Category Archives: Blog Posts

Emergency Procedures for Churches

Our thoughts and prayers this week are with all those who lost a loved one or their homes and belongings in the recent tornados that passed through Central Illinois. We pray in this difficult time for their healing in body, mind, and soul and that the Lord will show us how we can help in the best possible ways. This is also perhaps a good time to mention that several… Read More »

Fanfare, Fugue, and Chorale on CRUCIFER (Brass Choir)

The best sacred music is not “background” music, but rather music that proclaims the eternal truths of Scripture whether it is a simple song or one in which the message is written into the music. The hymn “Lift High the Cross” (CRUCIFER) has become an iconic one for many Christians because it highlights the centrality of the crucifixion of Jesus to the faith. Martin Luther speaks powerfully to this dogma in his Theology… Read More »

Handel’s Messiah – Biblical, Christological, and Eschatological

In anticipation of the 40th Annual Peoria “Sing-It-Yourself” Messiah tomorrow on the Trinity Concert Series (www.trinityconcertseries.org), I would like to offer these thoughts on the work. Arguably the most popular musical work of all time, Handel’s Messiah sets to beautiful and awe-inspiring music Old and New Testament passages that proclaim the salvation story. According to one scholar,  the librettist Charles Jennens (1700-73) “intended Messiah as a statement of faith in… Read More »

I0: Psalm 90 – “Lord, Thou Hast Been Our Refuge” (Vaughan Williams)

As we leave one year and enter a new one, it is a good time to pray and meditate upon Psalm 90, that wonderful Psalm of Moses that considers the timeless nature of our God. Below you will find a link to “Lord, Thou Has Been Our Refuge,” a setting of Psalm 90 by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958). In this setting Vaughan Williams combines an original setting of Psalm 90… Read More »

I5: Psalm 95 – “O Come, Let Us Sing Unto the Lord” (Handel)

Psalm 95 is an exhortation to sing and praise God for all He is and all that He does. Here is a setting of selected verses of this psalm by Georg Frideric Handel (1685-1759). The text is below the recording link or can be downloaded by clicking here. Find 30 minutes today to relax, listen to this psalm, and meditate on all that God has done for you, especially by redeeming… Read More »

Instruments in the Bible – Bells

It turns out that we have two bell concerts on the Trinity Concert Series this year (www.trinityconcertseries.org). Just this past weekend we welcomed handbell soloist Kristine Stout (www.joybelltheater.com) to our church and on May 17, Dr. John Behnke will bring the Alleluia Ringers from Concordia University, Wisconsin for a concert. Bells are mentioned only seven times in Scriptures and only in one context. However, it is obvious from the context… Read More »

Involve Young Budding Musicians in Your Sacred Music Program

Congratulations to all the students who performed this afternoon at the Illinois Music Educator Association’s annual state conference in Peoria. Your performances were truly musical and very inspiring touching many aspects of our lives and souls. Thanks also to the teachers and directors who made these concerts possible. Your efforts are producing blessings upon number. It is essential for us as church musicians to tap into the hundreds and hundreds… Read More »

L1: Psalm 121 – “I Will Lift up Mine Eyes” (Walford Davies)

Having grown up in the mountains of Papua New Guinea, Psalm 121 has always been a favorite: “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills.” We were literally surrounded by mountains. In the distance on either end of the valley the mountains cascaded over each other in infinite shades of blue and green. As we looked southeast towards Mt. Hagen, we could see the rugged mountain range over which the… Read More »

Lent and the Reality of Sacrifice

In this Lenten season, it is good for Christians to realize that our world, including our religious world, is a highly sanitized one, especially when compared to past civilizations. We gather in beautiful churches and finely decorated homes and speak, sing, and pray of sacrifice, but we tend to forget that sacrificial laws of the Old Testament were very real and very bloody. If we were able to observe these sacrifices,… Read More »

Less Than 500 Years Old

In preparation for conducting the American Kantorei’s Reformation Concert at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, last October, I listened to the Roland Bainton biography of Martin Luther. Since then I’ve listened to David Teems’ biography of William Tyndale, who was executed for translating the Bible into English, and am now listening to his other book about the King James Bible. At one point through all of this, I came to the… Read More »