Friday, February 19, 2010

Health and Transfiguration

I feel like I'm recovering as much from a week of the winter blahs as from a touch of the virus that's been going around campus. It reminded me that we sometimes forget how much of our lives we do spend "on the peak" (to continue the theme from Pastor's Transfiguration sermon again).

Good health, a good home and family, friends and loved ones, work and hobbies - we all have many daily blessings in our lives. It can be difficult to maintain a sense of gratitude and celebration, so in some ways it's good for us to have less-than-perfect, off-peak days to remind us of how good our lives are. It's too tempting and too easy to fill into inspiration cliches on this topic, but it's still worthy of our reflection and notice.

This Sunday is the first Sunday in Lent, and we'll be singing hymns to remind us that the season ahead is one of repentance and reflection. Among them will be ELW 319:

O Lord, thoughout these forty days you prayed and kept the fast;
Inspire repentance for our sin, and free us from our past.

We'll also be singing one of my favorites: "Life Every Voice and Sing." It's such an inspiring anthem of social change and hope for the future. It's music that can accompany us on our march toward the peaks of Palm Sunday and Easter!


  1. I think this past Sunday was the first time I had ever sung "Lift Every Voice and Sing" during Lent. I'm still not entirely sure that it truly ought to be considered a Lenten hymn, but the themes of struggle and pilgrimage do fit in with the season, and it was uplifting to sing it as the closing. A couple of the folks I talked to thought we picked it to honor Black History Month.

  2. Is there ever a bad time to sing "Lift Every Voice and Sing"? Of course, February seems particularly appropriate because of Black History Month, but the hymn can possess resonance and meaning for us on multiple levels. Besides, we can't have nothing but somber music for 40 days of Lent, right?

  3. 40 days of grief? What a nightmare! The final days are actually filled with insight, and even celebrations. While it's useful to sing "The Old Wooden Cross," I prefer it to be blended with the Good News as well. Keep lifting those voices!

  4. I don't think Good News = Happy News. I find a strong Gospel message in the "Old Rugged Cross". It is truly Good News, but it is not necessarily Happy News. One of the problems we face as a society is that we equate Good with Happy or Uplifting. Something may be good for us, but not necessarily what we want to hear or face.

  5. While I agree that language use has become blurred (see want/need or love/sex), the Good News is always happy since it leads us to an eternity with the Creator. Jesus' victory over Death has been the hope of all Christians, and should make us deeply and satisfyingly happy, in my humble opinion.