Music Shapes Us
by Bob Burroughs
February 7, 2011
“The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul.” Johann Sebastian Bach
"The trumpeters and singers performed together in unison to praise and give thanks to the Lord. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals, and other instruments, they raised their voices and praised the Lord with these words:“He is good! His faithful love endures forever!” 2 Chronicles 5:12-14
Great God of all things, Majesty and Glory fill Your throne room. We come today to give You thanks and to praise Your Holy Name with our words and songs. May these words and tunes alway be the ones with which You have inspired lyricists and composers to write so that we may sing Your glory to the heavens and before Your people. Grant us knowledge beyond our own wisdom as we choose carefully what we are to present to our people each week. We can only do this through an intimate relationship with You. Grant that relationship in this New Year. Amen, and Amen.
What Think Ye?
Music - Shapes Us
On January 6, I was reading a remarkable book by Susan Palo Cherwien, titled From Glory Into Glory, Reflections for Worship (MorningStar Music, $24.95-permission granted). MME highly recommends this book. It will fill your heart and mind with thoughts that will challenge you in this New Year.
On page eight, I was completely captured by what Susan wrote and I have permission to share her lines with you:
Music is benign. Words are not neutral. Music can pierce us to the heart, shape us, form us.
Words have power - power to ascend - power to throw down.
In the temple of Jerusalem, it was the duty of the high priest to enter the Holy of Holies once each year on the Day of Atonement - Yom Kippur - and speak aloud the Holy Name of God.
Before He entered, the other priests tied a rope to his leg so that, if his heart was impure and he died in the presence of God, the other priests could drag him back out.
Words are not neutral. Words have power. Music is not benign. Music shapes us - forms us.
Are we singing Holy words? Are we singing Holy songs?
Into what are we being shaped by the words of our mouths?
Should someone tie a rope to our leg?
One of the awesome, powerful and challenging parts of planning weekly worship is to make sure God's people - young and old - sing texts that have spiritual meaning and melodies that touch the heart and soul. then, together, this can bring God's people into one Holy Body of Christ. Not an easy task, is it? Is someone trying to tie a rope to your leg? Meditate on and read again and again the words Susan wrote. I'm reading it everyday this month.
What think ye
Congregational Leadership vs. Kingdom Values
From "The Bullard Journal," November/December 1999, used with permission
Congregational leaders know that their best hope for impact is to
focus on the eternal rather than the temporal. The most effective
leaders understand the necessity of a strong connection between what
they do, how they live, how they plan worship - and Kingdom Values.
George Bullard lists these seven characteristics of congregational leaders
who are reaching their Kingdom potential:
They are leaders who are clear about their own identity.
They are leaders who are clear about their calling and destination.
They are leaders who seek to help congregations fulfill God's vision for them through intentional actions.
They are leaders who are focused on helping congregations address the human hurts and spiritual hopes of individuals.
They are leaders who model servanthood that empowers staff, church members, primary partners, strategic alliances, and various network relationships.
They are leaders who build an enduring organizational culture that has passion for future mission fulfillment that extends far past the current leaders.
They are leaders who know how to place individual and cultural diversity in perspective to the overall core ideology and envisioned future of the organization
This Idea Will Work
Check Up Time
David Smith, head of Knowledge Development at Unilever.
Since a Leader is not supposed to do everything by him/herself, here are some symptoms of an program that is sick - or certainly not feeling well! You might find some of these already in your program!
- There is a tendency for repeated mistakes.
- There is duplicated work, meaning you ask someone to do something and you end up doing it before the other person has a chance to do it!
- Relationships are beginning to be strained.
- Good ideas seem to die on the vine.
- You can't seem to keep up with your peers.
- You are finding yourself becoming too dependent on key individuals and the same people to make the program successful.
- You are way too slow to launch new projects, programs or plans.
If your program has any of these symptoms, perhaps a “check-up” is due.
Taken from the book:
This Idea Will Work--136 Ways to Revitalize Your Music Ministry
Lorenz #30/1794L / $12.50
Two Music Jokes
#1. A young child says to his mother, "Mom, when I grow up I think I'd like to become a musician." After a moment, she replies, "Well honey, you know you can't do both."
#2: A first violinist, a second violinist, a virtuoso violist, and a bass
The second violinist, because:
player are at the four corners of a football field. At the signal, someone
drops a $100.00 bill in the middle of the field and they run to grab it.
Who gets the $100.00?
- No first violinist is going anywhere for only $100.00 dollars.
- There's no such thing as a virtuoso violist.
- The bass player hasn't yet figured out what it's all about.
To read more of this week's MME, including new music reviews, please look to the right.
© 2011 Creator Magazine All Rights Reserved
New Product Reviews
From Glory Into Glory (Reflections for Worship), Susan Palo Cherwein; MorningStar Music #MSM-90-42; 400 pages; Paperback; $24.95.
