Sunday, November 30, 2008

Advent Carol

This morning at Parish we will sing the following Advent carol by John Morrison written in 1781. I set the text to the English Folk Tune Kingsfold. It's a wonderful reminder of the prophecy of Isaiah and the hope that we have in the incarnation of Christ and is thus a perfect text to sing on this First Sunday of Advent.

To us a Child of hope is born,
To us a Son is giv’n,
Him shall the tribes of earth obey,
Him all the hosts of Heav’n.

His Name shall be the Prince of Peace,
Forevermore adored,
The Wonderful, the Counselor,
The great and mighty Lord.

His pow’r, increasing, still shall spread,
His reign no end shall know,
Justice shall guard His throne above,
And peace abound below.

To us a Child of hope is born,
To us a Son is giv’n,
The Wonderful, the Counselor,
The mighty Lord of Heav’n.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Psalm of Thanksgiving

This is our Psalm of the Month at Parish for November. We are singing it to a new melody by Henry Owen. Happy Thanksgiving for His steadfast love endures forever!

Psalm 111

O give the Lord whole-hearted praise,
To Him thanksgiving I will bring;
With all His people I will raise
My voice and of His glory sing.
His saints delight to search and trace
His mighty works and wondrous ways;
Majestic glory, boundless grace,
And righteousness His work displays.

The wondrous works that God has wrought
His people ever keep in mind;
His works with grace and mercy fraught,
Revealing that the Lord is kind.
God’s promise shall forever stand,
He cares for those who trust His Word;
Upon His saints His mighty hand
The wealth of nations has conferred.

His works are true and just indeed,
His precepts are forever sure;
In truth and righteousness decreed,
They shall forevermore endure.
From Him His saints’ redemption came;
His cov’nant sure no change can know;
Let all revere His holy Name
In Heav’n above and earth below

In reverence and godly fear
Man finds the gate to wisdom’s ways;
The wise His holy Name revere;
Through endless ages sound His praise.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Europeana Crashes

Europeana, the European attempt to create a comprehensive compendium of knowledge, crashed in its first day--because it received 10 million hits an hour. The Guardian has an article about the intent and scope of this endeavor. It's somewhat ironic that this desire for an indestructible Alexandrian-type Library failed its first day.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

More Luther Quotes

My heart, which is so full to overflowing, has often been solaced and refreshed by music when sick and weary.

For where God built a church, there the Devil would also build a chapel.

I am afraid that the schools will prove the very gates of hell, unless they diligently labor in explaining the Holy Scriptures and engraving them in the heart of the youth.

Music is the art of the prophets and the gift of God.

Peace if possible, truth at all costs.

To gather with God's people in united adoration of the Father is as necessary to the Christian life as prayer.

If I knew that tomorrow was the end of the world, I would plant an apple tree today! (Possibly not Luther, but too good not to include)

Martin Luther on Music

I, Doctor Martin Luther, wish all lovers of the unshackled art of music grace and peace from God the Father and from our Lord Jesus Christ! I truly desire that all Christians would love and regard as worthy the lovely gift of music, which is a precious, worthy, and costly treasure given to mankind by God. The riches of music are so excellent and so precious that words fail me whenever I attempt to discuss and describe them.... In summa, next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world. It controls our thoughts, minds, hearts, and spirits... Our dear fathers and prophets did not desire without reason that music be always used in the churches. Hence, we have so many songs and psalms. This precious gift has been given to man alone that he might thereby remind himself that God has created man for the express purpose of praising and extolling God. However, when man's natural musical ability is whetted and polished to the extent that it becomes an art, then do we note with great surprise the great and perfect wisdom of God in music, which is, after all, His product and His gift; we marvel when we hear music in which one voice sings a simple melody, while three, four, or five other voices play and trip lustily around the voice that sings its simple melody and adorn this simple melody wonderfully with artistic musical effects, thus reminding us of a heavenly dance, where all meet in a spirit of friendliness, caress and embrace. A person who gives this some thought and yet does not regard music as a marvelous creation of God, must be a clodhopper indeed and does not deserve to be called a human being; he should be permitted to hear nothing but the braying of asses and the grunting of hogs.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

New Horton Foote Play

Horton Foote's newest play, Dividing the Estate, is reviewed in USA Today and The New York Times. The 92-year-old Texan playwright exhibits a quiet grace in all of his works that probes relationships, motivations, dreams, and ambitions. A remarkable feat for someone who has written scores of plays and award-winning screen plays. A new work from Foote is always an occasion for rejoicing and reflection.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Oak Beams of New College, Oxford

This is a wonderful story of stewardship, thinking multi-generationally, and laying up an inheritance for future generations.

Modern v. Trinitarian Beauty

Beauty: In Modernity, beauty is at most an accident of power. It derives from survival by power or mutation, and it is an unnatural presence in Modernity’s cosmos, because it doesn’t reflect the conformity and power at the center of that world. But beauty is not efficient; it is superfluous, unnecessary, an overflow, a natural expression of the Trinity’s life. Beauty doesn’t operate by force or power or necessity but by holy seduction, like the Trinity.
—Doug Jones

Monday, November 10, 2008

Current Reading

Tolkien Quote

If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
—J.R.R. Tolkien

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day

Daniel 2:20-22

Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
to whom belong wisdom and might.
He changes times and seasons;
he removes kings and sets up kings;
he gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to those who have understanding;
he reveals deep and hidden things;
he knows what is in the darkness,
and the light dwells with him.

Psalm 2:10-12

Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
be warned, O rulers of the earth.
Serve the Lord with fear,
and rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son,
lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Worship Notes: Corporate Confession

Robert G. Rayburn Quote
"One of the serious weaknesses of our modern lives in the fact that we have failed to make clear the inflexible holiness of our God. It is true that he is the God of all grace, that he is infinite in his kindness and mercy towards us, but he is also a God of manifest righteousness who cannot look upon sin. Entirely too many ministers give the impression that all we must do is rest in the lovingkindness of God, knowing that he will always supply the healing and strength that are needed. The Christian life is not as simple as that. The believer must honestly and reverently deal with sin in his life continually day by day. Before we presume to worship God, we must remember the clear teaching of the Word of God, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Ps. 66:18). Until we have truly and sincerely confessed our sin before the Lord, our worship will not be acceptable in his sight."

Saturday, November 1, 2008

CA Kindergarten Curriculum

Fox has a story about the use of pledge cards given to 5 year olds to prevent harassment against people of alternative lifestyles. Apparently it's never too early to start defining the thought categories of future citizens.