I wanted to start throwing some demos up of songs I’ve written or arranged. This is a hymn text that I arranged a bit. The tune is basically the same except for a new melody for a repeated chorus, and then of course the chords are entirely different than the original. It is unclear who the original author of the text is, claims ranging from James Montgomery to St. Augustine. But the text is an excellent ode to the promised land. The text is very reminiscent of “On Jordan’s Stormy Banks.” Enjoy!
Biddleville had its third annual block party tonight. We get a permit and block off the 2200 block of Roslyn Ave, and everyone comes. This year we had a chili cook-off and a bake-off. There must have been between 15 and 20 different kinds of chili including white bean chicken chili, something called Swamp Sauce, a Chocolate Chili (actual chili with chocolate. Not like a ‘dessert pizza.’), american chili, and salsa chili. The bake off included espresso cookies, cakes, jam cookies, pumpkin chocolate bread pudding (ours) and chocolate kalhua cake (shannon’s, our arch-rival). Shannon won, and while her cake was very good, I think there were some shady back room deals and promises being made by the venerable children’s director. I’ll get you next year, Arendt!
What a fantastic community to live in. There must have been around 50 or so people there, and such a diverse group. There was a large group of white folks from Uptown Church, but there were many folks from other churches, a bunch of folks from no churches, a bunch of black folks, a bunch of homosexuals, a ton of kids, marrieds, singles, elders, youngins, poor, well off, bankers and gang bangers. It’s so incredible to see how people with so little on common can come together over a meal. It makes me appreciate so much the subversive nature of the Eucharistic feast. This is a table at which all are sons (in the inheritistic, not gender sense), and all eat as one body the body of the Lord, and drink as one body his blood. There is no male or female, Jew or Greek, slave or free. There is counter-cultural relativizing that happens at baptism, and which is lived out in our meal sharing. Jamey Smith has been talking about that in his book “Desiring the Kingdom” which I’ve been reading.
I get a little bound up when someone says there will be “refreshments” at a church function. It feels so sterile. Like just pop in a pill or something discreet to “freshen up” and get back to the real business at hand, something spiritual or cognitive. Let’s sit down together and sup. I want to see and hear you chewing. I want to break a chunk of bread from the same loaf as you. I want drink wine from the same chalice as you. I want the smells of good food to become a part of what we consider fellowship. I want to take creation into my body turning it into myself with my true family, the Church of God, the bride of Christ. It’s messy and earthy and it sometimes smells. It’s a hood party. And I love it.
Week after week, for millennia and around the globe, a peculiar people is gathered by a call to worship– a call that, in a sense, goes out before the service even begins, but that is then formally declared in the opening of the service in the “call to worship,” often from the Psalms…
The rather mundane fact that people show up is, however, an indicator of something fundamental: that a people has gathered in response to a call. “Whenever we gather for public worship,” [Michael] Horton declares, “it is because we have been summoned. That is what ‘church’ mean: ekklēsia, ‘called out.’ It is not a voluntary society of those whose chief concern is to share, to build community, to enjoy fellowship, to have moral instruction for their children. Rather, it is a society of those who have been chosen, redeemed, called, justified, and are being sanctified until one day they will be glorified.” The very fact that we gather says something, implicitly trains our imagination in a way. “Gathering indicates that Christians are called from the world, from their homes, from their families, to be constituted into a community capable of praising God… The church is constituted as a new people who have been gathered from the nations to remind the world that we are in fact one people. Gathering, therefore, is an eschatological act as it is the foretaste of the unity of the communion of the saints.”
– James K. A. Smith in Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview and Cultural Formation
Michael Horton, A Better Way: Rediscovering the Drama of God-Centered Worship
Stanley Hauerwas, In Good Company: The Church as Polis
Here at last
Ordinary Time is an independent folk acoustic trio rooted in the Christian tradition. Comprised of Ben Keyes (guitar, piano, mandolin), Peter La Grand (guitar, banjo, dobro), and Jill McFadden (guitar, violin), Ordinary Time presents extraordinarily rich vocal harmonies, skillful instrumentation, and thought-provoking lyrics. The band’s oeuvre seamlessly weaves the hymns of generations past with their own new songs– often indistinguishably– producing a sound that ranges from bluegrass-tinged Americana to sacred hard hymn arrangements. The band has released three records and tours semi-annually.Grounded in tradition, innovative in expression, and mature in musicianship, Ordinary Time offers an important and unique voice, gifting us with enduring tunes for the journey of faith.
To Follow?Your burdens are light,but your blessings are heavy,almost too weighty to bearThere’s a hook in this meal,to receive is to follow,and you won’t always say where.What fool would dare follow you?