Lenten Devotional 2021: Day 32

Saturday, March 20 – Selected by Jason Locke – Psalm 34

Variations on a Taste and See that … Love Will Never, Never Fail

Porter’s Gate: Your Labour is Not in Vain

Brooklyn Tab: Psalm 34 (Magnify the Lord With Me)

UCC: Love Will Never Fail Islington United Church, Toronto | Music Director: Jason Locke

Photo credit: Mary Beth Wallace

I hope you’re able to create space to listen to all three of these videos. They weave together the themes of the week as the words and music remind us how God is with us in everything. The promise that our labours are not in vain … our planting and reaping will bear fruit … laughter and joy will fill our homes because we are not alone. God’s voice calls from the lyrics, “I am with you. I am with you.”

As I watched the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, I was struck by how shy I am about raising my hands high in praise. So I gave it a try. I closed my door, cranked up the volume, watched and whispered (still shy about belting out the words) as I raised my hands glorifying God. Wow!  I encourage you to taste and see what rises up in you. Glorify God like no one’s watching – but God.
The third video may stir some longings if Islington is where you worship. I closed my eyes and imagined Faith Amour (what a beautifully fitting name) singing in the small chapel as Jason played the piano. The late afternoon sunlight was streaming through the stained glass windows that are decorated with phrases from 1 Corinthians 13. The room is dappled in colour as the music fills the space … and me.
Gracious God of love and music, faith and hope,
Thank you for all the ways you draw us near filling us with your grace.

The Porter’s Gate:
The Porter’s Gate was founded to help worship leaders respond theologically to the pressing questions of our times through the writing of new worship songs and the creation of new liturgical resources. Their third and fourth records (Justice Songs and Lament Songs) were released in September 2020, during the pandemic crisis. Co-founder Megan Wardell writes: “We wanted to release as many songs as we were able to record for use by churches in a time where worship leaders are looking for songs and liturgical resources that give expression to the unusual and troubling circumstances of 2020 that our congregants and neighbors are experiencing…”

Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir:
The six-time Grammy Award winning choir of the now famous Brooklyn Tabernacle in New York City, USA. Known for its rich cultural diversity and deep dedication to sharing the love of God through the medium of music. Their faith expression lands in a more charismatic tradition: the songs are immersive and often include the personal experiences and testimonies of its members.

United Church of Canada:
This is a series of pieces recorded by United Churches in the city of Toronto. Our larger United Church has so much to offer to us – YouTube channels are filling up with wonderful resources, songs, sermons and worship services.