Category Archives: Music for Mind and Heart

Bach’s Reformation Day Cantatas

I’m looking forward to having Reformation Day music to enjoy from now on! Bach the Lutheran is an incredible contribution to “reeeal music.”

Reformation500

Luther “wrote [the 95] theses on indulgences and posted them on the church of All Saints on 31 October 1517,” wrote Phillip Melanchthon. Protestants have celebrated this event since the late 16th century, and October 31th became Reformation Day in the Protestant areas of Germany in the early 18th century.

The famous composer J. S. Bach wrote cantatas for Reformation Day. For the one in 1727, he wrote the following cantata, based on Luther’s A Mighty Fortress is our God (“Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott”).

And for the Reformation Day of 1725, he wrote this one.

Let us, with Bach, rejoice and be glad.

Post Tenebras Lux

For more information on these cantatas, see here and here.

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Theological & Doxological Meditation #50

  Q. 50. What is required in the second commandment?

A. The second commandment requireth the receiving, observing, and keeping pure and entire, all such religious worship and ordinances as God hath appointed in his word.

Dt. 12:32 “Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it.

Mt 28:20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

The Law of the Lord is Perfect
#152, The Trinity Hymnal (1990)
Psalm 19:7-11
Anonymous
THE LAW OF THE LORD, Irregular
Anonymous; alt. 1990

The Law of the Lord is perfect,
Converting the soul.
The testimony of the Lord is sure,
Making wise the simple.

More to be desired are they than gold,
Yea, than much fine gold.
Sweeter also than honey
And the honeycomb.

The statutes of the Lord are right,
Rejoicing the heart.
The commandments of the Lord are pure,
Enlight’ning the eyes.

More to be desired are they than gold,
Yea, than much fine gold.
Sweeter also than honey
And the honeycomb.

The fear of the Lord is clean,
Enduring forever.
The judgments of the Lord are true,
and righteous altogether.

More to be desired are they than gold,
Yea, than much fine gold.
Sweeter also than honey
And the honeycomb.

Theological & Doxological Meditation #49

theological-doxological-meditations-logoSecond Commandment: Worship the Right God the Right Way

49. Q. Which is the second commandment?

A. The second commandment is,
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image,
or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above,
or that is in the earth beneath,
or that is in the water under the earth:
thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them:
for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God,
visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children
unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
(Exodus 20:4-6; Deuteronomy 5:8-10)

All Praise to God, Who Reigns Above
#4, The Trinity Hymnal (©1990)
Johann J. Schutz, 1675
Tr. by Frances E. Cox, 1864
MIT FREUDEN ZART 8.7.8.7.8.8.7.
Bohemian Brethren’s Gesangbuch, 1566

All praise to God, who reigns above, the God of all creation,
The God of wonders, pow’r and love, the God of our salvation!
With healing balm my soul he fills, the God who every sorrow stills.
To God all praise and glory!

What God’s almighty pow’r hath made his gracious mercy keepeth;
By morning dawn or evening shade his watchful eye ne’er sleepeth;
Within the kingdom of his might, lo, all is just and all is right.
To God all praise and glory!

I cried to him in time of need: Lord God, O hear my calling!
For death he gave me life indeed and kept my feet from falling.
For this my thanks shall endless be; O thank him, thank our God with me.
To God all praise and glory!

The Lord forsaketh not his flock, his chosen generation:
He is their refuge and their rock, their peace and their salvation.
As with a mother’s tender hand he leads his own, his chosen band.
To God all praise and glory!

Ye who confess Christ’s holy name, to God give praise and glory!
Ye who the Father’s pow’r proclaim, to God give praise and glory!
All idols underfoot be trod, the Lord is God! The Lord is God!
To God all praise and glory!

Then come before his presence now and banish fear and sadness;
To your Redeemer pay your vow and sing with joy and gladness:
Though great distress my soul befell, the Lord, my God, did all things well.
To God all praise and glory!

