My Pilgrim Songs: A Birthday Meditation

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billbarrick1948January 5 comes around right regularly—every year—on my birthday. Yes, my parents were among the “Greatest Generation” who fought and lived during World War II. My birth took place in the first year of the “Baby Boomers.” January 5 marks the traditional twelfth day of Christmas—“twelve drummers drumming,” according to the popular Christmas song. I share my birthday with a number of friends and acquaintances (at least two others in our church family). Famous people also populate the birthday list: Diane Keaton (same day and year; actress), Elena Barrick (my grand-daughter), Robert Duvall (actor), Jim Otto (NFL; his son was one of my students at The Master’s Seminary), Mercury Morris (NFL), Juan Carlos I (king of Spain), Konrad Adenauer (German chancellor), Walter Mondale (American politician), Charlie Rose (TV anchor, host), Carrie Ann Inaba (“Dancing with the Stars”), Umberto Eco (semanticist and one of my favorite authors), Jane Wyman (actress, President Reagan’s first wife), George Reeves (actor—Superman), Kathleen Kenyon (British archaeologist who excavated in Israel), Stephen Decatur (US naval officer in the American Revolution), and many others.… Continue reading

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Guarding the Deposit of Hymnody

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This weekend is the 498th anniversary of Martin Luther’s infamous act of nailing the 95 theses to the Wittenberg Door. Rather than celebrating Halloween, many Christians will recognize Reformation Day this Oct. 31. On Sunday, Protestants around the globe will commemorate the rather simple but bold act of a solitary man, taking a stand against the corruption of the Roman Catholic Church. Many congregations will sing the “Battle Hymn of the Reformation”, Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott; or as English speakers know it, A mighty fortress is our God.

bored-churchRecently, I had a visitor to our church comment, “You guys sing a lot of hymns, you need to get with the program because young people don’t like that stuff.” I could have been offended by the comment (which I think this gentleman was trying to do), but I thought to myself, “actually, as a congregation that sings hymns we stand in line with the historic program of the Church, and I’m good with that” (and as an aside, we have a lot of young people in our church I think would take offense at his comment).… Continue reading

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