Christ Our Peace

Happy Advent to you! At Jacob’s Well we are spend­ing this Advent sea­son in a teach­ing series called Christ Our Peace. In light of the angels in Luke 2 declar­ing, “Glory to God in the high­est heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”, we’ve been singing a ver­sion of It Came Upon A Mid­night Clear some this month.

It Came Upon A Mid­night Clear

My ver­sion here was inspired by a cou­ple of things. The first was an Advent ser­mon by NT Wright that included a sec­tion about this great Christ­mas hymn.

Christ­mas is about God act­ing in the real world. It’s about peo­ple like Wilber­force – peo­ple who go out into the world and make a dif­fer­ence in the name of Jesus. It’s about peo­ple like you. I am pray­ing that God will call sev­eral of you here tonight not only to trust him for your­selves, to come to know him in and through his incar­nate Son, but also to put your shoul­der to the wheel, to work in prayer and faith, and social and polit­i­cal skill, to carry for­ward the work of the king­dom that was launched at the first Christ­mas. We need you; we need you both in the ordained min­istry and in the active lay work of the church; and we need to stay focused on the task.

That’s why I’m glad that in a few moments we’re going to sing that great hymn ‘It came upon the mid­night clear’. It catches the mean­ing of Luke 2 bet­ter than most of the much-loved but essen­tially escapist car­ols. All except, that is, for the last verse. Look at it and feel free to cor­rect it in your copy! ‘For lo, the days are has­ten­ing on, by prophet-bards fore­told …’ and then, leav­ing behind the Chris­t­ian hope and opt­ing for an ancient pagan super­sti­tion, it says ‘when, with the ever-circling years, comes round the age of gold’. Well, if you think the ages go round in cir­cles and every so often you get a Golden Age when every­thing is peace­ful and happy, think again; if that were the case, why should we work for it? Why not just shrug your shoul­ders and wait? That’s Qué Será Será the­ol­ogy – what­ever will be, will be. That wasn’t good enough for William Wilber­force; it wasn’t good enough for God, and Christ­mas proves it. Some­thing needs to be done. Try singing this instead:

For lo, the days are has­ten­ing on,

by prophets seen of old,

When, by the Spirit’s mighty power

Arrives the time foretold:

When Peace shall over all the earth

Its promised splen­dours fling,

And the whole world give back the song

Which now the angels sing.

 

(I’m going to ask the Suc­cen­tor if we can have those words printed next year, but feel free to sing them tonight any­way.) The point is that God will com­plete the vic­tory gained by Jesus, and that the Spirit is already at work to antic­i­pate that final day. And the way the Spirit does this is quite sim­ple: through you and me.

 

And so we’ve been singing the revised last stanza and it’s recorded this way on my lit­tle demo. My sec­ond inspi­ra­tion is Ella Fitzgerald’s beau­ti­fully swung ver­sion of the song. Her intro chord change really makes it for me, so I co-opted it. Hope you enjoy!

YouTube Preview Image
Posted in Journal | Leave a comment

The Paschal Mystery

I’ve been think­ing about death today, it being Holy Week and then hear­ing about the sud­den stroke of a friend of many of my friends…Our life is so frag­ile and we have a hard time remem­ber­ing that until tragedy strikes. We also ques­tion the lit­tle deaths we expe­ri­ence and won­der where God is in those deaths.

I was read­ing in The Glory of the Lord pt I by Hans Urs Von Balthasar today and hit this quote:

‘If we seek Christ’s beauty in a glory which is not that of the Cru­ci­fied, we are doomed to seek in vain.’ ‘In this self-revelation, God’s beauty embraces death as well as life, fear as well as joy, what we call ‘ugly’ as well as what we call ‘beau­ti­ful.’”

Lord, help us to see that Your ways are not our ways and that even in dark­ness, even in death, You do not aban­don us…

Lord have mercy…

Christ have mercy…

Posted in Journal | Leave a comment

Bright Hopes!

