Lent

Story Behind the Song: Deliver Me From Me

Mark Mallett writes: I wrote Deliver Me From Me at a time when I felt acutely my spiritual poverty. I think that's why so many people connect to this song---those who are genuinely seeking Christ experience their own weakness, and so this song becomes the song of their heart also. Scripture says, "By His wounds we are healed." Are we not His body? Then it could be said that when we expose our wounds to others in a spirit of humility, they too find healing, because in that humility, that truth, they find Jesus hidden within us, in the distressing disguise of the poor. Deliver Me From Me Deliver me from me From this earthly tent, sagged and leaking Deliver me from me From this earthen vessel, cracked and dried Deliver me from me From this flesh, so weak and worn Lord, deliver me, from me... into Your Mercy Into Your Mercy Into Your Mercy Into Your Mercy Lord, deliver me from me... into Your Mercy ...deliver me from me From this flesh, so weak and worn Lord, deliver me from me... into Your Mercy

Personal Favorite Lent Album - The Lover and the Beloved

Nick Alexander here... If I had to choose a single album that represents my devotion to the Lenten season, hands down, that honor would go to The Lover and the Beloved by John Michael Talbot.

Contrary to the increasing cliches predominant in Christian Contemporary Music, this album presents poetry that highlights the poetry of St. John of the Cross, St. Teresa of Avila, and the late Thomas Merton. Not only in content, but in form--this album eschews the lavishly ultra-production of his Contemporary Christian peers, and presented an album as sparse as possible... one voice, one guitar, nothing else. Such a sound is as counter-cultural as it can possibly be, much moreso than today's crisp highly glossy, radio formats. This was the album that introduced me to the Dark Night of the Soul from St. John of the Cross. Beforehand, it was very easy to be sucked into a "health & wealth" gospel that was blasting thru the television airwaves. Just last year, even Mother Teresa's diaries demonstrated her very own "Dark Night of the Soul" experience, where she did not feel the touch of God for forty years. And yet, she proved herself faithful throughout that ordeal, changing many lives throughout. I cannot recommend this sparse, challenging, and ultimately beautiful album highly enough. John Michael Talbot's guitar prowess has never been surpassed as he is here, and the poetry effectively matches his soothing voice and temperament. You will not experience Lent in the same way.

Lent Resources from Spirit & Song

Nick Alexander here... Robert Feduccia, of Spirit & Song shared with me as to what songs in their repertoire that are most befitting for the season of Lent.
  1. 40 Days by Matt Maher

    Well produced and unabashedly Catholic in its devotion...
  2. Change Me by Tom Booth

    "Ultimately, the call to change is the call to love. Like Mary... May we say 'yes' and be changed."-Tom Booth
  3. Be With Me, Lord by Sarah Hart

    A poignant duet with Curtis Stephan pleading for God's help... and a superb new setting of Psalm 91.
  4. Revive Us, O God by Jesse Manibusan

    Jesse's third album is a musical testament to this transforming power in our lives.
  5. River of Life by Joshua Blakesley

    Joshua's catchy choruses make you want to sing along...

Grapevine Rewind - Nick's Notes - Winter 2007

A Lenten iMix Nick Alexander here... It’s hard to imagine, but this time last year I didn’t own an iPod. Don’t misunderstand me. For those who are current on the iPod craze, I am not giving you a reason to gloat. Neither do I wish to gloat on those who do not yet own this technological marvel. An iPod is a huge financial investment, and it is impossible to understand how revolutionary it truly is without having one yourself. There is a reason I share this. At this time, last year I was preparing for Lent. As a fan of Christian music, that includes loading my multi-disc CD player with albums that can best prepare my heart with the solemnity of the season. It would also mean a greater desire to listen to Christian music. And yet, when I listen to Christian radio, and sing along with the praise and worship classics, sometimes I can’t help but get a sour feeling when a song with the word “Alleluia” comes on, or a song that celebrates Jesus’ resurrection. It’s “Lent!” I mutter. It’s the wrong time! Don’t they understand ... Press to Continue...

Lent Resources from World Library Publications

Nick Alexander here... Jennifer Odegard wrote me a list of her favorite songs from World Library Publications. These are all wonderful additions to your Lenten library.

