Musings From A Musical Mind

Posts tagged ‘Easter’

Reflections of the Resurrection

Today I heard a beautiful rendition of Leonard Cohen’s song “Hallelujah”.  The lyrics had been changed to reflect a more “Christian” version.

I have always been a little troubled by the original lyrics by Leonard Cohen.  They are a little provocative and edgy – which I guess was the point of why he wrote them.  But for someone like me who was raised in the church, there was always something missing from them, much as I liked the music.

As I reflect on Easter weekend, the death and resurrection of our Lord, it is with a certain somber sweetness.  There never are enough adequate words each year as we celebrate new life in Christ.  For this reason, music has always been an outlet of expression.  Songs like “Hosanna”, “Agnus Dei” and “The Wonderful Cross”  sung by Michael W. Smith have special meaning.  A meaning that takes me back several years when the staff of our church went to a late night premier of “The Passion of the Christ”.  It was the following morning in the shower when I was listening to “The Wonderful Cross” that I could not stop sobbing because the meaning was so poignantly clear.  

The longer I have lived, the more I am lulled to sleep by repetition, rhetoric and yes, even the same Bible verses over and over again.  But when music is added to the equation, something special happens for me.  I want things to be fresh and new and I look for ways to have that happen in  my own life.

Recently we have become a part of a local church body.  Youth and seniors.  New and old.  Depth of experience and fresh uncharted territory.  All in an attempt to forge forward and yet have things remain the same to find a different and yet a new way to tell the story.  Over and over again.  It’s all about the empty cross, the empty grave and the resurrection.  Nothing much else matters.  Not style or tradition, not repetition or change.  People come and go – but the message remains constant.  This is what the church is about.  We don’t just “do” church.  We live it and find that personal place where change happens deep within.

But if you, like me – find yourself reflecting in the same manner as previous years –  find songs like the ones I mentioned above and watch the video I have posted below.  This is fresh and new.  Same story and message.  Different lyrics and music.  All in an effort to challenge, and change us from the inside out.  May we never be lulled to sleep and take for granted the wonder, the miracle of new birth and everlasting life that was bought with a very high price.

Happy Resurrection to all of you!

God Bless

Lyrics belong to Kelly Mooney.  Her story and the song are below:

Lyrics To Hallelujah by Kelly Mooney
Adapted to the music of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah
A crown of thorns placed on His head
He knew that He would soon be dead
He said did you forget me Father did you?
They nailed Him to a wooden cross
Soon all the world would feel the loss
Of Christ the King before His Hallelujah
Hallelujah x4
He hung His head and prepared to die
Then lifted His face up to the sky
Said I am coming home now Father to you
A reed which held His final sip
Was gently lifted to his lips
He drank His last and gave His soul to glory
Hallelujah x4
The soldier who had used his sword
To pierce the body of our Lord
Said truly this is Jesus Christ our Savior
He looked with fear upon his sword
Then turned to face his Christ and Lord
Fell to his knees crying Hallelujah
Hallelujah x4
Took from his head the thorny crown
And wrapped him in a linen gown
And laid him down to rest inside the tomb
The holes in his hands, his feet and side
Now in our hearts we know he died
To save us from ourselves oh hallelujah
Hallelujah x4
Three days went by again they came
To move the stone to bless the slain
With oil and spice anointing hallelujah
But as they went to move the stone
They saw that they were not alone
But Jesus Christ has risen Hallelujah
Hallelujah x4
Hallelujah x4
All right reserved by Leonard Cohen and Kelley Mooney.
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Good Friday Thoughts

Maundy Thursday Table

Maundy Thursday Table (Photo credit: revger)

Last night we attended our first ever Maundy Thursday event at our local United Methodist church. Both my husband and I were raised in denominations that did not celebrate the Lenten season so this was different and beautiful.  A time of deep reflection about the events in the upper room and the commission to “love”.  Soup and bread to remember the last supper – and special meaningful music.