So I’ve been doing some read­ing this win­ter and out of that has come a song. It’s been a while since I’ve writ­ten any­thing, so to me it comes as a breath of fresh air. Some of my read­ing has focused on two arti­cles in the win­ter issue of Image Mag­a­zine (Num­ber 67). Both of these arti­cles are based around the art­work of Georges Rouault.

Rouault is a French artist from around the turn of the cen­tury – 1871–1958. Shunned (or for­got­ten) by art crit­ics and the aca­d­e­mic world since the flat­ten­ing of the accept­able art world by Picasso and the two-dimensionality of Andy Warhol’s pop art move­ment, Rouault’s works are impos­si­ble to pho­to­graph. This ren­ders them use­less or, at least, under-appreciated in the virtual-reality we live in today.

In addi­tion to his art being visu­ally dif­fi­cult for our times, his themes of find­ing hope among dark­ness flies in the face of exis­ten­tial­ism and mid-century nihilism. He presents the deep Chris­t­ian themes of hope, love and com­pas­sion using the sub­ject mat­ter of pros­ti­tutes and skid-row fam­i­lies. His faith led him to painterly med­i­ta­tions on those mar­gin­al­ized by soci­ety and, espe­cially, on their suffering…

At Jacob’s Well, we’ve been focused on liv­ing life more mis­sion­ally. Rouault’s Mis­erere series, with its images of the veil of Veron­ica speaks strongly to that kind of life. In medi­ae­val leg­end, “Veron­ica is a woman who wiped Jesus’ face on the way to the cross. Her cloth mirac­u­lously took no the imprint of his face, and she her­self was mys­te­ri­ously trans­formed into an image of Christ (that is, into a “true image” – the tra­di­tional ety­mol­ogy of “Veron­ica”). Just as Christ took on our like­ness, Veron­ica (and poten­tially all of us) can take on his. So there is an invi­ta­tion implicit in these images: as Christ iden­ti­fied with the suf­fer­ing of the world, you, me, and all of us are called to go into the darkness…”

While I was in the midst of read­ing these arti­cles, I was also read­ing a book by Phillip Yancy called The Bible Jesus Read. This read­ing con­tained two quotes that finally trig­gered the song that fol­lows. They are both obser­va­tions of the Psalms and as we head into the sea­son of Lent are par­tic­u­larly powerful.

We may expe­ri­ence times of unusual close­ness, when prayers are answered in an obvi­ous way and God seems inti­mate and car­ing. We may also expe­ri­ence dark times, when God stays silent, when noth­ing works accord­ing to for­mula and all the Bible’s promises seem glar­ingly false. Fidelity involves learn­ing to trust that, out beyond the perime­ter of dark­ness, God still reigns and has not aban­doned us, no mat­ter how it may appear.

And a sec­ond quote:

Here is what Psalms can do for a per­son in dis­tress. In 1977, at the height of the Cold Way, Ana­toly Shcha­ran­sky, a bril­liant young math­e­mati­cian and chess player, was arrested by the KGB for his repeated attempts to immi­grate to Israel. He spent Thir­teen years inside the Soviet Gulag. From morn­ing to evening Shcha­ran­sky read and stud­ied all 150 psalms (in Hebrew). ‘What does this give me?’ he asked in a let­ter: ‘Grad­u­ally, my felling of great loss and sor­row changes to one of bright hopes.’”

So there you go…that’s how I got to this one —> Bright Hopes!

Bright Hopes! by mc (Feb 2011)

We will wor­ship You

In the  bright­est of our days

We will thank You for abundance


As we praise Your name

In the dark­est of our nights

Will you give us eyes to see You there


You strengthen us though dark­ness hides

The warm­ing power of the sun

You are our hope  –  You never fade

Your pres­ence flows through­out our lives


We will wor­ship You

In the bright­est of our days

We will thank You for Your goodness


As we praise Your name

In the dark­est of our nights

Will you help us see You hid­den there


We will shout with joy

Even though we shake with fear

We will lift your name with singing


And when trou­bles come

As indeed they surely must

Will You give us pails to bail our boats


You shine through us as night­time tries

To quench the burn­ing of the sun

Your dawn erupts with nature’s sound

We stand with all creation’s song


If we’d but look   –  We’d surely see

The mark­ers which You woo us with

They’re ever there but we’re asleep

Oh Jesus will You wake us up?


