Singing in the Face of Death

Despite its association with joy and hope, Christmas and the New Year are also a season in which we might think of death. We are starkly aware of friends and family who were here last Christmas, but not this one. We face the reality that this Christmas may be the last we enjoy with those who are aging or terminally ill.

Several years ago, David Ward and I met for a songwriting retreat for the purpose of writing a few songs on subjects that were rarely addressed in corporate worship music. One of those subjects was death.

Continue reading “Singing in the Face of Death”

Your Work Matters to God

“Vocation” — Today, this word is often used synonymously with “employment” or “occupation” to refer to what you do to make money (or what you do for no pay, as the case may be).

“Calling” — In the modern church, this word is often Christian-speak for one’s “spiritual service” or what “God has called you to do.”

It is unfortunate that “vocation” and “calling” have come to have two different meanings. “Vocation” comes from the Latin “vocare,” which means, “to call.” Your vocation is your calling. Your calling is your vocation. And if what occupies your time is not what you believe God has called you to do, you might spend some serious time considering the disparity.

C4 - ATGThis week’s song — “All Things Good” — is written to help God’s people celebrate his goodness in our vocations, reminding ourselves of how our various vocations glorify God. Continue reading “Your Work Matters to God”

A Christmas Carol

The season of Advent is incomplete without the singing of Christmas carols.

This week’s song— “How Beautiful the Mystery” —is  based on a Christmas carol I wrote in late 2000 as the text of our Christmas card. (Go ahead. Follow the link and have a listen. You can finish this post later.) I set the original text of this song to the existing hymn tune “Manoah.” Ten years later, my friends David Ward and Jeff Bourque would write a new tune, for which we added a chorus and additional verse. Continue reading “A Christmas Carol”

When the Worst Thing Happens

Naomi is one of my favorite characters in the Bible. Her story is told in the book of Ruth (which, in my opinion, is misnamed—Naomi is clearly the main character).

This week’s song— “A Sweet and Pleasant Providence” —is a hymn based on the story of Naomi. (Go ahead. Follow the link and have a listen. You can finish this post later.) Continue reading “When the Worst Thing Happens”

It Was Twenty Years Ago Today…

Twenty years ago today—November 7, 1996—I met Jenny Thayer. Twenty months and a few weeks later, she would become Jenny Schumacher, my wife.

In honor of these events, the first song I’m posting here is one that I wrote for our fifteenth anniversary—“Fifteen Years.” (Go ahead. Follow the link and have a listen. You can finish this post later.)

I wrote a song for our wedding, which I sang that day. It started: Continue reading “It Was Twenty Years Ago Today…”