Category Archives: Church

Psalm 53: Fools Deny Their God within Them (Carlill)

I returned to Adam Carlill’s excellent Psalms for the Common Era to get his take on the difficult Psalm 53. This Psalm (and its nearly identical twin, Psalm 14) is full of rancor, claiming that foolish humans are godless, corrupt, … Continue reading

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Jesus Cristo, esperan├ža do mundo/Jesus Christ, Hope of the World

This fall, I was commissioned to write an arrangement of the lovely Brazilian milonga, “Jesus Cristo, experan├ža do mundo.” It premiered last night in the second installment of Calvin University’s four-part Lessons and Carols. The whole program was lovely and … Continue reading

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Psalm 6: Lord, My God, Do Not Contend (Carlill)

A few weeks ago, a friend recommended Psalms for the Common Era, a collection of 150 Psalm versifications by Adam Carlill. It is a lovely collection that strikes a fine balance between faithfulness to the Hebrew texts and singability for … Continue reading

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I Will Not Let You Go

What do you do when your pastor decides to preach on Genesis 32:22-31? Sure, the story of Jacob’s late night wrestling match with a stranger (man? angel? God?) is a common Old Testament story, but there simply aren’t a lot … Continue reading

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By Blessed Wounds (T.L. Moody)

Tammy Moody wrote a lovely text about trusting God to be a good father rather than a vengeful or cruel one. She and I have discussed the fact that using the image of God as Father is quite out of … Continue reading

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Ask the Complicated Questions (David Bjorlin)

It seems that Dave and I grew up in similar church contexts, where easy answers were dished out with as much relish as jello salad at a Sunday potluck. Unfortunately, those easy answers overlooked the subtleties of real life, used … Continue reading

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Build a Longer Table (David Bjorlin)

I met Dave Bjorlin at a Hymn Society conference in 2018 in a late-night chat among HS night owls. “Good guy,” I thought. What I didn’t know is that he’s an excellent hymn text author. GIA recently published a collection … Continue reading

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Psalm 134: Bless the Lord!

The biblical Songs of Ascents, and my Pilgrim Psalms song series, conclude with Psalm 134. It is a fitting conclusion, with the people blessing God and God blessing the people. I could have written a simple scripture song that rhymed, … Continue reading

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Psalm 133: How Good and Beautiful

Psalm 133 is the quintessential ode to the unity of God’s people. It is short, beginning with a thesis statement (“How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!”) and fleshed out with two supporting images. … Continue reading

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Psalm 132: Dwell in Us

Psalm 132 is a Messianic history Psalm. It tells the story of David vowing not to rest until he had built a house in Jerusalem for the ark of the covenant. God, in turn, honors David’s devotion by promising that … Continue reading

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