Standing on the Son? Sun?

Standing on the Son? Sun?

Special thanks to our guest John Mark McMillan on this podcast episode, where we run into the song Standing on the Sun, and wrestle with the wild imagination found in the lyrics. John Mark asked, in affect, "Are you addressing someone standing on "the Son", or Jesus himself standing on "the sun." The conversation continues on the podcast ...

There are many times in life, almost daily it seems, where the mundane, crushing normal stuff of every day life crowds our vision so much that thinking about eternity seems impossible. Often when the noise of this world is intruded upon by a call from the next world--whether in a Scripture, a person's voice, a worship meeting--it is not welcome at first, like an unwanted phone ringing. Hopefully, music is a way to ease us into these moments where we can push back the crowded spaces of our life-works and think on our eternal destination a bit more.

The Psalmists made no apology for the conflict found between the difficulties of our present lives and the meaning we find in the eternal Kingdom of God. We can read in one Psalm about a victorious moment with God, and in the next a painful lament virtually on the brink of death about how things have just gone to hell. N.T. Wright makes this very clear in his pungent work, The Case for the Psalms. This is why the Psalms, in their unflinching witness to the paradox of knowing God in both pain and peace, are the right place to practice our prayers and our worship. A worship diet outside of the Psalms, we might be bold enough to say, is a junk food diet often based on a single food fixation. 

Our commitment is to stay grounded in the guided conversation of the Psalms; this was true in 1998 when we began and still today as we unfold our latest album Down Here And Up Above.

Some have inquired exactly what Psalm this song was derived from, and to that we have to answer a whole bunch! Re-reading Jack Taylor's book The Hallelujah Factor it is striking the ways and times we are challenged to consider God so much larger than ourselves, so far beyond the world that we presently can see. One example might be Psalm 18:13-16:

    The LORD thundered from heaven; 
      the voice of the Most High resounded
      amid the hail and burning coals. 
    He shot his arrows and scattered his enemies; 
      great bolts of lightning flashed, and they were confused. 
    Then at your command, O LORD, 
      at the blast of your breath, 
    the bottom of the sea could be seen, 
      and the foundations of the earth were laid bare. 
    He reached down from heaven and rescued me; 
      he drew me out of deep waters.

A passage from the book of Revelation (1:12-18) might take us even closer to the vision of the song:

When I turned to see who was speaking to me, I saw seven gold lampstands. And standing in the middle of the lampstands was someone like the Son of Man. He was wearing a long robe with a gold sash across his chest. His head and his hair were white like wool, as white as snow. And his eyes were like flames of fire. His feet were like polished bronze refined in a furnace, and his voice thundered like mighty ocean waves. He held seven stars in his right hand, and a sharp two-edged sword came from his mouth. And his face was like the sun in all its brilliance. 
When I saw him, I fell at his feet as if I were dead. But he laid his right hand on me and said, “Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last. I am the living one. I died, but look—I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave.

Lost in the gap?

Lost in the gap?

Ever been lost? There is nothing better, when you are starting to get that "panicky" lost feeling, than seeing a sign, a cairn, or a mark of some kind that affirms other people have been there before. 

A lot of people walking with God feel like they are out in the woods right now. Many of us feel a bit lonely, and a bit lost, as we are trying to navigate our life with Jesus and the evolutions that are happening so fast in Church life these days. Maybe we all need some new signposts and some new songs to keep us together? 

That's why we are here.

Enter The Worship Circle has been composing and singing songs for people who are navigating new spaces with God for many, many years. We are still doing it today. By the way, it seems like God might be doing a lot of this on purpose; he might be pushing us out of the traditional and the mainstream in many ways so that we can look at the world around us differently. What if he is doing this because he is expanding his love-net to catch more beautiful people? If so, what is your response to that? As we continue to journey together, we hope our music will be part of this new love-net as it is trying to provide a warm welcome for everyone, and we also hope that our music will become a soundtrack for your pioneering journey. Thanks for putting us in your backpack.

Ben Pasley and Karla Adolphe

P.S. Karla talks about the Songs of Ascent (Psalm 120-134) in this Podcast, why not read them today?

P.S.S. Do you want to learn more about how we are evolving our concert booking process? We have been working on something that connects community, miniature crowd-funding, and hospitality so that even those with no big organizational backing can still promote a successful concert! The video below will warm up the idea for you ...

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Super Soft Tri-Blend T-Shirt, only a few left!

Watch Ben + Karla on 100 Huntley Street for a great interview about concerts for communities in the Gap!

Watch Ben + Karla on 100 Huntley Street for a great interview about concerts for communities in the Gap!

 

Man vs. Wild

Man vs. Wild

Sometimes life feels like a survival game played out on camera like Bear Grylls looking for berries in a barren field, or trying to build a fire with wet straw. In these moments a person either prays for a solution or a friend, or both.  

When we read the Psalms we find out we are not the first to find ourselves in a tough spot, or the first to struggle in our prayers and thoughts. One of the reason we build our music on the "heart of the Psalmist" is because this give us permission to be real. If you can be honest about your difficulties and still let your heart out to God, then maybe you, too, have the heart of the Psalmist!

The song You Will Remember reminds us that we are never alone, and we can find friendship in suffering which is much better than the unfulfilled dream of a painless life.. Listen to the song right here for free!

God’s love pursues us just like in Isaiah 49:15b–16 (NLT)

Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you! See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands. Always in my mind is a picture of Jerusalem’s walls in [your] ruins.

P.S. If you want to read the Psalm Karla referred to in this podcast episode, then go to Psalm 37 and enjoy the whole thing. She was thinking about verse 7, but the whole Psalm connects to our conversation.

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Contemplative + inspiring! ON SALE $10

Contemplative + inspiring! ON SALE $10

There is a gap

There is a gap

Just in-between the edges of the traditional Church and the new spaces created by the missional Church is a beautiful space where amazing things are happening. In some ways this has also created a "gap" between the sound and content of mainstream music of faith, and the kind of music that we might listen do in our daily lives. We want to sing "into the gap!"

Enter TheWorship Circle has always blended a love for the family of faith with a warm welcome for those who feel marginalized and unseen, and our new concert season reflects this commitment. If this inspires you, then find out more about booking!

Maybe you have questions like:

  • How much does it cost?
  • Do I have to be an organizational leader?
  • How far ahead do we plan?
  • Should I wait on a professional to do the promotions?

The answer to all these and more are delivered as soon as you fill out the super short booking interest form here.

P.S. Look forward to unfolding this conversation about worship for those in the margins in coming episodes!

Am I really a heavenly thing?

Am I really a heavenly thing?

I often look down on myself. I know I am not supposed to, but I still do. Does this ever happen in your world?

The song Heavenly Things was written to be an antidote to a poor self view. But, do us a favor, before you listen to it you have to ask yourself this question, "Do I intend to argue with God about how he sees me, or do I want to agree with him right away?" If you want to hear us have a short chat about this struggle enjoy our new podcast! We were reading Psalm 29 in the New Living Translation when we were first inspired with the idea for the song. The album is called Down Here And Up Above and is available in our store.

We recently created a video, featuring the song Heavenly Things, from the beautiful contributions of our community. Enter The Worship Circle has always been known for collaboration and interactivity with our fans and friends. Including you--our visually creative friends--in this new video was a real treat for us!

 

P.S. The way to get these podcasts delivered right to your door is to subscribe to our email conversation! And, yes, we will soon add this conversation to the iTunes podcast directory...