Meaningful Music: JUST BE HELD by Casting Crowns

Casting Crowns is a Grammy-winning contemporary Christian rock group. With dozens of chart-topping singles, the group has become known for their uplifting music powered by scripture, faith, and love.  One of the group’s most popular songs, “Just Be Held” addresses one of the honest facts of life which is that…

Life is stressful.

Life after losing a loved one is even more stressful. We feel hopeless and helpless, completely out of tune and out of sync with what used to be such a familiar world. We feel overwhelmed and can’t imagine how we can keep going with such a heavy load on our shoulders. “Just Be Held” powerfully addresses the need each and every one of us has for Christ. Let’s take a closer look at the lyrics and what they have to say about surrendering our stress and strife to the Lord.

The song starts by describing how so many of us feel each and every day:

Hold it all together
Everybody needs you strong
But life hits you out of nowhere
And barely leaves you holding on

We often feel as if we are responsible for everyone else’s happiness and well-being. We may be able to tolerate this responsibility most days, but there are some days when it just becomes too much to handle. Whether it’s a major tragedy that you weren’t expecting, or small inconvenience, there are days when we all feel beaten down and simply overwhelmed. The next verse tells us what we can do in these desperate situations:

And when you’re tired of fighting
Chained by your control
There’s freedom in surrender
Lay it down and let it go

As the song so beautifully describes, when we have times that break us and leave us too tired to carry on, when we have times that being in control is too much to handle—those are the times we must surrender everything to Christ. “Lay it down” in His hands and then “let it go.” This freedom of “letting go” is so powerful. A huge part of journeying through grief, and life in general, is realizing and addressing that you have limited control, as God is the only one to have complete control.

As we enter the chorus, we hear more about God’s peace:

So when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away
You’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held
Your world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place
I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held
Just be held, just be held

You see, God doesn’t expect us to “have it together” all the time. We were built with an inherent need for Christ, and so many of us try to live our lives without addressing that need. God is always waiting for us with open arms when we feel overwhelmed or upset. He will be there to catch us when we fall.

Take some time to listen to the rest of the song. What areas of your life are you holding too tightly to? When was the last time you allowed yourself to be “held” in the presence of Christ?

 

Post written by Katie Karpinski

O Come All Ye Faithful- A Modern Call to Action

Well underway into the 2017 Christmas season, I’m sure we’ve all heard our favorite carols being sung. While some of our favorites might be silly— does anyone actually want a hippopotamus for Christmas? Imagine the mess! There are some Christmas songs that actually have a deeper meaning and help us as Catholics enter more deeply into this joyful season. Last week we featured “Silent Night”, and how its humble origins provide a reminder to us all that God calls us each to greatness. This week we are looking at another classic carol: “O Come All Ye Faithful.”

Written in 1841 by Frederick Oakeley, the song has stood the test of time and is still a very popular tune. Aside from the catchy melody, the lyrics of “O Come All Ye Faithful” are, perhaps, what has led to the song’s success. The clear call to action to come praise and worship the Lord is made clear in the first few lines:

O come, all ye faithful
Joyful and triumphant
O come ye, o come ye to Bethlehem
Come and behold Him
Born the King of Angels!

O come, let us adore Him
O come, let us adore Him
O come, let us adore Him
Christ the Lord

Whereas secular Christmas music may revolve around gifts and the material elements of the season, this song reminds us all of what we’re truly celebrating: Christ coming down to Earth. May this song serve as a reminder to us all to spend this season praising God and thanking Him for the greatest gift of all: His son Jesus Christ. Listen to the full song below and reflect on the coming of Christ this season.

 

 

Post written by Katie Karpinski

Silent Night- A Beloved Christmas Carol

We’ve all heard the classic Christmas carol “Silent Night.” Whether it’s on the radio, in the background of a movie, or sung at Mass, the song is one of the most popular Christmas carols to date. But why? Why has this song, which is so simple and so humble, made such a large impact in not just the Christian world, but also in the secular world? Let’s take a closer look at the song and its origins to find out.

