Silent Night, Hallelujah to the King – w/ Becky Nissen

Silent Night HallelujahBecky Nissen and I sang “Silent Night” at Surfside PCA the Sunday before Christmas 2013. I really didn’t sing it all that great.  Page CXVI does it much better. However, Becky did an excellent arrangement and she helped me out by singing harmony with me at the end.  At any rate, I really love the song ‘Silent Night.’  It is one of my favorite Christmas songs.  I have often heard it criticized for being theologically ‘light’.  But, I don’t feel that way.  I see the song as theologically focused.  The whole poem is slowly building up to the great proclamation at the end of the third verse – “Jesus, King at Thy Birth!”  This is an astounding statement.  It is saying that Christ needed no coronation. He need no validation from governments or dignitaries. He needed no crown or royal robe to indicate his worth. He validates himself with Himself.  He is the true King!  Even at his birth! Even while lying naked in a manger.  Hallelujah to the King!

Tim & Becky’s Version

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Page CXVI version:

Hallelujah Christmas – SPC Worship

Hallelujah ChristmasThis morning at SPCA, our worship team at Surfside PCA sang “Hallelujah Christmas.”  The musicians were: Chris Taylor, Avery Milz, Gabrielle Guthrie, Rebeca Kipp, Dave Riley, and Wes Lambert. It was so beautiful!  Enjoy!

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“Beautiful Things” by Avery and Chris

This is a cover of the song “Beautiful Things” by Gungor. Two friends, Avery and Chris, sang this at Surfside Presbyterian Church on Sunday morning, June 3, 2012.  I have included some verses below for contemplation.

The Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.  – Genesis 2:7

I will provide for those who grieve in Zion–to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.  – Isaiah 61:3

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!  – 2 Corinthians 5:17

I Know the Plans – a song by Waterdeep

The Christian band Waterdeep wrote a song around the theme of one of my favorite verses of scripture.  Jeremiah 29:11 says – “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  This is good news for those who know Christ.  We attempt to make our plans.  We try to write our own story.  We see ourselves as ‘the good guy’.  Everyone else – they are the ‘bad guys.’  The lines of this script are all false.  Yet, I keep the lies flowing.  I pose as one who is devoted to Christ.  I pose as a righteous man.  But the words of this play are weighed in the balance and found wanting.  I am a blind paperback writer.  Jesus is so good to take the pen out of my hand.  He has plans for me.  He is writing the story.  Plans to love, plans for hope, plans for glory.

Follow along with the lyrics…

You talk of hating war But where’s your own peacetime?
You don’t love anymore – All my children
You linger in your mind everyone’s so unkind;
But you forget about the mines you laid on your land

I know the plans I have for you
I know the things that I want for you to do
I know the plans I have for you
and it hurts sometimes to see you blind

You read up on the lies and keep them in motion.
So clever the disguise of devotion
You tell Me there’s no time. But there you stand joking
But you forgot that I’m the one Who weighs the words you’ve spoken

I know the plans I have for you
I know the things that I want for you to do
I know the plans I have for you
And it hurts sometimes to see you cry

“Joy” a song of lament and longing

I love the song “Joy” by Page CXVI.  It was written by Tifah Phillips as a lament to Christ after her father died of cancer.  (Here is the link to her story ab0ut how the song was written –  Tifah took the song “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, down in my heart” and she rearranged it into a lament.   She recognized that joy is something that is beyond mere happiness.  She understood that true joy, if it is to become true and loving, must be mingled with a sorrow that shares in the sufferings of Christ.

So often I find that we Christians do not know how to be sad.  We tragically believe that the joy of Christ does not allow for sadness or tears or pain, feeling that an expression of sadness is a denial of Christ.  We mask our sadness by wearing a veneer of happiness.  Or we avoid sadness by harboring deep bitterness and anger.  In a weird paradox, we often do both at the same time.

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Music Monday – “Come Thou Fount” by Page CXVI

I love the group Page CXVI (page 116).  The name comes from a reference to page 116 in The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis. It is a poignant passage where Aslan begins to sing Narnia into creation out of a black void.

It starts, “In the darkness something was happening at last. A voice had begun to sing. It was very far away and Digory found it hard to decide from what direction it was coming. Sometimes it seemed to come from all directions at once. Sometimes he almost thought it was coming out of the earth beneath them. Its lower notes were deep enough to be the voice of the earth herself. There were no words. There was hardly even a tune. But it was, beyond comparison, the most beautiful noise he had ever heard. It was so beautiful he could hardly bear it.”
~ C.S. Lewis

Here is Page CXVI singing “Come Thou Fount.”  They added the line “I am bound for the kingdom, want you come with me?”