Sacred Songs and Talks
In this section, I would like to share some sacred songs, music, and talks that I enjoy. They are generally spiritually inspired and contemplative in nature, conducive to mindfulness and heartfulness; silence and serenity; expansive and clear awareness; prayerfulness and loving devotion; deep and joyful worship; profound reflection and reflexivity; and rich interspiritual sensibility that celebrates diversity in unity. Songs, music, and teachings of the Spirit can awaken dormant spirits, move hearts, and empower deep healing and transformation, liberating us towards a culture of awakening and peace in eschatological anticipation of the new creation.
Songs, Music, and Teachings
"In recent decades many people have begun following Christ while remaining a part of their non-Christian religious communities. These "insider" Muslims, Hindu, Buddhist, Native American, and other followers of Christ have generated much interest and controversy, particularly in Western mission agencies and churches." Darren Duerksen, Associate Professor of Intercultual and Religious Studies at Fresno Pacific University, speaks about "insider movements" and "alternative missiological imaginaries" while questioning assumptions about "religion," "church," "culture," and "syncretism."
Traditional Buddhist discourses (sutta) and protective verses (paritta) beautifully chanted by the monastic Sangha of Buddha Bodhivana Monastery, near Melbourne, Australia. Luang Por Ajahn Kalyano, a senior disciple of the late Luang Por Ajahn Chah of the Thai Forest Theravada Buddhist Tradition, is abbot of the monastery. This profound yet grounded contemplative tradition is known for the purity and impeccability of their Dhamma practice and teaching.
The first discourse of Gotama Buddha is known as the Dhammacakkappavattana-sutta, or the Discourse on the Turning of the Wheel of Dhamma where, the Buddha enunciated what came to regarded as the heart essence of his entire teaching—the four noble truths. This sutta is a personal favourite and I fondly recall reciting it in sonorous Pali together with monks and lay Buddhists at the Mulagandhakuti-vihara Temple in Sarnath, India during my meditative pilgrimage to ancient Buddhist sites decades ago.
The Blessing, a song originally performed by Kari Jobe, Cody Carnes and Elevation Worship, features the Aaronic Blessing from Numbers 6:22-26. In a time of escalating conflict and post-pandemic malaise, where uncertainty reigns and despair on multiple fronts set in, this song crystallizes humanity's longings and hopes for fraternity, peace, unity amidst diversity, and deep communion of spirit as part of our multicultural, multi-religious, and multi-lingual world family. Shalom. Salaam. Pace. 和平. Peace.
"On October 3, 2022, during [the] annual All Nations Convocation Jerusalem and Watchmen's Tour of Israel (ANCJ), 144 harpists from 35 different nations, including Israel, gathered together with worshippers from 140 nations in Jerusalem to minister to the King on the Southern Steps of the Temple Mount." The 144 heavenly harpists beautifully accompany the melodic and inspired Aaronic Blessing, most apt and timely for a world torn apart in tatters and our collective future hanging in a balance. Lord, have mercy!
This glorious and beloved passage of Scripture in John 3:16 is sung in Hebrew, Arabic, Russian, English, Korean, and Persian by disciples of Jesus Christ who are united as brothers and sisters in Him. In these chaotic times of geopolitical tensions and conflicts, we look upwards, forwards, inwards, outwards, and towards the One who loves us and has sacrificed Himself for us by His self-emptying love in a singularly glorious grace. May the world find peace, be peace, and emanate peace in the Messiah who saves.
This well-loved worship song written by Christ Tomlin, Jesse Reeves, and Ed Cash was sung in Hebrew, Arabic, and English at the Garden Tomb, Israel, expressing a heartfelt sense of unity and love in Yeshua our Risen Saviour and Messiah King who was, and is, and is to come. As we follow our Lord in our cross-shaped lives, we unlearn our pride and belligerence, relearn gentleness and kindness, and learn to bear our own crosses in Christ-like love that transcends constructed boundaries. May the Lord bless and keep us all.
Sung by Casting Crowns, a contemporary Christian rock band featuring Matthew West who wrote the song. This song tells of the spirit of humility and service when one recognizes the sheer nothingness of self in light of the utter greatness of God in Christ who saves us to the very end. It epitomizes the idea that "it is not about you or me, but all about Jesus." In the song's lyrics, the term "nobody" refers to John the Baptist, according to lead singer Mark Hall. It also justifiably refers to each one of us.
This contemplative piece is from Harpa Dei, a choir of four siblings in blood and in spirit. It comprises the name of Jesus sung in its original Hebrew form "Yeshua," verbally derived from "to rescue" or "to deliver" and connotes our cry for help from God YHWH. The preamble to this song states: "Pope Benedict died on 31 December with these words: 'Jesus, I love you.' In the Catholic Church there is a tradition of reciting the Name of Jesus 1,000 times on May 3rd, the Feast of the [Finding] of the Cross. Today, when we celebrate the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, we want to adopt this tradition by chanting 'Yeshua' (Jesus in Hebrew) 1,000 times."