The best way I know to express the joy of being forgiven is through song. I've been excited to find and compose music that celebrates God's unconditional love and boundless grace, names its power to liberate and lift us, and then invites us to share the blessing with others.Read More
To receive forgiveness is to have a burden lifted from our shoulders; it is a gift of grace upon grace upon grace. Forgiveness frees us from the unrelenting demands of perfectionism and fear of failure; it nourishes hope and encourages us toward a whole and integrated life. When we are forgiven our offenses are in the past, forgotten by God. We're given a clean slate and invited to begin again.
But have these life-changing words found their way to the core of our being? Does our liturgy provide space to celebrate and savor the grace we have received? Do the words and tunes we sing in response to the Assurance of Pardon invite us to be present to moment and to share the joy with others?
I wrote the text and a musical sketch for ‘You Are Present’ months ago but returned to it a few days after the mass shooting in Orlando. The initial feelings of shock and disbelief had given way to anger at the perpetrator and a broken political system that refuses to enact sensible gun control legislation. Anger melted into sadness for the victims, whose lives were ended far too soon, as well as their families and friends.Read More
While Advent marks the beginning of the new liturgical year, I often experience it as a hinge, a transitional space that holds past and future in tension. It invites us to awareness and discernment, to notice where God is at work in our world and in our lives.
This year the tension has been especially strong. Violence and terror persist. The peace foretold by ancient prophets seems illusory in face of ongoing wars, economic instability, and political hubris. The justice that makes valleys low and rough places plain seems far off in face of oppressive, racist systems that scapegoat immigrants and devalue lives of color. And then add our personal challenges and pains, those of our families and friends. Sometimes it can be overwhelming.Read More