Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs

This past Sunday the Church celebrated Pentecost, the day when the Spirit descended upon the people of God with power. As a result, the healing and restoration that occurred in the 1st Century Church was a marvel to behold. The believers praised God, shared all things in common, and watched the miraculous movement of the Spirit manifest all around them. Repentance led to renewal and revival…Jesus’ promise of the life-transforming Spirit had come true in their midst and all were filled with joy.

The loving unity granted by the Spirit at Pentecost is something we crave today. We read the account in Acts 2-4 and we long for it all the more. But then we begin to notice a reality that’s far different from the early Church. Instead of unity there’s division; instead of oneness there’s loneliness; instead of commonality there’s individuation. Imagine how our lives would be different if we remained prayerfully open to the Spirit’s movement in our daily lives.

And, imagine if we greeted one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit (rather than a critical, cynical, or caustic word that disparages rather than births hope in the hearts of each hearer). Perhaps we would experience spiritual unity and renewal like never before.

As far as I know, Christianity is the only worldwide faith that sings together in worship, and from a commonly shared hymnal – albeit from many such hymnals, song books, and projection screens. (Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong in this assumption…others may chant or pray in unison, but not in keeping with our typical worship expressions of musical joy) We love to sing and our hearts “burn” with God’s presence as we join our hearts in unhindered praise and joyful song. It’s one of the amazing ways the Spirit unites the body of Christ.

So, dear friend, what is the song of your heart today? Perhaps a hymnal might be a place to linger for the sake of your renewal-thirsty soul.

 

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Steve Macchia

Founder & President

The Rev. Dr. Stephen A. Macchia is founder and president of Leadership Transformations, Inc. (LTI), a ministry serving the spiritual formation, discernment, and renewal of leaders and learners since 2003. For more than 20 years he has been the Director of the Pierce Center for Disciple-Building at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also serves as an adjunct faculty member in the Doctor of Ministry Program. From 1989-2003 he was the president of Vision New England, the largest regional church renewal association in the country. Earlier in his ministry life, Steve was a member of the pastoral staff of Grace Chapel in Lexington, Massachusetts for 11 years. He is the author or co-author of 17 books, including The Discerning Life (Zondervan Reflective), and Crafting a Rule of Life, Becoming A Healthy Church (LTI), and Broken and Whole (IVP).  He and his wife Ruth live in the Boston (MA) area and are the proud parents of two married children and grandparents to three adorable grandchildren. Steve’s personal website is www.SteveMacchia.com.

My soul comes alive singing the great hymns of the church and enjoying the beauty of God’s creation. I’m in awe of God for fulfilling the dream for LTI that he birthed in my heart, for the team he has assembled, and the transformational impact experienced in the leaders and teams we serve.

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Mitzi Mak

Selah-West Faculty

Mitzi started her professional life as a high school social studies teacher. She and her husband Jerry then served cross-culturally for ten+ years, living abroad first in India and then Kurdistan, N. Iraq. In addition to being a Spiritual Director, she now serves as a Formation and Care pastor in her local church in Houston, TX. She has graduated from LTI’s Selah Spiritual Direction training as well as LTI’s Emmaus Formational Leadership Program.

Mitzi enjoys engaging conversation, reading fiction, doing jigsaw/crossword puzzles, ocean gazing and exploring the world with Jerry through food and travel.

God has two main callings in Mitzi’s life: to care for those who care for others and to be a guide in helping others have a healthy relationship with the Trinity – recognizing God’s loving presence and activity in their lives and how to faithfully respond.

Selah was a transformative experience for me – allowing the contemplative within to emerge and to beautifully co-exist with my extraverted personality.