Siren Song

loud-musicThe Song:

At noon and 6pm, music pours forth from my church.  Bells, or electric facsimiles of them, send out five minutes of tunes into the neighborhood around us.  In a closet behind the sanctuary, a cassette is timed to play through outdoor speakers.

It sounds really nice.  We have a few different tapes we can play, even a tape of Christmas tunes to play in December.  I’ve threatened to look online for one that plays Beatles tunes.

The Siren:

Perched atop our building is an elaborate speaker, pointing in all four directions.  When this sound cranks up, people go into their basements.   I suppose the sound is grating, but it could save your life.

It seems to go off at least once every spring when dangerous clouds are swirling overhead. When I hear it, I feel an instant pang in my gut, a warning that all is not well.

What sort of vibe is your church putting out?

Is your church a gentle lullaby, coaxing people in, or is it a brash trumpet, alerting all to imminent danger? Does your church present itself as a sacntuary of rest and comfort, or as a watchtower blowing the whistle on the threats we face?

Which is the right one to be?

A prophetic, siren blaring church is uniquely suited for fighting injustice, for helping the marginalized.  Members of a Siren church write letters and go on marches.  They take risks and carry the banner of Jesus Christ into a broken world.

A song church that sends music out to all who can hear is sending an invitation of peace, gentleness, maybe healing.  Inside the walls of this church is a place of comfort, of creativity, of togetherness.  Members of a Song church invite others to praise God and acknowledge each other as made in the image of God.

There are, of course, many other types of churches, but still I wonder…which of these two would you be drawn to?  Is God’s Kingdom blessed by both?

In the spring, on the first Monday of the month, something interesting happens.  The siren fires up for its monthly test at the same time  that the bells begin to play.

Let me tell you, for a couple minutes there at noon, it’s quite a racket.

But to the discerning ear…

it sounds like harmony.

Have a great week,

Mitch

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5 Christmas Classic Tunes for a Messed Up World

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Things are kind of…messed up in our world. Have you noticed?

And while I am determined to feel all the Peace, Love, Hope, and Joy that Christmas brings, I’m equally determined to keep praying for what is broken.

I don’t want to turn a blind eye to the very world Jesus comes to save.

And so, in that spirit, here are 5 classic Christmas songs to keep us mindful of both– A world of hurt, and Emmanuel, God with us. Enjoy!

#1. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.

If you’ve never seen the movie “Meet Me in St Louis,” make it a priority! It’s one of my favorite Christmas movies. Pay attention to the words Judy Garland sings here. We’ve “sweetened” the lyrics a bit over the years, but I prefer the original.

#2. Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

I’ve heard maybe a dozen remakes of this song this year, but John and Yoko do it the best. There’s an original, “official” video for this song available on Youtube, but its graphic depictions of war make it too tragic for me to share. This is another, “lighter” version, with the original song.

#3. Grown Up Christmas List

One of my all time favorite songs. I love Amy Grant’s voice, and the words echo my own grown up list.

#4. Silent Night / 7 O’Clock News

‘This song seems best to underscore the reality of our world. Even though the authentic newscast is from 46 years ago, it is still the same world crying out, and the same savior bringing “heavenly peace”.

#5. Some Children See Him

If there’s one link you click, be sure and watch this one. Although Andy Williams also sang this beautifully, I just love James Taylor’s take here. And on this one, particularly, watch the video put together by a Youtube user. It is a fantastic vision of Christ through the eyes of the world, and it truly brings me feelings of hope and peace.

There are lots of other Christmas songs out there that address both the problems of the world and the joy of a savior. This year, these are the one I’m carrying in my heart.  Please add your own in the comments.

May Christmas be not an escape from the woes of our world…

But an answer to them.

Have a Very Merry Christmas,

Mitch

God’s Time

God’s Time…..by Mitch

God are you impatient with me?  I know you’ve got every reason to be.
All those things that I swore I would do.  All those things I never got around to.

And all the while I was shirking my share, all the world was in need of repair.
All I’m asking is a brand new start, I’ll follow the beat of my heart

To God’s time now. God’s time now.
Follow the leader, pick up the beat or fall behind.
In a moment things can change unless you rearrange
your priorities and put them all in line

In line with God’s time.

Now I’m hearing something different.  I could swear you said be patient
When temptation swallows me whole, and when I neglect my soul.

All the dreams that I’ve tried to juggle, all I needed was to give up the struggle.
Before the harvest you plant the seed, the waiting is hard unless you believe in

God’s time now.  God’s time now
What’s in the hurry?  The joy is the journey, so take it slow.
A life fulfilled is found by making every moment count
So count your blessings now and you will find yourself

In God’s time.

So are you patient or impatient, I wish I could understand.
Sometimes it feels like you’re saying hurry up, slow down as fast as you can.

But when I think about it, yes I see some truth in this paradox.
The world would be a marvelous place, if we felt God’s grace,and set our clocks to

God’s time now. God’s time now.
Life unfolds slowly, so we must live boldly what we believe.
And when life on earth is through, time goes on for me and you.
For eternity is waiting right behind
God’s time.

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You can listen and download here: http://www.reverbnation.com/artist/artist_songs/536931

Have a great week,

Mitch