Easter Vigil 2008

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I just got back from Easter Vigil at my church. This was my first vigil as a Catholic, even accounting for my past. For those of you who don’t know me, I grew up Catholic and left the Church at age 20. I became a Baptist, and after almost 30 years I have returned.

And to think that only a year ago, I went to an Easter Vigil as my niece and nephew were baptized and confirmed. I remember that all the Bible readings were cool (except they always have to throw in one of those Apocryphal readings). But all the kneeling, standing, candles, lighting the fire, etc. I almost couldn’t stand. I kept thinking to myself, “these people are pagans. Pagans!

How far the Lord has brought me in less than a year. I can’t believe that I could never see the truth as revealed through the Church. My first Mass as a Catholic was last August, on Assumption Sunday. I once rejected Mary as our Mother. Now I have had more victory over sin in the past year because of her intervention than I have ever had in my entire life. Praise God for his grace and mercy and lovingkindness! Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

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“Praise” Music

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Someone just commented to me that I would have loved the praise music at Mars Hill Church in Grandville, MI yesterday. Mars Hill is a mega-church, and the pastor, Rob Bell is becoming an international celebrity based on his talent for writing books and sermons that have no meaning whatsoever.

They had a lot of acoustic guitar and I guess the sound was incredible. It sounds like it would have been a great concert. I am a music lover and have followed and enjoyed CCM music since its inception. I mean as far back as Larry Noorman and Love Song in the 1970s.

That sounds like it’s a great concert, but is it worship, or is it just entertainment? If the talent isn’t as good on a particular night, is worship still going on? I can’t judge individual people, because I am sure it is real worship to many of those in the audience. However, as a whole it seems to me that Praise music is designed to stir up emotions rather than to give praise to God. It is fueled by record companies who push CDs and sheet music to increase sales. If worship is about “feeling good” isn’t that a bit self-centered? Can you be self-centered and Christ-centered at the same time?

Praise music is often filled with irreverent lyrics that treat Jesus like he’s just our “good buddy” rather than the God of Heaven. A good example is that insipid “Our God is an Awesome God” and it’s references to having “thunder and lightening in His fists.” Sounds more like Zeus to me.

I don’t really know about the discussion about the nuts and bolts of the chords and such that people are talking about here on the board. I’m not a musician, so it makes little sense to me. However, I have ears, and I think good taste, and much of this music has just gone down the tubes. It’s not all hopeless, there are a few good artists out there. But this music is for when I want to be entertained, like while driving the car. When I go to a worship service I want to WORSHIP!

What is real worship? Revelation has the best picture of it. It is where the angels and the 24 elders cry forever “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” Falling prostrate to the one who appears as a lamb who was slain. This is what the Catholic Mass presents.

It’s not about what we get out of it, it’s what God gets out of it that counts.