Archive for September 15th, 2013

Three Weeks of Church Hopping: A Recap

One of the biggest changes for me after coming to college was finding a new church. At home, my family went to the same church for 14 years, and I really liked it, but it would be an awfully long commute to go there each Sunday. So, time for me to find a church (or churches) that I like going to here at school. I’ve been here for almost a month now (because I had band camp before moving in), and in that time I’ve visited three churches, which I refer to by their initials here.

UBC: This was the church my parents (and later myself) attended while we lived here, and because we are good friends with the pastor’s family, it was an easy first choice. Pros: traditional service, family friends, relatively close to grounds. Cons: not many people my age.

GCC: One of the churches that has an active campus ministry and facilitates rides to and from services on Sundays. Pros: a few students, rides, friendly, good campus ministry, contemporary worship style. Cons: Didn’t know/like any of the worship songs, very small.

CCC: Another “ride” church that I had heard good things about. Pros: Many students and younger people, contemporary worship/service, rides, friendly. Cons: sermon was long, unfocused and rambling (in my opinion).

So far, I think I like CCC the best so far. It is on my “try again before making decision list,” and I hope that this week’s sermon was not indicative of every weeks’. I am sure that I will visit UBC from time to time to see our friends, but I don’t think it will be my regular place I attend.

I just thought of this, but I am going to create a “church search” page to keep you all updated, if you are interested, on where I visit and what I think of them, with short little things like I have done in this post. You can find it here. Expect me to add a new church once a week until further notice.

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2 Samuel 18 (and before)

One of my all-time favorite composers is Eric Whitacre, who writes primarily choral music as well as some things for wind ensembles and orchestras. He is the composer of the “I’ve Been Listening To…” post I made tonight, as well as a number of some of the most beautiful pieces I have ever heard. One of my favorite of those pieces is “When David Heard,” which refers to and takes lyrics from 2 Samuel 18: 33, when David is told that his son Absalom has been killed. I invite you to listen to the piece. While it is a little long, it is well worth the time in my opinion.

While I had heard the story of Absalom’s death before, I was curious to read the Bible’s version of it and the notes it makes about it. So I skipped a few pages ahead from where I was in 1 Samuel, and found out that there was a lot I didn’t know about the story. Absalom first appears in chapter 13, when he murders his half-brother Amnon for raping his sister. As if that wasn’t a complicated enough start, he then flees from David and hides for over five years before returning to the king. A couple of years later, he starts a rebellion against his father with hundreds of followers and drives David from Jerusalem.

David gathers his own armies, and after a time he prepares to fight Absalom and his men. However, while David hoped to see Absalom alive, David’s men find Absalom first, literally caught by the hair in a tree, and kill him. The next day, David is told what happened, and grieves for his son. And that is where we find David in Eric Whitacre’s piece. I was surprised primarily because I didn’t know that David and Absalom’s relationship was so bad. David’s reaction, out of context, makes it seem like the two were really close, without any of the bad blood between them. For this reason, David’s grief shows just how much he loved Absalom, despite the fact that Absalom was interested in taking the kingdom for himself. The notes in my study Bible say that David’s grief was so great not only because he loved him so much, but also because David still hoped that the two could reconcile and regain each other’s friendship. Again, I find myself praying that I can have such radical love in all my relationships, though hopefully they aren’t as strained as David and Absalom’s.

Have you listened to the piece yet? Do it!

Eric Whitacre – Fly to Paradise (Performed by Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir 4)

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