Psalm 91

As we all adjust to a new normal of social distancing and stay-at-home orders, this Psalm, which has long been a favorite, became one of several quarantine composition projects. I heard and saw on Facebook a good friend Rob Bigley and his wife Kendra singing Ned Rorem songs in their living room, and was inspired; messaged him and said, I have something cooking that I would like to send you. In that week I composed a setting of Psalm 91 for voice and piano (it could also serve as a congregational song, though probably would work better for soloist or choir). God will save you from the deadly pestilence, and you will not fear the plague that stalks at noonday. Looking forward to hearing Rob and Kendra perform this sometime – maybe even in person!

Psalm 91 – Score

Check out Rob and Kendra perform this Psalm setting here!

Our Good Friday service this year focussed on the seven last words of Christ from the cross. Seven congregation members took time to reflect on the words and give a personal meditation. The Scripture passages and mediations were punctuated by Passion hymns and original interludes by Caleb Cossick, Matt Monticchio and Greyson Kemper. Watch and listen at the Second City Facebook page.

Holy Week

Everhart’s Songs for Holy Week

It has been a long time in coming, but it is here – Pageant Music and Everhart have completed the Holy Week album. Everhart had written 7 deep and devotional songs, one for each day in holy week, and we spent the last year recording these songs. They are finished! The official release is Tuesday, March 24th.

We hope these songs will serve as a musical and poetical journey through holy week, offering you a guide as you reflect of the Son of God and the plan of redemption. The next post will provide the sheet music for these beautiful songs. This is Everhart’s reflection on the album and it’s theme:

From Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, Christians around the world walk with Jesus Christ through the last days of his life. In the time between his Triumphant entry on Sunday and lying dead in the tomb six days later, Christ exposed hypocrisy, restored purity of worship to the temple, and wept like a child for the coming destruction of his beloved city, Jerusalem.  

He was deserted by his friends. 

From his pores flowed blood. 

From his mouth, prayers of grief and anxiety. 

From his heart, unceasing compassion toward even his killers. 

From his soul, heaving cries to His father as he gave up his last breath.

While walking with Christ through this week, I see firsthand that God is not distant or unfeeling. He has plummeted the depths of human suffering. My sin, putting me at odds with God, was nailed into his bloodied flesh, and dealt with forever. I am free to be myself because I am identified by nothing other than his Love. His wounds give me a place to belong.

As I look toward the resurrection on Easter Sunday, I take hold of life. Death is a cloak of darkness, an impending future of unknown realities that haunts every member of humanity. Jesus lived, walked, died alone, and rose to life so that death, though it tries so very hard, and its sting goes very deep, will not have the last word. 

Holy Week-LambAd

Re: The previous post on Singing for the Gospel – This setting of Christ’s words has become a regular song that we sing before the Gospel reading. By and by the congregation maybe picking up on these somewhat outside the box harmonies!

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away



Sing for the Gospel

At Second City Church, as we prepare to hear the preaching of God’s Word in our Sunday services, there is a reading of an Old Testament passage, a reading from an Epistle, and last a reading from the Gospels. These readings follow the calendar which you can learn more about here  We have a tradition of singing before and/or after the Gospel reading, and as is historically done, the song often includes and alleluia. There are obviously many hymns, songs and Psalms (particularly Psalm 1, 119 and other “wisdom’ Psalms) that would work well at this point as a joyful response to the Gospel. Attached here are several that we have been using. Eternal Word provides a setting of the words of Jesus and presented here are 3 different settings of this same text – one is a gospel sounding version, another is a 4-part traditional version and the last could be sung and musically dressed in various ways from folky, to jazzy, etc. This has been a great practice as we sing praise to God for His sure Word to us, and it’s eternal power in shaping our souls. I hope these provide at least some thoughts for you to consider in your worship planning. Feel free to use the attached lead sheets. I hope to post more of these  “Gospel reading songs” soon. PEACE.

Lead Me Lord w: Alleluia CHORDS.mus

Lead Me Lord w- Alleluia PIANO.mus

O Lord of Light

Eternal Word FOLK MASS.mus

Eternal Word PREACHER CHORDS.mus

Heaven and Earth-Eternal Word.mus

John 14

John 14 (ESV)

5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

You Are the Way

What a beautiful and meaningful week of services at Second City Church. I found myself exhausted Sunday afternoon after our Easter service, but filled with joy and peace in Jesus. Palm Sunday began with a energetic processional with marching percussion, children waving palms and the parade shouting hosannas. We had the children and adults (whoever was brave enough) march in from the other side of the church, into the sanctuary and up to the front sing a “Hosanna!” chorus. What a joyful and festive way to start a service. The week moved reverently through a healing service on Wednesday night, Maundy Thursday service filled with the Lord’s Supper, foot washing and the choir singing Thomas Tallis’ If Ye Love Me. Finally there was a Good Friday Tenebrae service. Easter morning was filled of course with a burst of triumphant singing. Attached is the Palm Sunday Processional, a communion hymn fitting for Maundy Thursday, a song appropriate for Good Friday called A Crown and Thorns, and a song we sang on Easter called The Strife is Over the Battle Done. Happy Easter!

Palm Sunday Procession

Communion Hymn

A Crown and Thorns

Strife is Over the Battle Done