A Song for Sunday–We Are

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We Are–James Tealy, Hillary McBride, Chuck Butler, Ed Cash

Every secret, every shame
Every fear, every pain
Live inside the dark
But that’s not who we are
We are children of the day

So wake up, sleeper, lift your head
We were meant for more than this
Fight the shadows, conquer death
Make the most of the time we have left

Today felt like one of “those” days, for no good reason. On the surface, all was well. I got to sleep in. My husband made breakfast for the family. We got to spend time together as we did a few things around the house and the yard. But in spite of how smoothly the day was going, I was a bit anxious and edgy, although I couldn’t say exactly why.

Since I am now the music director for the evening Mass every Sunday, I grabbed my phone and listened to “We Are” on YouTube while tackling the laundry and a few other chores. This was the new song for tonight. I know myself well enough to know that sometimes, the anxiety just needs to be pushed aside, so I worked away at the song and hoped that it would go well–not just for my sake, but for the people I would be leading.

Once we arrived at the church, I was finally able to calm my mind and settle into the prayerful atmosphere. As I listened to the readings, and as I led the music, I felt that wonderful, familiar peace come over me. In spite of all the worries that had been hanging over me all day–worries that I couldn’t quite identify, but still couldn’t chase away–I felt calm. As I played and sang, I felt like I was exactly where I should be, doing exactly what I should be doing. I can’t say I always know that I am doing what God intends for me, but when I do, there’s nothing like it, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

We are the light of the world
We are the city on a hill
We are the light of the world
We gotta, we gotta, we gotta let the light shine

Whatever your light for the world is, don’t hide it. Push aside the uncertainty, the doubts, the obstacles that might be in your way. Let your light shine, because that’s how God’s work gets done. However small each of us might be, we can all make a difference in our own way, a way that no one else can quite duplicate.

And with all the challenges out there–watch the evening news for a few minutes, on the off chance that you don’t know what I mean–it would seem that the world really needs more light right now.

We gotta, we gotta, we gotta let the light shine

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A Song for Sunday–The River

The River — Jordan Feliz

I know a place where we can go
To lay the troubles down eating your soul
I know a place where mercy flows
Take the stains make you whiter than snow
Like a tide, it is rising up deep inside
A current that moves and makes it come alive
Living water that brings the dead to life, oh-oh-oh-oh

Plenty of songs go right by me when I have the radio on. If I were asked 10 minutes later what I’d just heard, I wouldn’t be able to tell you. Every once in a while, though, something grabs my attention, and in those cases, Shazam is my favourite tool. It identifies songs for me, and then saves them so I can look them up later.

This is one of those songs. It didn’t just go by, it struck me as authentic, worth a careful listen, because I could hear something genuine in his singing. Curious, I checked out Jordan Feliz’s official site. This comes straight from his About page:

Some years from now, the name Jordan Feliz might be the obvious answer to a trivia question that goes something like this:

 

What artist launched his career as a hard-touring heavy metal singer, then switched gears to become a church worship leader, before finally signing a Nashville record deal and making his mark as a songwriter and soulful R&B-groove-pop artist?

Well, if the question comes up some day, you’ll already know the answer: Jordan Feliz.

So that’s where the authenticity comes from: he’s lived it. Switching gears like that means redefining yourself, first of all within yourself, then to the people around you. This takes courage, conviction, perseverance. This takes faith. I don’t know the details of Jordan’s story, and what made him do a U-turn. What matters is that he did it, and through his music, he is sharing his story and acting a witness for others.

The most inspiring U-turn in the Bible is arguably the story of St. Paul. He is one of my favourite saints, just because of the sheer nerve I believe it would have required to change direction as he did. He was one of the fiercest persecutors of the new Christians, actively tracking down believers in order to have them arrested and imprisoned. (Summary here, Bible passage here). His powerful encounter with the risen Jesus on the road to Damascus led him to change his entire life. He became an apostle himself, bringing the gospel to the gentiles. In the process, the former persecutor became persecuted himself. He was a very powerful and effective witness for God because of the change he lived out in his own life.

It’s obvious that God chose St. Paul for a special mission, but what about us? We can all be witnesses to our faith, and it doesn’t have to be in spectacular ways. The way we live our lives every day can be powerful, because

There is only one type of person God has used powerfully throughout history: He does incredible things with the people who make themselves available to him; it is the prerequisite for mission.