Michael Card on an “Informed Imagination”

Promoting his Biblical Imagination series of books and CDs, Michael Card  (one of my favorites) discusses how a quote by his late mentor, William Lane, regarding “informed imagination” lead him to investigate what Scripture might have to say about such a concept, and concludes it is the bridge between the head and the heart. “Head” people being the argumentative doctrinal people, while “heart” people are appropriately experiential, yet tend to not do their homework. Where head and heart converge is what Michael Card believes constitutes an “informed imagination.” I’ll have to do something with that one day.

An Ordinary Reformation

WHI Ordinary Banner

Westminster Confession of Faith 1.7. All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all: yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed for salvation, are so clearly propounded, and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them.

Westminster Confession of Faith 5.3. God, in his ordinary providence, maketh use of means, yet is free to work without, above, and against them, at his pleasure.

Westminster Confession of Faith 18.3. This infallible assurance doth not so belong to the essence of faith, but that a true believer may wait long, and conflict with many difficulties before he be partaker of it: yet, being enabled by the Spirit to know the things which are freely given him of God, he may, without extraordinary revelation, in the right use of ordinary means, attain thereunto. And therefore it is the duty of everyone to give all diligence to make his calling and election sure, that thereby his heart may be enlarged in peace and joy in the Holy Ghost, in love and thankfulness to God, and in strength and cheerfulness in the duties of obedience, the proper fruits of this assurance; so far is it from inclining men to looseness.

If everything in the Christian life is “dynamic,” “epic,” “impactful,” “powerful,” and “extraordinary,” then the extraordinary becomes the expected norm, rather than the exception. It’s easy to see that with such high spiritual expectations, disillusionment is sure to follow. For this reason, I’d like to direct you to a series of episodes of the White Horse Inn called “Ordinary.” Along with concepts like “sovereignty,” and “predestination,” one of the unsung distinctive doctrines of Reformed theology is the way that God ordinarily works through ordinary means in our lives by His Word and sacraments. He reveals himself and his work of redemption to us in the Scriptures, grants to his chosen regeneration, faith, justification, repentance, sanctification, communion with him in grace and assurance. That he ordinarily does so through the “ordinary means of grace” (the Word read and preached, the sacraments and prayer), means that, indeed, in extraordinary circumstances, he is free to work by extraordinary means. The extraordinary nature of these means should be our first hint that this will not be what Christians should expect every Sunday during their so-called “worship experience.” Take some time to listen and be reformed to a liberatingly ordinary Christian spirituality.

Courage in the Ordinary

Ordinary Excellence

Extraordinary Gifts Through Ordinary Means

The God of the Ordinary

ACE and WHI Remember Dr. C. Everett Koop (1916-2013)

Yesterday I tweeted a request to Reformed bloggers in the know to post on the Reformed side of American medical icon, the late Dr. C. Everett Koop, who died Monday at the age of 96. Dr. Koop’s medical and public service bonafides are a matter of public record. One quick and easy summary may of course be accessed, where else? Wikipedia! Here also is a press release from HHS Secretary, Kathleen Sabelius, detailing his legacy from the point of view of the federal government. But in addition to his service to the City of Man, Dr. C. Everett Koop was an accomplished lay leader in the City of God, serving as a Presbyterian church elder, and until the day of his death, a board member of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals (ACE), the para-church organization which was so instrumental in introducing me to and cultivating in me the Reformed faith and theology.

Incidentally, tomorrow afternoon, my pastor and I depart for ACE’s Texas Hill Country Bible Conference in Boerne, Texas. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of tribute they put together for him there. For now, though, the ACE website offers a “Koop Classic”: Life, Bioethics and Christianity (2010, ACE).