I think sometimes we get caught up preparing for Easter Sunday – we miss the events leading up to the cross.  The events that are all about anguish and suffering. Knowing what had to be done – and yet still being present for those people who still needed Him.  I was once again struck by something when we watched, “The Bible” where Peter cuts off the ear of a soldier – and Jesus walks over and restores the ear.  It is huge, in light of the fact that these same men were out to arrest Jesus.  A simple gesture of caring and love.  In a world gone mad.

How could someone be so compassionate in the midst of such stress?  Many of us would have failed the test if we were on trial for our life.  He never lost His cool – He focused on the mission and never wavered.  He knew what was important and what was at stake.  He lived in the moment but lived for the future.

I think of how punchy and short I can be with people when I’m in a stressful or ‘time-pressure’ situation.  I’ve witnessed others around me that have done the same thing in their reactions.  It’s not pretty.  We tend to take it out on others when we are in a bad way – or retreat to be by ourselves to lick our wounds and not come out of hiding.  Jesus did neither.

I am thankful for a calm and rational Jesus.  One who stayed present and caring.  One who saw into the future to where I am today and said, “she is worth all of this”.

No matter what your thoughts are as you reflect on the events of a crucified Jesus – I am grateful that in spite of ourselves – a way was made for you and me.  It doesn’t matter what denomination who come from or where you worship – if you believe that Jesus came to earth and was the sacrifice for you – that is all you need to believe.  The rest will work itself out.  Just trust in Him – and that is enough.

May this be the best Easter weekend you have ever had!

God Bless

Beneath The Cross Of Jesus

Yesterday we sang this old traditional hymn at the closing of our morning church service.  It has been years since I have sung this – or even heard it.  The simple beauty of the words and harmonies are hard to describe.   It is a wonderful reminder in this season of Lent.

Like many of you, we are watching the mini series, “The Bible” on Sunday nights.  Yesterday we saw the dramatization of the birth of Jesus and some of his early ministry.  The calling of Peter was just as I had always pictured it to be.  A charismatic, positive and caring Jesus, a cynical, passionate and somewhat angry Peter.  It was a match made in heaven.  The scene of the calling to follow Jesus is wonderful.  Next week,  just in time for Palm Sunday and Easter weekends will be the miracles, teachings and then the betrayal and long walk to the cross.

If you are like me you have many questions.  Not that it really happened – but why it had to happen like it did.  Fully God and yet fully human, Jesus is someone whose life and appearance puzzles even the most devout critic.  Why He had to come the way He did – and save us by sending himself – we will never know.  The back story to the temptations by Satan is a deep mystery.   Why would that have even been an issue for God at all?   But it was.  And Jesus struggled with it.

I may not understand it.  But I have come to realize that God does not tell us everything about His plan 0r Himself.  We just need to take it on faith.  We are on a “need to know” basis – and apparently it is not important that we know why.  Only that it is.  And we either accept it or turn it away.  Either way it does not change it.   One thing is certain.  I am a hot mess by myself and need a Savior.  And God knew that even before I was born.  A plan was made for me before I even knew about it.   And I accept this gift and am very thankful.

Enjoy this wonderful version of “Beneath The Cross of Jesus” that I found on youtube sung by a college choir.  You may remember it from years ago – or you may have never heard it before.  Either way you will love it.  My prayer for you today is that you too will just accept that there are things that you will never understand – but admit that you too need a Savior to save you from yourself.  You will find Him if you truly want to be found.  He will change your life in so many ways – if you will open up and let Him in to it.

God Bless

Text: Elizabeth C. Clephane, 1830-1869
Music: Frederick C. Maker, 1844-1927
Tune: ST. CHRISTOPHER, Meter: 76.86.86.86

1. Beneath the cross of Jesus
I fain would take my stand,
the shadow of a mighty rock
within a weary land;
a home within the wilderness,
a rest upon the way,
from the burning of the noontide heat,
and the burden of the day.

2. Upon that cross of Jesus
mine eye at times can see
the very dying form of One
who suffered there for me;
and from my stricken heart with tears
two wonders I confess:
the wonders of redeeming love
and my unworthiness.

3. I take, O cross, thy shadow
for my abiding place;
I ask no other sunshine than
the sunshine of his face;
content to let the world go by,
to know no gain nor loss,
my sinful self my only shame,
my glory all the cross.

