Wednesday, September 14, 2011
UCC Worship Axiom #2
It's not about you.
There are two angles on this, but let's deal with the obvious one first.
The focus of worship is simple. It is a time to attribute value ("worth-ship") to God. In this way, it's not about you. More importantly, it's not about me.
The book of Ephesians is typically viewed as an ecclesiastical letter. It's a note from Paul about what the church is and what is God's aim for the church. This speaks to our worship as well. The key verse is 1:10 where we learn that God's aim is to "bring all things in heaven and on earth under one head, even Christ."
Christ's work (and ours) is designed to bring us to God. All of our efforts, all of our toils, all of our lives are to be in the business of bringing ourselves and others to God. Our worship services must reflect that.
Now for the second angle. Because the focus is God, the focus will never be what we want. The services are not for us. They are designed to bring us (as Christians) and others to God. The "others" are important. They are more important than we are.
Our worship services are designed with two foci:
1) Bring Christians closer to God.
2) Illustrate/teach God to others so that we might bring them closer to God.
Monday, September 12, 2011
UCC Worship Axiom #1:
God deserves our excellence.
With everything that we offer to God, we strive for it to be excellent. This is the core of worship and it is a priority that is as old as recorded history.
In Genesis 4:3-5 we read about an offering that Cain brings before God and an offering that his brother Abel brings before God. In the first instance, Cain brought "some" of the fruit of his labor. Abel on the other hand brought forth the "fat portions" of his labor.
There are many ways to interpret this. A clear difference in these offerings is that Abel offered his best. He gave that which represented his very finest work. Abel delivered to God that which was the most meaningful and bore the greatest value.
We are compelled to bring that which represents the best of our work--that which clearly shows the value of the offering. With everything we offer to God--art, music, poetry, time, effort, energy, money (and many others)--must carry a value that represents the best we have to offer. The sounds (all our offerings unto God) we make must be as sweet of a sound as the grace offered to us in return.
We will continue to toil so that we may offer to God the full excellence that he deserves.
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
What Happened To Sharyn?
Let the long story short begin...
Once upon a time, well, on October 21 to be exact, I woke up with numb feet. I thought nothing of it and went to work. Throughout the day, the numbness progressed up my legs. That evening, Ben took me to the ER where, after a series of tests, I was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome. Basically, my immune system attacked my nervous system. Google it if you want details. I was admitted to the hospital that night. The next morning, I was paralyzed from the neck down and on parts of my face. I stayed in bed like that for two weeks. Then I moved to In-Patient Rehab for over a month. I relearned how to eat, walk, etc. I can walk about 40 feet with my granny walker before needing my wheelchair. I look fairly awkward whenever I do things. But! I will have a full recovery!
So, today marks my first day performing on my horn in public for the first time since Sunday, October 19, 2008. If you're reading this and don't know me very well, let me tell you how meaningful this morning was for me.
I've always been a musical person. When my sister was in sixth grade, she joined beginning band and started to play the French horn. I was in third grade then, and of course, I wanted to be just like my big sister. When we came home from school every day, I would ask her to teach me what she learned in band that day. I was destined to be a horn player. Needless to say, I chose the horn once I joined beginning band in the sixth grade. That's when my love of music really blossomed. Throughout middle school, junior high, and high school, I never realized that I was meant to have a career in music or teaching. I was definitely going to follow my dad's footsteps and join the Air Force. Once I started planning for K-State, I joined Air Force ROTC. That was my chosen career, however, I needed a major. I enjoyed teaching and music, and decided to put those two together for my major. In the beginning, I never truly intended to be a music educator. Throughout my first two years at K-State, music slowly started taking over my life, and music education started to really sound good to me! Obviously, the Air Force thing didn't work out, and I was able to completely immerse myself in music. Whoa, what a ride! When I was happy, I played my horn. When I was sad, I played my horn. When I was pissed off, I played my horn. Music has taken me to amazing places: New Zealand, Australia, Fiji, Greece, England, Scotland, and all over the U.S. And more importantly, I've made the closest friends that I will probably ever have (you know who you are!). I love all of you guys. Once I was offered and accepted my first job at Junction City High School, I was excited to FINALLY do what I was trained to do. It was amazing. I have great mentors, made more friends, and was having the time of my life.
Then, on October 21, 2008, I lost almost everything. Now, I'm not going to get emotional and go through everything I experienced during my fifty-five days in two hospitals and one in-patient rehab center. But, man, it was difficult. I clearly remember one night when I made my peace with God and was ready to go to my permanent home. I was almost there. But when I woke up the next morning, I realized a lot of things. God made me wake up that day because I still had things to do on this earth. I still had students to teach, another dog to adopt from the animal shelter (sorry, Ben!), friends to make, and music to play.
Moving on to the events of this morning, I cannot stress enough how much I cherish my performance this morning. If you know me well enough, you know that I have a comment for everything. But, for this, I cannot find the words I need. But I guess that's where music comes in handy! I usually try to be humble with everything I do. But I cannot be humble about this. I am a damn fine horn player. And today was my day. By all means, it wasn't perfect, but Jesus didn't care (and He's all that truly matters!). To everyone that played with me at University Cristian Church this morning, thank you for being a part of this with me. Some of you may not realize what it means, but I assure you, it was a big deal. So, a big thank you to my husband Ben, and the other great musicians on stage with me: Karyn Schafer (had to put my big sister first!), Storm Davis, Michael Sturd, Jessa Myer, Gabe Reed, Alex Bency, Brian Walton, Tanner Bott, Eric Starnes, Brian Williams, Eric Grusenmeyer, and Peter Weinart. And, of course, I cannot leave out our tech guys, Kyle Reynolds, Donald Green, Jerry Hutchinson, and Greg Olney. It was an honor to finally make music with you guys.
And a another big thank you to Guillain-Barre Syndrome. You taught me not to take anything for granted. You took a lot away from me and forced me to fight hard to get them back. But, needless to say, I still hate you. You will lose this battle. I will not apologize for my language here, but I'm going to kick your ass.
Edit: want to hear her? Here's "Our God" from that morning:
Thursday, July 28, 2011
You can find it over at Loop Community at this link here.
Listen to the preview here!
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Here's an update for you. I'm going to begin moving a lot of this content over to Loop Community for several reasons.
1) They are able to manage the legal issues with posting these loops.
2) They are able to deliver these loops in a wider spectrum than I can with just one blog.
3) They can help me to monetize them (which helps me continue to provide high-quality loops for a reasonable fee).
When I create new ones, you'll be able to access them here first, then over on Loop Community a little while later.
Thanks for following, and I hope to see you over at Loop Community sometime soon!
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
RNS - Stereo
MP3 - Stereo