But in answer to my (“all about me”–apologies to Dr. D.G. Hart 😉 request, two of my favorite Reformed bloggers has indeed posted remembrances of Dr. C. Everett Koop: Drs. Michael Horton and Kim Riddlebarger. You may read Dr. Horton’s at the White Horse Inn blog, and Dr. Riddlebarger’s post at the Riddleblog. Horton gives a nice summary of meeting Dr. Koop and his service to his church, Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, PA and the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, featuring the audio of a 2001 interview and a link to Dr. Koop’s contribution (“Faith-Healing and the Sovereignty of God”) to Horton’s out of print 1990 expose of televangelism, The Agony of Deceit–download it as soon as possible! Riddlebarger adds an amusing anecdote of Dr. Koop’s sobering reaction to his sense of humor. Both posts are great reads.

Be sure to peruse the other links I tweeted yesterday regarding the late Dr. C. Everett Koop from Christianity Today and Banner of Truth magazines and the Gospel Coalition blog featuring both compliment and criticism. Finally, in search of an image of Dr. Koop inside the building of Tenth Pres, I ran across a video of his 2010 marriage to Cora Hogue (pray comfort for her in her loss), officiated by former pastor, Phil Ryken, who is now the President of Wheaton College, whose sermons are still featured on ACE’s broadcast, Every Last Word. For those who are interested in viewing this heartwarming moment, the service begins about 30 minutes into the video, after the beautiful music of Westminster Brass.

Koop-Hogue Wedding Ceremony from Tenth Presbyterian Church on Vimeo.

Theological & Doxological Meditation #48

Theology in the First Commandment

Q. 48. What are we specially taught by these words before me in the first commandment?

A. These words before me in the first commandment
teach us that God,
who seeth all things,
taketh notice of,
and is much displeased with,
the sin of having any other god (Deuteronomy 30:17-18; Psalm 44:20-21; Ezekiel 8:12) .

Jesus, Priceless Treasure
#656, Trinity Hymnal (© 1990)
Johann Franck, 1655
Tr. By Catherine Winkworth, 1863
JESU, MEINE FREUDE
Johann Crüger, 1649

Jesus, priceless treasure,
Source of purest pleasure,
Truest Friend to me:
Ah, how long in anguish
Shall my spirit languish,
Yearning, Lord, for thee?
Thine I am, O spotless Lamb!
I will suffer naught to hide thee,
Naught I ask beside thee.

In thine arms I rest me;
Foes who would molest me
Cannot reach me here.
Though the earth be shaking,
Ev’ry heart be quaking,
Jesus calms my fear.
Lightnings flash and thunders crash;
Yet, though sin and hell assail me,
Jesus will not fail me.

Satan, I defy thee;
Death, I now decry thee;
Fear, I bid thee cease.
World, thou shalt not harm me
Nor thy threats alarm me while I sing of peace.
God’s great pow’r
Guards ev’ry hour;
Earth and all its depths adore him,
Silent bow before him.

Hence, with earthly treasure!
Thou art all my pleasure,
Jesus, all my choice.
Hence, thou empty glory!
Naught to me thy story,
Told with tempting voice.
Pain or loss or shame or cross
Shall not from my Savior move me,
Since he deigns to love me.

Hence, all fear and sadness!
For the Lord of gladness,
Jesus, enters in.
Those who love the Father,
Though the storms may gather,
Still have peace within.
Yea, whate’er I here must bear,
Thou art still my purest pleasure,
Jesus, priceless treasure.

Theological & Doxological Meditations #48

Theology in the First Commandment

Q. What are we specially taught by these words, before me, in the first commandment?

 A. These words, before me, in the first commandment, teach us, that God, who seeth all things, taketh notice of, and is much displeased with, the sin of having any other God (Deuteronomy 30:17-18; Psalm 44:20-21; Ezekiel 8:12)

Now Blessed Be the Lord Our God

#11, Trinity Hymnal (© 1990)

Psalm 72:8,11,12,18,19

Scottish Psalter, 1650 Mod.

McKEE C.M.

Spiritual

Arr. By Harry T. Burleigh, 1939

Now blessed be the Lord our God,

The God of Israel,

For he alone does wondrous works

In glory that excel.

And blessed be his glorious name

To all eternity;

The whole earth let his glory fill.