— Matthew Kelly, Beautiful Mercy

If we think we aren’t good enough in some way, if we worry about what others might think or say, or if we listen to any number of possible excuses, fear can hold us back. Maybe a U-turn is needed in your life–I’ve been through a couple of my own–and you wonder if you have the courage to embrace it. That’s where prayer comes in. Instead of listening to the fear, we can choose to be hopeful. We can think about what we are able to do, rather than what we think we can’t do. We can choose to be open to God’s lead, instead of relying only on ourselves. When we make ourselves available, incredible things happen!

We’re going down to the river
Down to the river, down to the river to pray
Let’s get washed by the water
Washed by the water and rise up in amazing grace
Let’s go down, down, down to the river (You will leave changed)
Let’s go down, down, down to the river (Never the same)

For Diane, With Love – The Other Side

In March of 2015, Diane Van Bommel, a beloved friend and relative, suspected the return of her cancer. Soon after, this was confirmed, and while still hopeful, she started to prepare, not knowing how much time she would have left. She asked me to write a song for her funeral, to celebrate her new life on “the other side”, and to comfort her family and friends with the knowledge that she was safe and not so far away. She passed away on December 26, 2015. It was an honour and a privilege to sing for her. For those who have asked, here is the video, along with the lyrics.

The Other Side                                                  (c) Tina Pumfrey, SOCAN, 2015

I’m on the other side, no need to cry for me, I’m safe and I’m sound, I’m home

My suffering is done, my forever just begun, and you know that I’m here singin’ praise

In God’s goodness and faithfulness, He never turned His back on me,

I spent my days in His hand

Now I’m singin’ Hallelujah with saints and angels all around

I’m on the other side, yeah, I’m on the other side

He measured out my days, He sure did make them full, poured out so many blessings over me

No one’s future can be told, trust in Him, let it unfold,

and thank Him for the love along the way

In God’s goodness and faithfulness, He never turned His back on me,

I spent my days in His hand

Now I’m singin’ Hallelujah with saints and angels all around

I’m on the other side, yeah, I’m on the other side

And you know, He kept me safe, I never lost my way,

And no matter how lonely the valley, He’ll bring you home

I’m on the other side, no need to cry for me, I’m safe and I’m sound, I’m home

My suffering is done, my forever just begun, and you know that I’m here singin’ praise

In God’s goodness and faithfulness, He never turned His back on me,

I spent my days in His hand

Now I’m singin’ Hallelujah with saints and angels all around

I’m on the other side, yeah, I’m on the other side

And I’m singin’ Amen, Amen, Hallelu – u – jah!

To read Diane’s many words of wisdom, visit http://www.divbblog.wordpress.com and http://www.godgivesblessings.wordpress.com.  Her legacy will live on through her writings.

A Song for Sunday–Beyond Me

Beyond Me — Toby Mac

Oh, this song was timely for me when it came on the radio a few days ago. Some of my goals really do seem too big some days, and it was another of those days. So often, I feel like can’t keep up to the everyday stuff that needs to get done, let alone invest time and energy in what I really want to do.

Call it a reason to retreat
I got some dreams that are bigger than me
I might be outmatched, outsized, the underdog in the fight of my life
Is it so crazy to believe

That You gave me the stars, put them out of my reach
Called me to waters a little too deep
Oh, I’ve never been so aware of my need
You keep on making me see
It’s way beyond me
It’s way beyond me
Yeah, it’s out of my league
It’s way beyond me
It’s way beyond me
It’s way beyond

But every one of us has something to contribute, something that no one else can bring to the world. If I remember to rely on God, the one who gave me my own mix of talents and opportunities, I can take another step in the direction I’m supposed to go.

concert on the commons 2015 2You take me to the place where I know I need You
 Straight to the depths that I can’t handle on my own
And Lord I know, I know I need You
So take me to Your great
Take me to Your great unknown

What’s your dream? What have you been contemplating, but maybe afraid to attempt? Do you talk yourself out of it, telling yourself that it’s too much to take on, or maybe even silly? (I do, more often than I would like to admit!!) The world would be a much better place if everyone put their dreams into action, even if only a little bit at a time.

“The challenge life presents to each of us is to become truly ourselves–not the self we have imagined or fantasized about, not the self that our friends want us to be, not the self our ego would have us be, but the self God has ordained us to be from before we were in our mother’s womb.” —Matthew Kelly

Photo courtesy of my friend Lois. Yes, we look a bit like bugs with our sunglasses on, but we were thankful for the beautiful summer weather and the happy crowd of listeners. 🙂

Weakness As Strength

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“Your weaknesses are the key to the unimaginable bigger future that God has envisioned for you. Your strengths are probably already bearing all the fruit they can. They will continue to bear those good fruits in your life, but at some point they will begin to plateau. Your richer, more abundant future is intimately linked to your weaknesses.” Matthew Kelly