Friday, September 23, 2005

Ready? Okay! 2 3 4...

Saw Sufjan Stevens and the Illinoisemakers in St. Louis last night.
What a FUN show!
The whole show had a pep rally theme - all the musicians in cheerleading outfits (with big block I's on the front of course), cheers for the introduction of several songs, spirit fingers, and a human pyramid. It was a riot! I was especially amazed at the musicianship and teamwork this group had. There was lots of jumping from instrument to instrument throughout the show.
I've only listened to the "Illinois" album for a few weeks now, but I loved the energy that the live performances brought to the songs.
"They are Night Zombies..." was probably my favorite.
That and the random guy who yelled, "I love Polish people!!" after "Casmir Pulaski Day."
So, thanks to my brother for introducing me to Sufjan and encouraging me to go see him live.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Music is her food

My iPod has been working for a week and a half now - and it is my new best friend. I've been rediscovering all of my music that used to sit around lonely and unloved -- and now listening to it again is like catching up with an old friend. Maybe I can't travel - but I can really escape in music. Am I melodramatic? Hah.'s a few of my old friends:
  • Dumb (but fun!) pop music - EnVogue, Destiny's Child, and others too embarrassing to share...
  • My piano playing friends - Stevie and Billy (Wonder and Joel, that is)
  • Beethoven's 7th Symphony
  • Sarah McLachlan
  • Musicals - Godspell Prologue, Lion King soundtrack
  • Caedmon's Call Guild CDs....especially the sound check from Guild 3 and their cover of "In God's Country"

And some new friends too!:

  • Over the Rhine
  • Robbie Seay Band
  • The Normals - "Grace"

Don't bother me when my headphones are on.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Rejoice with those who rejoice - mourn with those who mourn?

I had a rough Sunday a few days ago. I had a crisis of faith of sorts. Not so much of what I believe - but how I practice it (especially as a leader). Fortunately I've been able to process it with some good friends - to whom I am very grateful. But I'd like to put a few thoughts on here to remind myself of what God's teaching me.

The basic issue is the problem of pain - which is nothing new - but this week I couldn't ignore it.
I'm not naive enough to think that people don't suffer or question every week. And yet on Sunday we come together to sing songs about who God is and what He has done...and this is often from a very comfortable/happy mindset. But not last Sunday...

So over the past week -
The hurricane tragedy surrounded everyone - which is a national/global/human tragedy.
But the thing that got to me most: A young, strong, healthy 21-year old guy from church gets a surprising and devastating diagnosis with little warning or hope - and he and his family are in church.

As I walked out to lead the body in songs of praise - my heart was so heavy as I saw this family and especially this kid. I have NO idea what they're experiencing - doubt, anger, pain,...
And I sang,

"Forever God is faithful, forever God is strong...."

"And right now in the good times and bad - You are on Your throne and You are God alone"

"I know for sure all of my days are held in Your hand, crafted into Your perfect plan"

- and I know all of those things are true.
But it was not comforting - it actually made me want to grieve.

My brother and sister were home from college - so we all ate lunch together. As my dad thanked God for our home, our food, and our health - and prayed for those who did not have some of those things - I lost it. (Meaning, I went to the bathroom - and bawled.)

I know all the right answers about worshipping God despite circumstances. But I think I had a moment that Melissa has told me about that I've not had often.
Come soon, Jesus. This world hurts and we want to be with you. You promised there will be a day when there won't be any more pain or sorrow. Let it be very soon - as You always intended it to be.
Forgive me for forgetting where I am - and what You've told me about that.

Then, yesterday, I got an email with a video based on Psalm 137 - images from the hurricane and a song called, "Don't Make Us Sing This." I'm there. And I'm not the first or last person to feel that way.
(If you go this site you can request a free download - it's Music Video 2. It's by Waterdeep's Lori Chaffer.)
It's okay to mourn - and yet have faith.