Amen, so let it be.

His wide dominion shall extend

From sea to utmost sea,

And unto earth’s remotest bounds

His peaceful rule shall be.

Yea, all the kings shall bow to him,

His rule all nations hail;

He will regard the poor man’s cry

When other helpers fail.

Theological & Doxological Meditation #46

The First Requirement

 Q. What is required in the first commandment?

A. The first commandment requireth us to know and acknowledge God to be the only true God, and our God; and to worship and glorify him accordingly (1 Chronicles 28:9; Isaiah 45:20-25; Matthew4:10).

O People Blest, Whose Sons in Youth

 (play file 362 in “T&D mp3″ sidebar widget)

 #362, Trinity Hymnal (© 1990)
From Psalm 144:12-15
The Psalter, 1912; alt. 1961
SHORTLE 8.8.6.D rep.
Charles G. Goodrich, 1905

O people blest, whose sons in youth,
in sturdy strength and noble truth,
Like plants in vigor spring;
Whose daughters fair, A queenly race,
are like the cornerstones that grace
the palace of a king, the palace of a king.

O people blest, when flock and field
Their rich, abundant increase yield,
And blessings multiply;
When plenty all thy children share,
And no invading foe is there,
And no distressful cry, and no distressful cry.

O happy people, favored land,
To whom the Lord with lib’ral hand
Has thus his goodness shown;
Yea, surely is that people blest
By whom Jehovah is confessed
To be their God alone, to be their God alone.

Theological & Doxological Meditation #45

The First Commandment: Worship the Right God

Q. Which is the first commandment?

A. The first commandment is, Thou shalt have no other gods before me (Exodus 20:3; Deuteronomy 5:7).

God Is Known Among His People
(play file 066 in “T&D mp3″ sidebar widget)
#66, Trinity Hymnal (© 1990)
From Psalm 76
The Psalter 1912; alt. 1990, mod.

God is known among his people,
every mouth his praises fill;
From of old he has established
his abode onZion’s hill;
There he broke the sword and arrow,
bade the noise of war be still.

Excellent and glorious are you,
With your trophies from the fray;
You have slain the mighty warriors,
Wrapped in sleep of death are they;
When your anger once is risen,
Who can stand in that dread day?

When from heav’n your sentence sounded,
All the earth in fear was still,
While to save the meek and lowly
God in judgment wrought his will;
e’en the wrath of man shall praise you,
your designs it shall fulfill.

Vow and pay unto Jehovah,
Him your God forever own;
All men, bring your gifts before him,
Worship him, and him alone;
Mighty kings obey and fear him,
Princes bow before his throne.

Theological & Doxological Meditation #44

Teaching of the Decalogue’s Preface

44. What doth the preface to the Ten Commandments teach us?

A. The preface to the Ten Commandments teacheth us, that because God is the Lord, and our God, and Redeemer, therefore we are bound to keep all of his commandments (Luke 1:74-75; 1 Peter1:14-19).

Blest Are the Undefiled

(play file 557 in “T&D mp3″ sidebar widget)

 #557, Trinity Hymnal (© 1990)
From Psalm 119
Isaac Watts, 1719; mod.
DOWNS C.M.
Lowell Mason, 1832

Blest are the undefiled in heart,
Whose ways are right and clean,
Who never from the law depart,
But fly from ev’ry sin.

Blest are the men who keep your word
And practice your commands;
With their whole heart they seek the Lord,
And serve you with their hands.

Great is their peace who love your law;
How firm their souls abide!
Nor can a bold temptation draw
Their steady feet aside.

Then shall my heart have inward joy,
And keep my face from shame,
When all your statutes I obey,
And honor all your name.

Theological & Doxological Meditation #43

The Decalogue’s Preface
 

Q. What is the preface to the ten commandments?
 

A. The preface to the ten commandments is in these words, I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage (Exodus 20:2).

