WSC Q.86 What is Faith in Jesus Christ?

It’s profound to sing the raw, scripture saturated truths of God.  So thankful for this project to work out the shorter catechism in song.  Enjoy.

Westminster Shorter Catechism Question 86

What is Faith in Jesus Christ?
Faith in Jesus Christ is a saving grace whereby we receive and rest upon Him alone for salvation as he is offered to us in the Gospel. 

Leadsheet (PDF)

WSC Q98. What is Prayer?

A friend asked me to chart a couple of my shorter catechism tunes so I’m sharing them with you all. I love coming back to the WSC because of its boldness to answer complex biblical questions like this in succinct form.  It always ministers to my faith.

Westminster Shorter Catechism Question 98

What is Prayer?
Prayer is an offering up of our desires unto God for things agreeable to His will, in the name of Christ, with confession of our sins, and thankful acknowledgement of his mercies. 


John Mason Neale and Hymns for the O Antiphons

Folks over at the Liturgy Fellowship have begun to talk about Advent so I’m throwing out a post. Most people are familiar with the popular advent hymn written by John Mason Neale “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” This hymn is a meditation for the O Antiphons which looks at various images of Christ from the Old Testament with an emphasis on Isaiah.

I recently found a collection of hymns where JM Neale wrote an entire hymn for each O Antiphon (not just a verse).  A great meditation for advent, or source of texts for retunes. The Antiphons start on page #342.  You can download a PDF of the whole collection here.

Collected Hymns, Sequences and Carols of John Mason Neale

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October 2014 Bits and Bobs

Some good stuff I’ve stumbled upon recently, need to post on, and generally feel compelled to share.

The Long Walk Home cover art
Great album
of eclectic arrangements to traditional hymns. Fleet Foxes meets Sun Kil Moon.

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- new charting enterprise from Zach Sprowls.  This is THE place to go if you are looking for Quality charts for your new album!

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Light Upon Light: A Literary Guide to Prayer for Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany
- Features Hope College prof and poet Susanna Childress

Erik Marshall’s band “Young Oceans” is releasing a new album soon. Great ambient worship music. We regularly sing “Come Holy One.”

Let the Spirit of the Lord Come Down – Nigerian Folk Song

Nigerian folk song that I learned from Greg Scheer and Wendell Kimbrough that I thought would be great for our series through the book of Acts.

We sang it during communion last Sunday at the Gathering at Hope College so I added another verse.  We sang it with *bread but you could also use *manna.

mp3 | chart

Let the *Spirit of the Lord come down (Hallelujah!)
Let the Spirit of the Lord come down (Hallelujah!)
Let the Spirit of the Lord from heaven come down
Let the Spirit of the Lord come down.

*Power, Glory, Manna, etc…

Busman – On Praise and Worship Music: An Essay to its Cultured Despisers

I’m working on creating a “reader” for the common Worship Leader that provides anintroduction to the world of CWM as described and analyzed by (ethno)musicologists. Working back through some old notes and noticed that Joshua Busman linked Jamie Smith’s old blog post in his article below so thought I would come back around to it. “An Open Letter to Praise Bands

Three articles from Josh Busman with a musicologists analysis of the meteoric rise of ‘CWM’ and its impact both on the church and the wider culture.

Part One: “On Praise and Worship Music: An Essay to its Cultured Despisers.”
Part Two: “Exercising Your Second Commandment Rights: Luther and Calvin on Music.”
Part Three: “The Spiritual Children of Sigur Ros.

Also check out…

Ingalls, Monique. “Singing Heaven Down to Earth: Spiritual Journeys, Eschatological Sounds, and Community Formation in Evangelical Conference Worship.” Ethnomusicology No. 55, Vol. 2: 255-79.

Worship Leader as Chief Curator?

Title: Worship Leader, Chief Musician, President Curator

Joshua Busman, a PhD student in musicology at UNC posted an article he wrote last week called “God’s Great Dance Floor,” Or, Why You Don’t Need Ecstasy to Have an Ecstatic Good Time.”  One of the remarks he makes in the article (and there is a LOT here – cf. Zac Hicks on thoughts about Worship Music and EDM culture) is about how worship leaders function more as curators than performers in modern worship.

“In settings like Passion—as well as the recorded sounds which result from them—worship leaders, like EDM deejays, are entrusted with the experiences of a gathered community and while technical proficiency is obviously important, the standard of quality is ultimately curatorial rather than performative. Like the deejay, worship leaders are judged on their ability to enact a meaningful encounter for the gathered community rather than their ability to correctly realize a pre-determined musical product. This curatorial focus in “praise and worship” music means that what is most often being appropriated from mainstream musical culture is not a particular style or genre, but rather an embodied and culturally situated set of experiences. On “God’s Great Dance Floor,” it would seem, the embodied exhilaration of EDM and the ecstatic devotion of Christian worship are not only one and the same, they are mutually co-dependent.”

This is a reflection informed by how DJ’s often function in rave/EDM events.  It’s an important insight. Josh’s description of CWM and EDM could be applied to any context in terms of how music functions to “shape the ways that believers come to know themselves as religious subjects in worship.”

This kind of music has its most thick participants in teens and twentysomethings.  A population longing for a strong embodied element in their faith…in a culture where opportunities for positive ‘embodied’ activities are getting thinner and thinner.  I’m actually excited to see how this musical movement will impact the broader church.  I spent the summer diving into Ableton live so we can explore it in Hope worship gatherings!

Check out some artists we commissioned on our latest compilation to mashup some old hymn texts with electronic styles.