Friday, September 24, 2010

RevGalBlogPals Friday Five: we who sing pray twice

as posted by MaryBeth

Music is a part of the human experience, and part of religious traditions the world over. It is evocative and stirring, and many forms of worship are incomplete without it.

Our title comes from a quote popularly attributed to St. Augustine: "He who sings prays twice." A little Googling, however, indicates that Augustine didn't say exactly that. In fact, what he said just doesn't fit well onto a t-shirt. So we'll stick with what we have.

Note: This is the rabbit chasing section.

I have to say that this comment sent me on a wild goose chase across the internet searching for what was said. The last time I read this much Augustine was 1994 for a class on City of God.

Here is what I found considering my lack of desire to go to the nearest theological school to search the volumes of text and my non-existent ability to read Latin for myself.

The quote which St. Augustine actually said was:

"For he that singeth praise, not only praiseth, but only praiseth with gladness: he that singeth praise, not only singeth, but also loveth him of whom he singeth. In praise, there is the speaking forth of one confessing; in singing, the affection of one loving."
(St. Augustine, Commentary on Psalm 73, 1)

Apparently this has been abridged to "He who sings prays twice" over the centuries.

The quote is referenced in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 1156:

1156"The musical tradition of the universal Church is a treasure of inestimable value, greater even than that of any other art. The main reason for this pre-eminence is that, as a combination of sacred music and words, it forms a necessary or integral part of solemn liturgy." The composition and singing of inspired psalms, often accompanied by musical instruments, were already closely linked to the liturgical celebrations of the Old Covenant. The Church continues and develops this tradition: "Address . . . one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart." "He who sings prays twice."21

The corresponding footnote references St. Augustine, En. in Ps. 72, 1: PL 36, 914;. (The reason why the Catechism says Psalm 72 instead of Psalm 73, is because the Catechism is using Psalm numbering from the Septuagint, which fused two of the earlier psalms, meaning the numbering of the later psalms is out of sync with the usual modern listing).

I also found:

"Cantare amantis est" which is variously translated as "Singing is what the lover does," or "Singing belongs to one who loves," or "Singing is loving."


According to one website, the more famous quote is cited as occurring in Sermon 336 as
Qui cantat, bis orat.

Now, back on task.

"Singing reduces stress and increases healthy breathing and emotional expression. Singing taps into a deep, age-old power available to all of us. When we find our voice, we find ourselves. Today, sing like you mean it." And let's talk about the role music plays in your life and worship.

1) Do you like to sing/listen to others sing? In worship, or on your own (or not at all?)

Music in several forms is present daily. I am very often humming something without even realizing it until someone asks me what song it is. A dear friend noticed that the SportsQueen does it, too.

2) Did you grow up with music in worship, or come to it later in life? Tell us about it, and how that has changed in your experience.

Music has always been a part of worship (and everyday life). I grew up in a church with a very rich music program that started with Kindergartners and went through Adult choir with no gaps. There were choir programs twice a year from 4-6th grades, youth (7-12), and adult choirs. It was not extraordinary for a 20+ piece orchestra to be included with the adult choir. More than once Handel's Messiah was preformed either before Christmas or Easter. I had no idea how spoiled I was with the extensive music program I took for granted.

3) Some people find worship incomplete without music; others would just as soon not have it. Where do you fall?

Music, music, music!

4) Do you prefer traditional music in worship, or contemporary? That can mean many different things!

I like a lot of different kinds of music in worship (and outside of worship, too). When it comes to kinds of music, I agree with Leonard Bernstein. (I remember watching this live and how profoundly his thoughts about music struck me.)

5) What's your go-to music ... when you need solace or want to express joy? A video/recording will garner bonus points!

My go-to music depends on the circumstance or situation. Here's one option: (from my camera phone live!)

Here's another option

but those are not the only ones

Saturday, September 11, 2010


There's a guy in Florida who has garnered a lot of attention this week for a proposed act for September 11 that doesn't match well with "They will know we are Christians by their love."

This morning I pulled up old sermons to glance at them before heading out to an all day training. I thought it might be a good idea to have those thoughts rumbling around in my head even though I won't be able to focus on the task of sermon writing until much later.

I was struck at the dramatic juxtaposition of this story and the guy from Florida. This story is copied exactly with names intact from an Ecunet meeting I joined many years ago.


My niece sent this to me today. This is from the Facilities Manager at her sister's place of employment, in Fort Collins, Colorado. I hope it touches you, as it did us, to see what REAL Americans are about. God Bless You All, Rob

As this long and horribly tragic week comes to an end, I can not finish my work here today with out expressing to this company some feelings (after discussing it with management).

As you know, I am an American citizen from an Arabic origin and of Muslim faith. Watching the media paint the Islamic world as all hateful toward America and all she stands for, and here in the land of the free, my wife has not left the house for fear of retribution and my children ask, as Americans, are they going to be safe too, just as President Bush promises?