O God, Most Holy Are Your Ways

(play file 039 in “T&D mp3” sidebar widget)

#39, The Trinity Hymnal (© 1990)
Psalm 77:13-20
The Psalter, 1912; alt. 1990, mod.
VATER UNSER 8.8.8.8.8.8.
V. Schumann’s Geistliche Lider, 1539

O God, most holy are your ways,
and who like you deserves my praise?
You only do such wondrous things,
The whole wide world your glory sings;
Your outstretched arm your people saved,
Though sore distressed and long enslaved.

O God, from you the waters fled,
The depths were moved with mighty dread,
The swelling clouds their torments poured,
And o’er the earth the tempest roard;
‘mid lightning’s flash and thunder’s sound
great trembling shook the solid ground.

Your way was in the sea, O God,
Through mighty waters, deep and broad.
None understood but God alone,
To man your footsteps were unknown;
But safe your people you did keep,
Almighty Shepherd of your sheep.

So Glad I’m Not Alone…

…in writing hokey, mediocre music as an amateur, presuming it’ll edify others as much as it does me (see here  for an example). Why am I not alone? Someone has done so by rewriting O Come, O Come Emmanuel in the light of Harold Camping’s soon-to-be-proven miscalculation of Judgment Day. You can listen to it here. (HT: James Swan)

Michael Card on the Misadventure of Mere Head Knowledge

Michael Card‘s latest album, Luke: A World Turned Upside Down, features a song called “The Bridge,” based on the parable of the Good Samaritan, demonstrating just what kind of misadventure mere head knowledge of the Word of God can be. I just heard last night that he’ll be conducting his current Biblical Imagination Conference an hour away from my home, down at Waxahachie Bible Church on April 8-9. Don’t know if I can make Friday, don’t know if I can make the conference all day Saturday, but some of us may attend the concert Saturday night. I’ll keep you posted if it does happen. Anyway, I wanted to share this song with you, since it’s so consistent with the theme of this blog. But first, the passage from God’s Word which inspired the song:

And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?”

And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”

And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”

But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?”

He said, “The one who showed him mercy.”

And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”

(Luke 10:25-37 ESV)

THE BRIDGE (click here to listen to song)

Michael Card

 

There was a legal-minded man

Intellectually inclined

But the facts just seemed to pile up

And fester in his mind

 

So he asked a twisted question

“What am I supposed to do?”

His heart said he should love

But his mind still wondered, “who?”

 

From the head to the heart

From the heart to the mind

The Truth must make a journey

If we ever hope to find

You can see it as a bridge

Or as a narrow, winding road

The fact is Truth must travel

If it ever will be told

 

Then the answer came concealed

In the story Jesus told

Of a lonely, outcast traveler

Upon a dangerous road

When men with all the answers

Left the wounded man to die

While the lonely clueless stranger

Refused to pass him by

 

The answer’s not an answer

If it’s for the mind alone

It’s the orchard in the apple seed

It’s the seed that must be sown

It has to do with loving

And giving all you have to give

But only those who cross the bridge

Can ever hope to live.

 

2010 Covenant Artists ASCAP

piano, Vance Taylor

bass, Norbert Putnam

drums, Chester Thompson

vocals, Scott Roley, Michael Card

percussion, Ken Lewis

 

RAPechism

I just went to the Sovereign Grace Ministries website and downloaded yet another rap written by “The Voice” Curtis Allen, who previously was challenged to rap on the Heidelberg Catechism in honor of Kevin DeYoung’s recent book on it, and now, for reasons I’ve yet to read, if not only because of popular demand due to it’s novelty, a rap on the Westminster Shorter Catechism, accompanied, and containing commentary and instruction, by Dr. D. A. Carson.

When you get your bottom jaw off the floor,  you can visit both posts here and here. You can download each song if you please, and read the lyrics (some of us need to read the lyrics). After I downloaded them, I put them together in a playlist with an album name of my own invention, “RAPechism.”

Looks like those Baptistic, charismatic Calvinists are good for something after all 🙂

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