What Is Lent?

If you were ever wondering – here is a wonderful and humorous explanation. Thanks, Chuck!

God Bless

Be Ye Glad

Yesterday, on Easter Sunday – we attended a beautiful service with much music, scripture and reflection.  As the pipe organ swelled and the choir sang majestic praises – it was very emotional for me.  After the service we had a brunch with my parents and when we got home I saw that one of my friends had posted this song on facebook, and something resonated with me right there and then.  It was something intangible, something I couldn’t put my finger on – I just knew that this song was exactly what I was feeling all morning long as I too, found an inner joy and peace at the celebration of our Lord’s defeat of death and the grave.

I remember singing this song in choir years ago and I also found it in a songbook for some of my vocal students to sing over the years.  It’s one of my favorites.

In this Easter season – it is wonderful to reflect and “Be Ye Glad”.

Enjoy a wonderful arrangement of this song by “Glad”.

 

God Bless

In these days of confused situations
In these nights of restless remorse,
When the heart and the soul of a nation
Lay wounded and cold as a corpse

From the grave of the innocent Adam
Comes a song bringing joy to the sad.
Oh your cry has been heard and the ransom
Has been paid up in full, be ye glad

Chorus:
Oh, be ye glad, oh, be ye glad.
Every debt that you’ve ever had
Has been paid up in full by the grace of the Lord.
Be ye glad, be ye glad, be ye glad

So be like lights on the rim of the water
Giving hope in a storm sea of night
Be a refuge amidst the slaughter
Of these fugitives in their flight

For you are timeless and part of a puzzle.
You are winsome and young as a lad.
And there is no disease or no struggle
That can pull you from God, be ye glad

The Wonderful Cross

Cover of "The Passion of the Christ (Defi...

Cover via Amazon

Last night Greg and I had the privilege to see a dramatic presentation of the last few hours of Jesus’ life here on earth. It is always difficult for me to see it played out, with all the betrayal, hypocrisy and cruelty – and I must admit, watching “The Passion Of The Christ” a few years back was a very hard movie to watch.


It forces me to face the bloody slaughter of an innocent man – at the hands of the Roman guards, notorious for their torture and brutality.  It forces me to come to grips with the fact that there was nothing about it pleasant, easy, or inviting.  I want to run away – put my hands over my ears to stop the chanting and mocking.

Like you, I want to think of pleasant things surrounding Easter weekend, not betrayal, blood, torture and death.  I want that cross to somehow be neater, cleaner, more civilized, more cultured, more dignified and easy to watch.

But I realize that it is in that brutality, pain, torture and blood shed – that my freedom was bought – and there was no other way.  And I must accept this in faith, as I don’t really understand it.

Why did it have to happen this way?  Isn’t God, God?  Can’t He just snap His fingers and take sin away?  Why the cross?  What is the back story that no one knows?  Why this complicated process to bring us back into right relationship with God?

I don’t know.  I’ve had many explain it – theorize it – surmise from scripture – but it still leaves me wondering about the great mystery of God’s love.

And I am speechless.

And humbled.

The Cross.

The Wonderful Cross.

Our ticket into eternal life.

If we accept it – just as it is – the mystery, the blood, the gore, the torture, the betrayal, the mocking, the shame, the agony – all of it.

And though I do not understand it – I accept it by faith.  And am eternally grateful.

The song below was playing the morning after I first saw “The Passion Of The Christ” in the theater.  I will never forget how it made me stop in my tracks and reflect – and I knew I would never again look at the crucifixion of Christ in the same way again.

May you too, discover the mystery and wonder of God’s great love this Easter.

God Bless

Ancient Words

 

Bible Eric 2

Bible Eric 2 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As we celebrate the week leading up to Easter Sunday – certain old familiar songs, like this one, “Ancient Words” go round and round in my head.

 

“Ancient words ever true

 

changing me, and changing you

 

we have come with open hearts

 

oh let the ancient words impart”

 

This a favorite song off of Michael W. Smith‘s “Worship Again” CD – and I trust it will bless and encourage you today.

 

 

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