Meaningful Music: PIECES by Amanda Cook

Winnipeg native Amanda Cook is an award-winning and incredibly popular modern Christian artist. Her rich history as a worship leader and deep devotion to Christ inspire her to write songs that provide her listeners with encouragement, strength, and hope. Her most recent song, “Pieces” has become an instant hit. Let’s take a closer look at the message Cook is trying to convey through her meaningful music.

 

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Photo Credit

 

Cook sings of the passion of God’s love; a love that is genuine, powerful, and proud:

Unreserved, unrestrained
Your love is wild, Your love is wild for me
It isn’t shy, it’s unashamed
Your love is proud to be seen with me

Chorus:
You don’t give Your heart in pieces
You don’t hide Yourself to tease us 

The chorus is another great testimony to the Lord’s love, as Cook reminds us that His love is all encompassing. He does not fraction his love, but rather gives each of his children all of his love and attention. As our heavenly Father and ultimate creator, He has the ability to completely pour all of his love into each and every one of us, which is an amazing thing! Even though we may not be able to see our heavenly Father as we do with the people we love on Earth, Cook reminds us that this inability to see God isn’t meant to taunt us or discourage us—but rather to motivate us to focus on our faith and spiritual connection to Him.

Take some time to listen to the rest of the song. As you listen, be reminded of God’s unfailing love for you. Never forget that no matter what happens in your life, you are unbelievably and undeniably loved.

Post written by Katie Karpinski

Meaningful Music: COME AS YOU ARE by David Crowder

Waco, Texas seems to be the hub for influential Christians. If you’re a fan of HGTV, you probably are familiar with Chip and Joanna Gains who also hail from the southern state. However, the dynamic design duo aren’t the only people using their talents to spread God’s message. Studying at Baylor University in Waco, David Crowder realized that while Baylor was a Christian university, the majority of students did not attend church. Crowder took several steps to try and reverse the trend, including becoming a worship leader and writing—you guessed it—uplifting Christian songs. Crowder’s dedication to Christ at such a young age launched him into a career in the Christian music industry, where he remains to be a top-charting artist to this day. Let’s take a look at one of his most popular songs “Come as You Are.”

 

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David Crowder during live performance

 

“Come as You Are” is the ultimate anthem for anyone who is hurting emotionally or spiritually. Crowder sings about being at your lowest point and realizing that you need help:
Come out of sadness
From wherever you’ve been
Come broken hearted
Let rescue begin
Come find your mercy
Oh sinner come kneel
As the first verse ends, Crowder reminds us of our temporary placement on Earth, and how we should focus on heavenly forces saying:

Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t heal
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t heal

By the time the chorus winds up, Crowder has taken all those who are listening into a complete state of surrender—encouraging everyone to “come home” to Christ:
So lay down your burdens
Lay down your shame
All who are broken
Lift up your face
Oh wanderer come home
You’re not too far
So lay down your hurt
Lay down your heart
Come as you are
Crowder reminds us all that Christ is the only one who can relieve us from our sadness, our guilt, our shame. When things seem so hopeless and you have nowhere to go or no one else to turn to, God is there waiting with open arms to accept you. Even with your flaws, your mistakes, and your scars– God treasures you. It’s never too late to come back to Christ and let him work in your life. Take some time to listen to the full song—you might learn more about yourself and your relationship with Christ than you think!

Post written by Katie Karpinski

Check out the full song here!

 

Living Alone After the Death of a Spouse

Marriage is a blessed sacrament for a reason. There is no substitution for standing up and confessing your love for another person, all while being showered in the graces of the Holy Spirit. It’s a very beautiful and spiritual experience to be married, which makes the death of a spouse even harder to bear. Marriage is the act of literally sharing your life with someone, physically and spiritually; so when a spouse passes away, it may feel as if a part of yourself has passed away as well. You may not remember what life was like before your spouse, and may be at a total loss on how to carry out your day to day activities. This is normal. Allowing yourself time to grieve and mourn the loss of your spouse is the healthiest thing you can do to assure a healthy transition to life without them. While no one grieves the same way, there are techniques that can help combat feelings of loneliness or desertion following the death of a spouse. Keep reading to learn more.

1. Change can be good.

Living together, couples form certain systems and routines that they do together, such as making the bed in the morning, going to church each week, or perhaps watching a show at a certain time each night. Immediately following the death of a loved one, and especially a spouse, you may have the tendency to hold onto certain items or routines that remind you of them. With the tragic change that is death, there is a need for certain levels of consistency and normalcy. There is nothing wrong with keeping certain things the same, but it’s also important to recognize that some new routines can be helpful. Whether it’s your morning or nighttime routine, your dinner routine, or even the way you make you coffee, if the old way of doing things doesn’t work anymore, change it! You might be surprised by how empowered and free you may feel with even the smallest of changes.

2. Supplement, don’t replace.

The loneliness felt after the death of a spouse can be hard. After sharing your life with someone and living with them, going home to an empty house at night may feel overwhelming. A great way to combat this feeling is to meet new people. Whether it’s reaching out to family and friends, joining a book club, or attending a Church group, spending time with other people can make you feel more connected and less isolated. While you can never replace your spouse, it’s important to remember the other people you have in your life as well!