This is a remarkable book--one that should be in the library of every church musician who plans worship and wishes to infuse meaningful and challenging prose into the worship experience! It is a second volume of Cherwien’s meditations for hymn festivals, celebrations, dedications and worship services. The first volume, Crossings, has received much recognition and has been widely used. From Glory Into Glory includes additional expressions of faith that have made Susan’s work so well-known. It includes suggested hymn festival outlines that serves as the inspiration for the meditations found in the book as well as hymn and anthem indexes. This is a MUST HAVE book.
Presbyterian Association of Musicians
Director: Jeff Jones
A very fine ensemble of Conference Leaders will include:
Thomas Troeger, Preacher; Martha Moore-Keish, Liturgist; Norman MacKenzie, Service Organist and Chamber Choir; Janette Fishell, Recital Organist; John Dickson, Adult Choir; Mel Bringle, Routley Lecturer; Kenny Potter, Youth Choir; Philip Schoultz, Middler Choir; Heather Potter, Children’s Choir; Tim Waugh and William Kyle, Handbells; Brenda Grauer, Artist; Mark Britt, Instruments; Erin Walker Bliss, World Percussion; Amanda Lower and Celeste Anthony, Liturgical Dance.
Go to http://presbymusic.org/montreat.html and see all the details! This is a world-class music and worship conference with literally something for every age group! You will NOT be disappointed, we assure you! If you wish a fresh experience and a kick start for Fall, this is the one for you.
Bits 'n Pieces
MME expresses appreciation to Carson-Newman College, Jefferson City, Tennessee, sponsoring this issue. The Dean of the School of Fine Arts and Chairman of the Department of Music is Dr. Donald Clark Measels. Carson-Newman has a long history of excellence in both church and school music. Graduates from C-N do well in the real world of music and the music faculty is dedicated to excellence. The former Dean, for many years, Dr. Louis Ball, was very well-known in church music circles for his leadership and giftedness at the keyboard. His wife of many years, the talented and very gifted organist, Mary Charlotte, passed away in December from a long struggle with cancer. Carson-Newman is sponsoring this February issue in honor of Mary Charlotte. MME deeply appreciates C-N for doing this.
• A dear friend of many years, Elwyn Raymer, told me some time ago: "You know, Bob-one of the bad things about getting older is that you begin to lose good friends."
How right he was--and still is! On January 14, a long time and very dear hero of mine passed away after a long bout with medical problems. Dr. Wesley Forbis was an encourager, a supporter of those in music ministry, always encouraging others in composition/arranging skills, a man of great intellect, a college football athlete, an excellent conductor, a spiritual musician who loved God, a hymn text writer, and a loving husband and father. He was, indeed, a musician's musician.
The best way to honor Wes is to share with you the second stanza of one of his hymn, "Break Out, O Church of God:"
Cast off, O Church of God, Cast off traditions' hand. Create new ways to share God's love with every race and land.
You will be missed, Wes Forbis!
I slipped on the slippery street up a bit from my house January 12. I was walking Little Missy in the late afternoon and it was beginning to refreeze the melting waters. I came upon some black ice and before I knew it, my feet went out from under me and I landed flat on my back, with my head bouncing twice--hard. I had on a hat and that probably saved me from knocking myself out! Believe it or not--images of your life DO pass before of your eyes in situations like this. I laid there a few moments, making sure noting was broken or had been moved to a new spot in my body, checked the back of my head for brain leakage, and noticed Little Missy was looking back at me, like, "Why are you laying down on that ice??" I slowly got up and walked--very carefully--to the house. No one saw me fall. No one saw me get up. I was all alone out there in the ice wilderness. Was I sore? I had a slight headache for one day, then it moved to my lower neck, and then to the left side of my throat. It was "whip lash," my physician told me. "You'll be fine!" Well, I am, thank you.
Why do I mention this event? This happened to me in an instant--unexpectedly. I wasn't paying attention and I paid the price with a fall.
Like you, I was caught up in the tragedy of the events in Tucson, Arizona, in mid-January. It reminded us that we are living in a complex and deadly world that has both good and bad people. Sometimes, it seems the bad ones are about to take over! But keep this in mind: God is in control. He knew this was going to happen before the beginning of time. He is still on the Throne and Jesus still sits at His right hand. But--it is still up to us to be prepared, on alert, extremely careful, vigilant, aware, and conscious of where we are, what we are doing, where we are going--more than ever before.
In this new year just one month old, always be alert and care for your loved ones. Try not to let a day to by without telling your spouse and children that you love and cherish them. God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1-3) Cling to this promise!)
Bob Burroughs is known primarily in church music circles as a composer/arranger of church music. A graduate of Mars Hill College, Oklahoma Baptist University, and Southwestern Baptist Seminary, he has been active in church music for 55 years, having served as both a full time and part time Minister of Music, as well as a music faculty member at Samford, Mercer (Atlanta campus) and Palm Beach Atlantic Universities. He was, for eight years, Director of the Church Music Department, Florida Baptist Convention, Jacksonville, Florda. He now lives in Greer, South Carolina. He is currently the Editor of CREATOR magazine.
© 2011 Creator Magazine All Rights Reserved