Daily Devotions
 

We are thrilled to once again be sharing a daily devotion with you for the season of Advent. These inspiring devotions have been written by YOU the members of Good Shepherd.  A sincere “thank you” to everyone who opened their hearts to share a small piece of their faith journey with us.   As we journey toward Bethlehem in this season, take time each day to walk with God and experience the stirrings of the deep love that took on flesh to walk with us.  

During the four week Advent season, each Wednesday our devotion will be a video reflection by Dr. Kevin Seal, Director of Worship and Music at Good Shepherd, as he shares a teaching about the Words and Music of Advent.

Each new day’s devotion will go live directly on our webpage, goodshepherd.com at 6am, (look under the worship tab at the top right of the front page) or you can follow the link that will be sent out later each morning in an email from Good Shepherd.  


Good Shepherd Lutheran Church

Daily Devotion by by Heidi Johnson

Have you ever wanted to pray to God but didn‘t have the words to express yourself?  Maybe you don’t know what to say or even what you are asking for?  God knows what is in our hearts, but we need to find a way to let God in to begin the conversation again, to find calm and peace. For me, music speaks when words fail.

When I retired after a 36 year career as a public school music teacher, I was lost.  My career was a major part of my identity--the thing that got me out of bed in the morning and motivated me to be creative and give me purpose.  And now it was gone. My emotions were so jumbled that I basically stopped functioning. I couldn’t even talk to God--what would I say?  The hymn “What A Friend We Have In Jesus” helped me find my way back into conversation with God:

What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear;

What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!

O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,

All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.

 

In the movie “Children Of A Lesser God”, the main character (a hearing man) tries to ‘show’ his deaf girlfriend how the 2nd mvt. of the Bach Double Violin Concerto affects him so intensely.  The music is so beautiful that when he hears it he also feels it in his heart and soul.  Unfortunately, his girlfriend can’t understand his deep emotional connection with the music because she can’t hear it. That powerful scene spoke to me about the power of hearing music.  

Music can give you strength in hard times:  At the funeral of a dear friend who died too soon, his mother asked me to play my viola for the prelude.  God gave me the strength to play, and the music gave her the strength to walk down the aisle towards the casket.

I played in a small string ensemble at another funeral, this time it was a co-worker. The music was “Adagio for Strings” by Samuel Barber (the piece was also used for the televised funeral procession of JFK’s funeral).  Every time I hear that piece, it transports my mind to the sadness of that event and goes through the seven stages of grief: The piece starts quietly then builds to a long high pitch (to me, it expresses my rage at the loss), followed by silence, then a quiet ending of acceptance.

Music has also lifted my soul in times of great joy.  I remember singing “Children of the Heavenly Father” at the end of every Bethany Choir concert (college).  Watching children dancing and singing to the music in Family Worship service and/or playing instruments at VBS has always been a joyful time.  Recently, we said good-bye to Debbie & Steve Jones who were faithful ministers of music at Good Shepherd for so many years through organ music, choirs, handbells, and instrumental ensembles.  And then we welcomed Dr. Kevin Seal (and his wife Elizabeth who has a beautiful voice) to start a new era of music ministry.  I was particularly moved by his accompaniment to “Shall We Gather At The River” on All-Saints Sunday.  We are blessed in this congregation with all different kinds of music - Music that speaks when words fail, Music with words that help us connect to God, Music that praises our Lord and Father.

 

Psalm 150: 3-6

Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre,

Praise him with tambourine and dancing, praise him with the strings and flute,

Praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.  Praise the Lord.

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