3. Appreciate solitude.

While it may seem contradictory, having some time to yourself can actually be very beneficial. It gives you time to learn more about yourself, and can open your heart and mind to hearing what God may be trying to tell you. There’s nothing wrong with spending some alone time to figure out who you are as a person, and find out what makes you happy. Think about what what you enjoyed before you were married, and revisit that passion or hobby.

Above all else, God is always there for you to listen and comfort. Just as He was present during your marriage ceremony, He is present with you always to offer His grace.

Information gathered from “Living Alone After the Death of a Spouse” by Karen Katafiasz

Post written by Katie Karpinski

Meaningful Music: NEED YOU NOW by Plumb

Debuting her first album “Plumb” in 1997, Tiffany Lee is no stranger to the Christian music scene. Having sold over 500,000 albums, and touring across the country, her music is well known by anyone who tunes into Christian radio. Her single “Need you now” is her most popular song to date, and for obvious reasons. The intensity and pure desperation portrayed in the song is an audible mirror—causing listeners to acknowledge their own reliance and dependence on God. Let’s take a closer look at this song that has remained at the top of the charts for over 5 years!

 

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Photo Credit

 

Here’s a peak at the first verse:
Well, everybody’s got a story to tell
And everybody’s got a wound to be healed
I want to believe there’s beauty here
‘Cause oh, I get so tired of holding on
I can’t let go, I can’t move on
I want to believe there’s meaning here

This first verse does a great job of highlighting how unique each person is; we each have “a story to tell.” Even more so, we all have unique struggles, or problems that we must learn to bring to the Lord. Only he can “heal our wounds” as the song suggests. Lee sings about the hardship of finding the goodness in the struggle, meaning in the suffering. She talks about being too tired to hold on, but how she can’t let go—something that is all too relatable. Often when we find ourselves in stressful situations, we try desperately to find the solutions ourselves instead of passing our worries onto the Lord. Imagine how much time and worry we would save if we immediately cast our cares to God? As the chorus winds up, Lee reminds us how reliant we are on God, who is the ONLY one who can solve our problems.

How many times have you heard me cry out
“God please take this?”
How many times have you given me strength to
Just keep breathing?
Oh I need you
God, I need you now 

This very raw and emotional chorus conveys so much—fear, anger, sadness, reliance, and even hope. Lee strips down her pride, and shows us all what it’s like to completely surrender to God’s will. “I need you” is repeated over and over again, not just in the chorus, but throughout the whole song, reinforcing the idea of God’s supreme yet merciful control. Take some time today to listen to the complete song, and after take some time reflect on what you can offer up to God.

Check out the full song here!

Post written by Katie Karpinski

 

Meaningful Music: ALIVE AGAIN by Matt Maher

It’s no secret that music has the ability to change and affect our mood. Whether it’s listening to a happy song to raise your spirits or playing a sentimental song to remember someone, the power of music in undeniable. Even more so, the type of music we surround ourselves with can have a huge impact. As followers of Christ, living in the world we do, we have the amazing opportunity to surround ourselves with music praising and worshiping God. Not only that, but there are literally THOUSANDS of Christian artists and bands just waiting to be discovered. If only there was a way to learn more about Christian music…

Wait—there is!
The Catholic Cemeteries Association will feature Christian songs on our blog with our new segment: Meaningful Music. Keep reading for this week’s song!

Alive Again- Matt Maher

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Photo Credit

 

Matt Maher has been in the Christian music industry for nearly a decade. His uplifting and praise-filled songs reflect the joy of Christ’s love while still maintaining a healthy reverence, and his mixture of more classic and conservative songs with ones that reflect modern music trends make him popular across a wide variety of people. One of his most popular songs, Alive Again, is a true testimony to life-giving power Christ has—let’s take a closer look at some of the lyrics:

The song starts with Maher singing:

I woke up in darkness surrounded by silence
Oh where, where have I gone?
I woke to reality losing its grip on me
Oh where, where have I gone?

Maher reflects something all of us have felt at some point in our lives—lost, distant, alone. We are surrounded, in many ways, by a very secular culture. Because of this, it’s easy to lose ourselves to things other than Christ and Maher isn’t afraid to address this symbolic spiritual death. “Where have I gone?” is repeated, highlighting the desperation and confusion that we experience when our relationship with Christ is broken. However, Maher doesn’t hover on this too long before bringing up the healing power of Christ by saying;

‘Cause I can see the light before I see the sunrise

You called and You shouted
Broke through my deafness
Now I’m breathing in and breathing out
I’m alive again

You shattered my darkness
Washed away my blindness
Now I’m breathing in and breathing out
I’m alive again

Maher is able to communicate so much in these 9 lines. First, Maher reminds us that before we can “see the sun rise” we must first “see the light.” In other words, when we find ourselves in darkness, we must turn to Christ first, who is the eternal light of the world, before we can hope to pull ourselves out of the darkness of sin. Christ alone can help us break free from whatever is taking us away from God. As the chorus continues, Maher outlines how Christ continues to fight against the walls we put up between ourselves and God. He depicts Christ as a warrior of sorts, constantly fighting to free us and make us all “alive again.”

If you have time, listen to the full song. It is packed with the uplifting knowledge that Christ will not abandon us, even in our darkest times, and reminds us that Christ is here to fight for us and give us the chance of eternal life.

 

To listen to the full song, click the link below!

 

 

Post written by Katie Karpinski