tower in Spain

“My Strong Tower” by Liz Fitzgibbon: You are my strong tower, and I run into You. You close the door behind me now, and I am safe within. I run up those narrow stairs, and I look out from the window. I can see the enemy around, but he can’t get near to me. You are my strong tower, and I run into You. You close the door behind me now, and I am safe with You. In the dayRead more

My Worth Is Not In What I Own

Suitcases - listen

“My Worth Is Not In What I Own” by Keith & Kristyn Getty, and Graham Kendrick, featuring Fernando Oretga: My worth is not in what I own Not in the strength of flesh and bone But in the costly wounds of love At the cross My worth is not in skill or name In win or lose, in pride or shame But in the blood of Christ that flowed At the cross I rejoice in my Redeemer Greatest Treasure, WellspringRead more

I’m Still Yours

Sculpture of child sleeping in a hand - listen

“I’m Still Yours” by Kutless: When my life is not what I expected, The plans I made have failed; When there’s nothing left to steal me away, Will You be enough for me? Will my broken heart still sing? If I lost it all would my hands stay lifted To the God who gives and takes away? If You take it all, this life You’ve given Still my heart will sing to You. Even if You take it all away,Read more

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

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

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

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 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

Lessons & Carols for Christmas Eve

Boys choir - watch

The traditional Anglican service of lessons and carols is beautiful and meaningful. It interweaves readings, hymns, and anthems. The readings and the music walk through the promise of salvation in the Old Testament in preparation for the coming of Messiah. If you don’t happen to be in a position to take in a service like this one – as it is done at King’s College, Cambridge – then set aside 80 minutes or so to enjoy this version. This isRead 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