I know as a Muslim, there is nothing in my religion that says it is ok to kill innocent people. So, I am proud to be part of this faith.

And then at noon today something happened that made me even prouder to be a Muslim American.

As with every Friday, around noon, I went to our weekly service at the Fort Collins Mosque (our church building). All of the Islamic females in the community have not been able to attend this week out of fear.

When I arrived, I was completely touched by what I found there. Our Mosque was completely surrounded by members of the Fort Collins Christian community, forming a human shield, with white carnations in their hands.

Tears came to my eyes, and I saw beautiful light shining through the darkness that has covered us this week.

As we went in to worship, I said extra prayers that we are so lucky to be living with this kind of people. I have never felt as proud as an American Muslim, as I did today.

As goodness is not a monopoly for any one race or religion, neither is darkness.

As I grew up in locations all over the world, and settled the last 26 years in America, I truly know what a great place this is to live.

United we stand, Divided we fall.
Thank you,
Your facility manager at your service,

Rob Nedbalek
Poplar/Brockton Lutheran Parish in Northeastern Montana
Saint John's Lutheran Church - Poplar
Our Savior's Lutheran Church - Brockton
Zion Lutheran Church - Rural Brockton

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

buy in

There are a multitude of ways to build relationships with teenagers when you are a high school teacher. But one of the most effective ways to jump start that relationship building is to create "buy in." You, as the teacher, create an opportunity for the students to emotionally invest in your class, or in you, while at the same time, you, the teacher, do the same thing for the students. Some might argue that teachers have already demonstrated their "buy in" by being teachers. But we have all experienced teachers who were present but not invested and "buy in" is all about being invested. You know, caring about the things that matter to someone else. So, for high school teachers, caring about the things that teenagers care about.

The teacher for advanced placement United States History (A PUSH as it's known to the Juniors who take the class) announced on the first day of class that anyone who sang the Star Spangled Banner during the next class would get a "free" homework pass. A particular student who plays trombone convinced the A PUSH teacher to let the band kids (a flute, 2 french horns, and the trombone) play the Star Spangled Banner for that credit. Teacher said, "fine."

Great buy in for both the band kids, who have been playing in band for 5 years, and the teacher.

But wait, there's more.

Side note: Band kids playing instruments outside of band class or pep rallies or other band sanctioned events risk fines and imprisonment. Well, really, they'll get in trouble with the band director. I don't know if the history teacher knew this fact. Regardless, permission to play instead of sing helped with the buy in.

So, on the appointed day, 4 band kids bravely sneak their instruments, three of which are kind of hard to hide, to the A PUSH class and play the Star Spangled Banner. Keep in mind they have been playing this song almost weekly during football season for years. They can play it well from memory in their sleep. So, of course, they do a fabulous job. Amazingly, to the band kids who consider this task one of the easiest things ever, the class cheers! The teacher cheers loudest of all.

Then, he says, "Hey, can you do that again?"

The band kids shrug, "duh."

"Come with me," as the teacher leads them across the hall to the AP European history class (Seniors only), interrupts class and says, "Hey Mrs. History, you all have to hear this!" Where the band kids, play again. And the European history class cheers and claps.

It was the highlight of the first week of school for the SportsQueen.

She bought in.

Friday, September 03, 2010

RevGalBlogPals Friday Five: Storms of Life Edition

As posted by Martha Hoverson

I'm listening this morning for word of Hurricane Earl. Is he coming to visit, or will he bypass my part of Maine and move further Downeast, or veer toward Nova Scotia? Should I buy those bottles of water, just in case wind brings branches and power lines down? And how many times will the tracking map change today?

Herewith, a Friday Five about the storms of life:

1) What's the most common kind of storm in your neck of the woods?

I have two girls ages 16 and 13. It is an understatement to say the drama of adolescence is the most common kind of storm both in my neck and other body parts.

But if you want to know about the weather ...

Everywhere I have lived, I have lived in "Tornado Alley." That means thunderstorms with high winds, hail, and enough rain to cause significant flooding. And in the winter, ice storms are the major threat.

2) When was the last time you dealt with a significant power outage?

The last significant power outage was experienced at my sister's house (also in tornado alley but in a different state where I have never lived). It was summer and she had maybe one flashlight but a billion candles. So we lit candles. And remembered that candles have fire which give off heat. And we created our own indoor heatwave.

The time before that was an outage of more than 3 days when the 16 yo was 1 and there was no 13 yo. That was quite an adventure! The storm still makes the news when they are talking about the "worst" ones in this area.

3) Are you prepared for the next one?

Other than having multiple gallons of water on hand, as prepared as we could be in advance.

Wait, I take that back. All of my tools and tarps and ladders are still at the church after being borrowed for the last worktrip. I probably should get those home.

4) What's the weather forecast where you are this weekend?

5) How do you calm your personal storms?

With as many friends and fun things to do as possible! ... or if I can't make that work, burying myself in a book only coming up for enough food and drink to carry me through the next chapter.
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