Tag Archives: music

Doubting Thomas | Nickel Creek | Second Sunday in Easter (Year C)

One of my favorite Nickel Creek Songs, “Doubting Thomas” is a great way to get the gears going for preparation for the Second Sunday in Lent (Year C). You can listen to the beautiful song here.

Doubting Thomas by Nickel Creek

What will be left when I’ve drawn my last breath
Besides the folks I’ve met and the folks who’ve known me
Will I discover a soul-saving love
Or just the dirt above and below me

I’m a doubting Thomas
I took a promise
But I do not feel safe
Oh me of little faith

Sometimes I pray for a slap in the face
Then I beg to be spared cause I’m a coward
If there’s a master of death
I bet he’s holding his breath
As I show the blind and tell the deaf about his power

I’m a doubting Thomas
I can’t keep my promises
Cause I don’t know what’s safe
Oh me of little faith

Can I be used to help others find truth
When I’m scared I’ll find proof that it’s a lie
Can I be led down a trail dropping bread crumbs
That prove I’m not ready to die

Please give me time to decipher the signs
Please forgive me for time that I’ve wasted

I’m a doubting Thomas
I’ll take your promise
Though I know nothin’s safe
Oh me of little faith

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Communion Prayer | Maundy Thursday (Year C)

This communion prayer includes sung congregational responses using three verses of the hymn “What Wondrous Love Is This.” It is submitted by Andy James via LiturgyLink.Net.

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.

Eternal God,
it is right to give our thanks and praise,
for your love marks the expanse of creation,
your justice stretches out into the farthest land,
and your peace makes all things complete.

You are worthy of praise.

Yet we fall short.
We have stepped away from your love.
We have ignored your call for justice.
We have sowed conflict rather than peace.

Yet you know no boundaries.
Nothing we say or do can keep you away from us.
Even amidst all our brokenness, you kept calling us back,
with prophets and messengers and kings to guide us in your ways.

And in the fullness of time, you sent your own son, Jesus,
to intervene in our world,
to call us to know your love,
to show us that we are worthy to bring you praise.

And so we join our voices with the multitude of the ages,
singing joyfully of your wondrous love:

What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul,
what wondrous love is this, O my soul.
What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss
to bear the heavy cross for my soul, for my soul,
to bear the heavy cross for my soul.

Your love in Jesus Christ is wondrous, almighty God.
In him you stepped into our world;
in him you taught us how to live in harmony with one another;
in him you healed and made whole;
in him you challenged us to journey a new road together.

In his death, you took on the fullness of our pain and suffering,
and in his resurrection, you showed us that death will never have the final word.

So just as he did with his disciples on the night of his arrest,
so we too gather,
sharing a meal,
receiving the bread of his body,
welcoming the cup of his salvation,
and trusting that we too will be made whole.

And so we sing our praise to you for the wonder of this gift:

To God and to the Lamb I will sing, I will sing,
to God and to the Lamb, I will sing;
to God and to the Lamb who is the great I Am,
while millions join the theme, I will sing, I will sing,
while millions join the theme, I will sing!

And so gather us with those millions, loving Lord.

Pour out your Holy Spirit upon us and upon these gifts of bread and cup,
that the bread we break and the cup we bless
may be the communion of the body and blood of Christ.

By your Spirit, make us one with Christ and one another,
united in faith, hope, and love with all those who share this feast
as we reach out and serve the world with your grace, mercy, and hope
until your kingdom comes
and we are free to sing with all creation forever and ever:

And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on,
and when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on;
and when from death I’m free, I’ll sing and joyful be,
and through eternity I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on,
and through eternity I’ll sing on.

Through Christ, with Christ, in Christ,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
all glory and honor are yours, almighty God,
now and forever. Amen.

Submitted by Rev. Andy James, First Presbyterian Church, Whitestone, New York

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Resonating the Gospel

resonating

2012 Camp Cherokee Staff in downtown Cartersville, Georgia

It had been a long day. In fact, it had been a long week. The past several days had been spent training a new group of counselors to be faithful, joyful, and responsible stewards of the children that would join us in fellowship at Camp Cherokee in the summer of 2012. Jean and Kelly Howington, the directors of Cherokee Retreat Center (a ministry of Cherokee Presbytery) and I had spent these long days and nights equipping us all with the many skills needed to embark upon this sacred calling of Christian fellowship. The counselors were (understandably) exhausted and we were all ready for a couple days off before the first sounds of campers echoed through the hundred acres of Cherokee Retreat Center.

Before we adjourned, however, we escaped the muggy heat of the early evening and gathered in the dining hall of Parker Lodge for a closing worship before we enjoyed our much-deserved R & R. As the sun dipped behind the shores of Lake Allatoona, we sat cross-legged in a circle on the hard wood floors with a series of candles and liturgical dressings in the middle. The service began.

In the fashion familiar to all of us, we were called to worship and I began to lead an opening song on my guitar. I then invited us into a time of confession. We confessed our sins both silently and then together using a corporate prayer of confession.

I then mustered up a smile and assured the weary staff that our sins had been forgiven. “Hear the good news of the Gospel: Jesus Christ was crucified, died, and was buried. But that is not the end of that story and it certainly is not the end of our own for on the third day Christ rose from the dead that we might be forgiven of our sins and live as a new creation! Hallelujah!”

In response to this good news of the Gospel, we sang “Halle, Halle, Hallelujah,” a tune which we all knew by heart. The rhythmic, Caribbean groove began to erupt from my guitar, resonate off the hard wood floors, and resound with the live acoustics of the room.

The first time through, it sucked. No one was inspired, myself included. We had just heard that the Resurrected Christ had, quite literally, just snatched us out of the jaws of death, claimed us as his own, freed us from sin, and defeated the power of death once and for all and….we just sat there, with a most uninspiring song on our lips and no true joy in our hearts.

Philip, however, would have none of this.

As we entered the second time through singing “Halle, Halle, Hallelujah,” this 10 year old child of God and glad recipient of grace began to enthusiastically beat on the hard wood floor to the groove of the Caribbean melody. We looked at him and smiled…but continued in our lackluster singing.

Philip, however, would have none of this.

With stubbornness and determination (those gifts of the Spirit given to every 10 year old, I suppose), Philip continued to beat ever more enthusiastically on the hard wood floor with a contagious grin upon his face. He looked around, waiting for us to get our act together.

One by one, as we entered the third singing of our sung response to God’s grace, we began to join Philip in his joy. Following the lead of this percussive 10 year old, some of us began clapping, others stamped on the floor, and others swayed back and forth with celebration in our hearts.

As we finished the song, the room was filled with a chorus of witnesses, responding to the assurance that we are forgiven, all because Philip had reminded us of what it meant to truly embody the joy of the Gospel.

Brothers and Sisters in Christ, the Gospel goes from empty tomb to empty words without the presence of the Spirit! It is only through the life-giving Spirit that the Gospel resonates within us in such a way that we cannot help but proclaim it with all our hearts and all of our bodies.

And sometimes, curiously enough, it takes the wisdom of a 10 year old to remind us of this truth.

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