A group of songwriters and worship leaders in my hometown have just released a collection of psalms and hymns – When We Call His Name: Songs of Comfort and Grace. All of the songs were written and recorded in the artists bedrooms, basements and attic nooks in holland and then mixed and mastered by Drew Elliot in Grand Rapids last week. A friend in New Jersey created the cover art. Bandcamp graciously hosts this collective enterprise on their servers somewhere. It is digital art in age of Coronavirus. See below for more info.
Holy Week Devotional (pdf)
Bellwether Arts creates liturgical art to bless the church through a mediation on the Church year.
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In the spring of 2020 the world was rocked on its foundations by the spread of a deadly virus called COVID-19. The so-called Coronavirus attacks the lungs and brings a fever. It hospitalizes many and kills some. Invisible and contagious in the digital age, it sent ahead of itself a pandemic of dread: if someone wasn’t scared for themselves, they worried for their grandparents, their children, or their livelihoods. Churches stopped meeting. Entire industries halted in their tracks. As governments decreed that people must stay in their homes to prevent further spread of the illness, hundreds of millions of people waited in uncertainty, illness and abject terror. After only a few days it felt like a bad dream, but no one had woken up yet. After a week or two, everything was grey.
Where do you go in times like that? What is there to say in the face of something so terrible? The Psalms provide the answer. The people of Israel, too, faced sicknesses they didn’t understand. They, too, were exiled and separated. In their pain, they cried out to God: never hiding their grievance, and always trusting God to listen, they shout and weep and gnash their teeth in prayers of lament. And God heard them.
Lament – or holy complaint – is a way of holding God accountable for the promises he made to his children. The Psalmist can only write, “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?” from the place of one who believes wholeheartedly that the Lord is able to protect, heal, and restore; and that, one day, the promised help will arrive. Praying lament does not show a lack of faith in God; rather, the opposite. Lament is asking for help from the great Helper.
This EP was recorded in the heart of Lent, coincidently the first week of the Coronavirus shutdown in Michigan. As the weight of the crisis began to sink in for us, we each wanted to offer something back to our communities. We pieced them together, track by track, from four studios in four different homes as a timely gift. These songs, full of words borrowed mainly from the psalms, are the best we have for this moment. May they help you pray in lament. May they be a source of comfort to your weary souls. May they teach you to call on the name of Jesus.