A Living Sacrifice (Artful Devotion)

Cerra, Mirta_Prayer
Mirta Cerra (Cuban, 1904–1986), Plegaria (Prayer), ca. 1946. Oil on canvas, 24 × 17 1/2 in. (60.9 × 44.5 cm). Torna Art Gallery, Havana.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.

—Romans 12:1–2

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SONG: “A Living Sacrifice” by Kirk Ward, 2010

The version on the MP3, from a church service at New City Fellowship’s University City, Missouri, location, is piano-based and led by a female vocalist (and includes strong harmonies), whereas the version in the video, from Redeemer Church in Jackson, Mississippi, is guitar-based and has a male lead (Ryan Dean). Both recordings are from 2011. Visit the New City Fellowship Music website, the source of the MP3, to download sheet music and explore more of the church’s gospel music repertoire.

Songwriter Kirk Ward’s original demo is located here. (I’ve previously featured his song “Year of Jubilee.”)

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For an Artful Devotion centered on Isaiah 51:3 (another excerpt from Sunday’s lectionary), click here.


This post belongs to the weekly series Artful Devotion. If you can’t view the music player in your email or RSS reader, try opening the post in your browser.

To view all the Revised Common Lectionary scripture readings for Proper 16, cycle A, click here.

Her Wilderness Like Eden (Artful Devotion)

Bloom Within by Daniel Nevins
Daniel Nevins (American, 1963–), Bloom Within. Oil on wood, 20 × 18 in.

Isaiah 51:3:

For the Lord will comfort Zion;
he will comfort all her waste places,
and will make her wilderness like Eden,
her desert like the garden of the LORD;
joy and gladness will be found in her,
thanksgiving and the voice of song.

“The Comforter” by Thomas Moore (1779–1852):

Oh! thou who dry’st the mourner’s tear,
How dark this world would be,
If, when deceived and wounded here,
We could not fly to thee!

The friends who in our sunshine live,
When winter comes are flown;
And he who has but tears to give,
Must weep those tears alone;

But thou wilt heal that broken heart,
Which, like the plants that throw
Their fragrance from the wounded part,
Breathes sweetness out of woe.

When joy no longer soothes or cheers,
And even the hope that threw
A moment’s sparkle o’er our tears,
Is dimm’d and vanish’d too;

Oh who would bear life’s stormy doom,
Did not thy wing of love
Come brightly wafting through the gloom,
Our peace-branch from above.

Then sorrow, touch’d by thee, grows bright
With more than rapture’s ray;
As darkness shows us worlds of light
We never saw by day.

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SONG: “The Sun Will Rise” by the Brilliance, on The Brilliance (2010)


This post belongs to the weekly series Artful Devotion. If you can’t view the music player in your email or RSS reader, try opening the post in your browser.

To view all the Revised Common Lectionary scripture readings for Proper 16, cycle A, click here.