The Perfect Album for Lenten Reflection

Susan Bailey of Grapevine Magazine writes: I receive a lot of CDs and many are pretty good. Once on a while though one really stands out. Danielle Rose's latest, "I Thirst," is such a CD. The 14 songs on this album ruminate on Blessed Teresa of Calcutta in a deep and complex way that makes for perfect Lenten reflection. Danielle had tremendous insight into the heart and soul of Mother Teresa and seemed to sense intuitively her "dark night of the soul" that ended up lasting 40 years. Catholicism is a faith of contradictions, and this truth is played out more and more as one goes in deeper and deeper. The poor being generous. The sorrowful knowing deep joy. Darkness being a gift. These are the kinds of issues that Danielle Rose deals with on "I Thirst." The opening and title track of the album dives in deeply. The song is based on two words that Christ spoke on the cross: "I thirst." These two words appeared next to the crucifix in every chapel of the Missionaries of Charity, Mother Teresa's order and they serve to remind the sisters of their fourth vow: "to satiate Christ's thirst for souls through 'wholehearted and free service to the poorest of the poor' " (liner notes of CD). But as Danielle writes, "I thirst not for water, I thirst for belief, I thirst for your gaze to wash over me. I'm lonely and broken, I'm weary, forsaken, Why have you abandoned me?" There are so many other wonderful examples such as "Small Things with Great Love," "Love Till It Hurts." etc. The biggest 'contradiction' is "The Joy of the Lord." Mother Teresa was well known for her joy and the ever-present smile on her face and this, of course, made it all that much harder to believe the incredible suffering she went through in secret. The surprise of this song is what Danielle was going through during this time, for she was discerning her vocation in the midst of having lost her voice. From a personal note, I love the song, "You Did It to Me." I've been struggling learning how to apply Lectio Divina to my scripture reading. Lectio Divina is an ancient practice of praying the scripture through reading, meditation, contemplation and action. Part of the Lectio process is repeating the scripture to yourself, to make it a part of you. I was having a hard time practicing Lectio even though I've been reading a wonderful book on it (Praying the Bible by Karl Schultz). This song suddenly made the whole process come alive. As I sang the refrain, I was practicing Lectio and I didn't even realize it at first! Lectio is a wonderful thing to practice on all of these songs. A wonderful thing to do during Lent. "I Thirst" is available through World Library Publications at www.wlpmusic.com. Click on the Artist Tab and then click on Danielle's name; then click on the "I Thirst" link to hear samples and purchase your copy. Be sure and listen to the GrapeVine News Minute podcast from January 27th (known as Episode #74 on the player - look for the date because there are two episode #74s! My error, this should have been labeled as #75) and this coming weekend, Feb. 3 (episode #76) to listen to the back story of this album and more importantly, learn more about what goes into discerning a vocation. One thing I sure learned - it's far from an individual decision! There is also a video link that will be included on the show notes about another vocation story involving the daughter of one of my longest and dearest friends (from the iPadre podcast). I found Danielle's story to be so compelling. I found "I Thirst" to be compelling even before knowing the story, but after what I've learned, the music comes alive even more so. I hope it aids you in your Lenten reflections.

What Are Your Favorite Lent Songs?

Nick Alexander here... Happy Ash Wednesday! Lent has officially begun, and now is the time for personal reflection and sacrifice. Now is the time to be inspired to aim for greater holiness and sanctity, and for good works. Music can be a great devotional tool for this Lenten season. For the next few weeks, the TopCatholicSongs community will be sharing songs that have blessed them in past Lents. We are in the process of deciding right now as to what the Top Ten Lent songs will be. (Wanna vote? Join the community... it's FREE). In short, you're going to want to bookmark this page. In the meantime, do you have a favorite Lenten song/album to share? Feel free to share in the comments below.

Story Behind the Song: Before Lent Arrives, Laugh and Learn

Nick Alexander here... Ash Wednesday is early this year (February 6, 2008). With this comes the arrival of Lent, one of the most solemn, most holy seasons in the Church Calendar. To me, this is an opportunity to truly stretch oneself towards holiness in ways they've never considered before: reading that classic devotional, attending (or trying to attend) daily mass, going to Stations of the Cross, adoration, tithing, and fasting. For too often I've heard people try to inject their own apathy as a paltry joke: "You know what I'm giving up for Lent? Church." Yeah, I've never heard that one before. Instead, I wanted to craft a comedy song that explored all the nuances of this incredible season, while still tickled the funny bone. Considering that this song has been very strongly received (even becoming the top downloaded song of 2006 from CatholicMusicNetwork means that it hit a chord. (Previously, I didn't want to do a parody of a song Weird Al had already written... but the opening lines to this song trumped that rightaway...) Check out the video appearance of this as well. Have a laugh about Lent, before it comes... This Time of Forty Days by Nick Alexander (Parody of "King of Pain" by The Police) There's a little black spot on your head today I guess it must mean today is Ash Wednesday And we enter a time when we will give things up For some it's so easy but for me it's rough I hope I can last without it being a pain On Friday's no meat, but at least fish is okay We just got our throats blessed on the Feast of St. Blaise And it starts right this week, this time of forty days. There's a little black spot on your head today (Is my soul prepared?) It's to remind us that from dust we came (Is my soul prepared?) Guess I should read a good book, and watch the t.v. less (Is my soul prepared?) Should I complete the Old Testament, or Prayer of Jabez? (Is my soul prepared?) I hope I can last without it being a pain On Friday's no meat, but at least fish is okay I guess I should stop calling my sister bad names And it starts right this week, this time of forty days. When you fast don't act like all those Pharisees Rumpled hair, bruises on your hands and knees Instead wash yourself, put on a happy face And on the Feast of St Joseph you can take a break... Forty Days Well, Jesus He fasted thru the wilderness (Is my soul prepared?) With all the church offers, can we do no less? (Is my soul prepared?) There's a little black spot on your head today Is it dark, is it bold, or has it faded grey? I hope I can last without it being a pain On Friday's no meat, but at least fish is okay When I've completed this Lent, don't want to be the same As I am right this week, upon these forty days. Forty days... You'll always need forty days... Copyright (c) Nick Alexander Music 2006
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