Silent Night

Silent Night was written by Joseph Mohr in 1816. He was a young priest living in Austria who had written the lyrics down in the form of a poem one evening. It wasn’t until 1818 when Mohr would show the lyrics to his friend Franz Gruber, who happened to be a musician-schoolteacher, that a melody accompanying lyrics began to take form. It was Christmas Eve of that same year that the song was performed for the first time. After this first performance, word of the song spread rapidly, growing in popularity along the way. In fact, the Strasser Family, a traveling family of folk singers (similar to the Trapp family singers as seen in The Sound of Music) incorporated the song into their routine. By 1832 the notes had been tweaked to create the melody that we all know and love today.

While there is certainly more history surrounding this beloved song, the true significance of the song comes from the lyrics and creation itself. Mohr and Gruber were by no means famous. They were humble people who lived ordinary lives. They didn’t expect for their simple song to be as popular as it ended up being. They didn’t expect fame or recognition for their efforts. They simply sought a way to better praise and worship the Lord during the season of Advent. Isn’t that something we should all strive for?

Take a moment to listen to this carol. Really listen to the words, think about the message Mohr and Gruber so carefully expressed to the world. Think of what seemingly ordinary acts God is calling you to do. You might be surprised with His answer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9T4WB2zfmps

Post written by Katie Karpinski

Meaningful Music: WHERE I BELONG by Building 429

Life is hard—there’s no question. Whether it’s small day-to-day struggles, or major traumatic experiences such as losing a loved one, this world can be a confusing place. We may wonder why our God, who is all loving and benevolent, would allow such strife to happen. While we may never know these answers, what we do know is this world is not our final destination, but rather a stop on the road to God’s eternal kingdom. The popular Christian music group Building 429 addresses this topic in their song ,“Where I Belong.” Let’s take a closer look at this song and how we can all relate to its powerful message!

building 429 where i belong
Photo Credit 

The song begins by describing the unique sensation of distance between body and soul:

Sometimes it feels like I’m watching from the outside
Sometimes it feels like I’m breathing but am I alive?
I will keep searching for answers that aren’t here to find

The singer exposes a questioning attitude that we’ve all experienced at some point. What does it mean to be alive in this world? Why are there so many questions that can’t be answered? What is the purpose of all this ambiguity? As the chorus winds up, we are given the poetic answer:

All I know is I’m not home yet
This is not where I belong
Take this world and give me Jesus
This is not where I belong 

The reason why this world is so confusing is because it is not our final home. We are only visiting. Our actual and eternal home is with Jesus Christ, and only with His help can we begin to understand the intricate and complex workings of life as we know it. This may seem overwhelming, but let it be of comfort. We are not supposed to understand everything in this world—not yet. If you find yourself struggling with feelings of doubt or discouragement, let this song serve as a source of hope and encouragement. One day we will be reunited with our heavenly Father, who will take away all our pain, confusion, and trouble.

Take some time to listen to the rest of the song below!

 

Post written by Katie Karpinski

Meaningful Music: THY WILL by Hillary Scott and the Scott Family

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

I’m sure we’ve all recited this passage at one point or another in times of great stress. It doesn’t matter how kind you are, how selfless you are, or even how faithful you are– no one is immune to the pain that life brings. Suffering can be hard to comprehend at times– why would God, who is supposed to love us, put us in so much pain? What purpose does suffering serve in His plan? Why is it necessary?

We can turn to scripture (such as the verse above) to help guide us on our search for answers, but in the end it all comes down to trusting God and His will for our lives. Hillary Scott and the Scott Family use their music to address topics such as this. Their song “Thy Will” has grown to be incredibly popular, expressing the pain and desperation so many of us have felt throughout our lives.

thy will

Photo Credit

The song begins with Hillary opening up to God:

I’m so confused
I know I heard you loud and clear
So, I followed through
Somehow I ended up here  

This first verse is applicable to so many of us who listened closely to God, who remained faithful and devoted to Him– yet still experienced pain and suffering. It’s these instances that are the hardest to understand. How could following God lead us astray? Hillary expresses this confusion saying:

I don’t wanna think
I may never understand
That my broken heart is a part of your plan
When I try to pray
All I’ve got is hurt and these four words 

Often, when we are going through a painful experience we feel distant from God. We may even be angry that He let something so awful happen to us. As Hillary so openly reveals, we may never understand the reasoning behind God’s will. But that’s why we have faith. The chorus of the song, taken directly from the Our Father, is a repeated reminder of the foundation of the Catholic faith– having full trust in God’s will and not our own:

Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will be done 

Take some time to listen to the song. Read the lyrics and reflect on your own experiences.

 Post written by Katie Karpinski