Sunday, January 13, 2013

Fresh Songs, Fresh Voices To Jumpstart The Year

I grew up listening and singing church hymns played only with the accompaniment of an organ.  At that young age I struggled understanding how the hymns were written and the only thing my mind (and heart) remembers is the melody of each song. Nevertheless, they are timeless as their message which I treasure to this day.  

Thirty years in retrospect, my music appreciation included the likes of Maranatha!, Carman, Steven Curtis Chapman, Papuri Singers (local singers from the Philippines), Trisha Amper (another local fave), Amy Grant, Don Moen, Hillsong, various Christian rock bands, and contemporary pop singers.  The list can go on with new genres spreading like wildfire to satisfy the ever music-hungry Christian groups. 

Songs are essential for worship.  King David was not only noted as the "boy who had a lethal stone throwing ability" but he was a musician and poet.  His music genius did not only top the commoners' billboard chart but it captivated the ear of a king - King Saul.  The book of first Samuel, chapter 16 verse 23 writes: 

"Whenever the spirit from God came on Saul, David would take up his lyre and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him."

Songs prepare our hearts and minds to worship God.  They also soothe our tormented souls from the worries and anxieties of this life. On the countless times we've opened our  bibles to find comfort and answers, Christian and gospel songs have made indelible marks of God's words with melodies that resound in our hearts.  This uplifts the soul and enables it to commune with its Creator.

As much as I like the traditional, new songs and voices have made me literally "sing a new song" (Ps. 96:1) . I would always cling on to a song that has the following:

1. relevant biblical message (a line which you could easily associate with a favorite verse in the bible)
2. how the lyrics initiate and enjoy a conversation with your inner self
3. tune recall (Next gen's LSS)

Yesterday, while browsing over New Release, Jason Castro was featured as Artist of the Month.  The new funky vibe of Castro's "Only A Mountain" inflated a thought balloon over me: "Dreadlocks and singing go well together." The words were simple yet it was anchored on Matthew 17:20 emphasizing on our faith.

Favorite lines: 

This is only a mountain
You don’t have to find your way around it
Tell it to move, it’ll move
Tell it to fall, it’ll fall

Over the radio a few weeks ago, a local Christian station played Jamie Grace' "Hold Me" which I heard the first time.   The words are so simple that I got transported into my own timeline when I just got a pen and started scribbling free flowing thoughts into words.  I just had regrets why I didn't gave myself a chance on the guitar.  Jamie Grace sure looked and sounded good in one. By the way, it was a feat with TobyMac who intros with a reggae feel to the song. 

Favorite lines:
I love you more than the words in my brain can express
I can't imagine even loving you less

Lord, I love the way you hold me
Whoa, oh, I love the way you hold me
Whoa, oh
Oh, I love

They're young and they sing in the expression of both vocals and musical instrument. These songs and fresh voices have proven that Christian songs can be "cool" in this time of age.  Besides, when you have experienced the love of a saving God, nothing can ever stop your heart from singing.  One can never get out of tune!

I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me. Ps. 13:6

Friday, January 4, 2013

New Year, Old Friends

I was made to face a table lined with well missed native food: sisig, fried molo, adobong kangkong laced with pork lechon, silvanas, and lychee shake (was it Lychee...I think).  I also got a panoramic view of Tiyo's restaurant thanks to the brilliance of the late Steve Jobs (iPhone rocks!). The ladies are in the house and the roll call yielded absentees. It's 12:40 am from my side of the world and I'm having a lunch date with my high school friends. 

High school graduation 1994
What they looked like more than 20 years ago remains vivid in memory.  The once geniuses, artists, comics, and girl next door faces are now entrepreneurs,  overseas professionals, wives, and mothers.  I could still spot some of the childish mannerisms interrupt their now womanly dispositions which for me are no flaws at all but remnants of a past we all want to cling on for the rest of our lives. 

High school days were indeed "high" days.  It was a time of self discovery, building friendships, dreaming, failing, and anticipation of a future that seems conquerable in a minute.  The people and events that made us laugh before still makes us laugh now.  The only thing is we sound like our moms now and  have completely lost our ability to giggle. 

Two decades after, we have metamorphosed into adults each of whom defines and views life in different ways. We have been separated by the choices we made but today we visit a common ground where the exchanges of journeys made were all worth the time and attention.   I never saw an underachiever among us.  No one deserved to be quantified according to how much she earns or receives.  Everyone remembers how we all had humble beginnings but have taken the challenge to step up one day at a time.  

I learned and laughed a lot with you, ladies.  It was a privilege sharing that hearty meal with everyone.  By the way, tell JM (that awesome waiter) he made one of the shots I love most. The new year feels so "new" with old friends. I'll see you all soon and on that day make sure I get a seat!

"Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves."  Romans 12:10
Mutating after 22 years.