This night seems long  –  This death seems black

You stand beyond the reach of both

Our earth­bound minds can’t comprehend

And so they get the best of us


tell me – why is it so hard for us to

see You – even as we catch a glimpse it

slips thru –  just as we were gain­ing ground we

undo – all the ways You’re work­ing in our lives

yet You are always work­ing in our lives

why are we so seem­ingly surprised


That,    1 — You never give up on us

2 — You never walk out on us

3 — You never lose sight of us

4 – You never stop lov­ing us


You change our sor­rows to bright hopes

You change our mad­ness to bright hopes

You change our lonely to bright hopes

You change our bit­ter to bright hopes


You change our tank­ing You change our quitting

You change our faith­less You change our worry

You change our worth­less You change our hurry

You change our brit­tle You change our broken


You change us! You change us! Bright Hopes!

You change us! You change us! Bright Hopes!


You are always work­ing in our lives

Help us see You work­ing in our lives

Posted in Journal | 3 Responses

How Long, How Long, How Long O Lord?

Here’s a demo I recorded of a song for the Lament series last Lent — from Psalm 13.…..it’s also one of next Monday’s Jacob’s Well scrip­ture pas­sages — which you can receive on the ole’ twitter…follow here

Enjoy!

mc

How Long, How Long, How Long O Lord?

Posted in Journal | Leave a comment

It Won’t Be Too Long Now!

Well, it really won’t be too long now! Christ­mas Eve is upon us. Hope you’ve had a great Advent sea­son this year. Here’s a link to a song I just recorded this week. If you go down­load it at band­camp all the pro­ceeds will go to help out some friends of ours who’ve expe­ri­enced some large hos­pi­tal bills in the past few weeks. Thanks for listening!

Posted in Journal | 1 Response

Silent Night!

Well, these are the last two videos to post up — just a cou­ple of wood­wind wood­land elves. We hope you’ve enjoyed the shin­nana­gins! Merry Christ­mas to all of you!

luv,

mikey c & all his secret siblings

Silent Night!

Flute!
YouTube Preview Image
Clar­inet!
YouTube Preview Image

Posted in Journal | Leave a comment

O Holy Night!

We’re almost to Christ­mas Eve…Christmas Eve Eve as my mom always says…One of my favorite songs on the record is up next…

O Holy Night!

drums!
YouTube Preview Image
bass!
YouTube Preview Image
banjo!
YouTube Preview Image
trum­pet!
YouTube Preview Image
trom­bone!
YouTube Preview Image
pirate ship choir!
YouTube Preview Image
aaAAAR­RRGGGG!

Posted in Journal | Tagged | Leave a comment

Ring Out O Bells!

More bizarre goings-on from the Secret Siblings…this time, it’s space­ships, trum­pets and strange blink­ing lights…

Ring Out O Bells!

drums!
YouTube Preview Image
the 2 note!
YouTube Preview Image
space­ships!
YouTube Preview Image
trum­pet!
YouTube Preview Image
weird­ness!
YouTube Preview Image

Posted in Journal | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Wake Up!

Another in the series of Advent posts…this song is many people’s favorite on the new record…Lori Chaf­fer is to blame for that…

Wake Up!

Drums!
YouTube Preview Image

Bass! + Activ­i­ties!
YouTube Preview Image

Piano Lessons!
YouTube Preview Image

Posted in Journal | Tagged , | Leave a comment

There’s A Voice In The Wilderness

More videos! Couldn’t find the drums on my com­puter, so am link­ing to a face­book video from last year…enjoy!

mc

There’s A Voice In The Wilderness

Drums!

Bass!
YouTube Preview Image

Gui­tar!
YouTube Preview Image

Bow!
YouTube Preview Image

Posted in Journal | Leave a comment