April 12, 2017

Music of Hope


Awake from your slumber! Arise from your sleep! A new day is dawning, for all those who weep.
The people in darkness, have seen a great light. The Lord of our longing, has conquered the night.


   -Dan Schutte, City of God

Journey Toward Hope

Dan SchutteSometimes this journey through life is sadly discouraging. There’s much that is good, but I often find myself so disheartened by what I see and hear. I watch the evening news and my heart breaks. I experience the inevitable aging of my mind and body and wonder how to gracefully manage this part of the journey. How can this be the same beautiful world that God created and saw as being so very good?

 

Like many of you, I’ve lived my faith within the walls of our dear Church and tried to be a good disciple. With these realities and these questions swirling around me, I sometimes wonder how I might speak hope into the hearts of those discouraged on their journey? And closer to home, how can I speak to my own heart with words of hope?

 

The answer to that has something to do with my willingness to listen to and to recognize the message of Christ’s Good News. Surely the experience of life with all its disappointments was not that different at the time Jesus of Nazareth walked the earth. Much of Christ’s message was a message of hope. “Blessed are the poor in spirit…blessed are those who mourn…blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice.” When the Acts of the Apostles tells us that 5000 people were baptized on the spot when Peter preached on Pentecost, there must have been something in his message that filled them with hope and set their hearts on fire.

Finding Hope In discouragement

Dan SchutteWhen I get discouraged I know that I need to pay attention to the moments that cause our hearts to burn within us. Sometimes that comes in moments of prayer and adoration, but it can come in other ways as well. it happens for some walking outside amidst the spectacle of nature. For others, it comes through children or grandchildren. Yet others find it in a conversation with a friend or loved one. There’s really no limits to the way God can speak hope into our hearts. But in order for God’s message of encouragement to reach us, we must pay attention lest we miss it.

 

I know for me that when I’m needing to hear God speak to my heart of heaven, I can often find that voice in the beauty of music. Much of my passion for good liturgy grows out of my experience of watching God touch people through music. It doesn’t matter the sophistication or style of the music because people are moved by different things. But there is a universal human experience of beauty that takes one beyond themselves, out of the mire of one’s discouragement, to a place where one experiences goodness, rightness, peace and consolation.

 

This is the very kind of experience I try to offer people when they attend a Dan Schutte concert event. While I know that many come because they’re excited to hear a performance, I always remind them that the evening is about them and the God of their hearts. I suggest that as they sing the music and listen to the reflections they pay attention to the moments when they feel God consoling them and offering them words of hope.

 

I feel so privileged to be able to offer words and music through which the faithful experience God speaking to their hearts as we wait with hopeful hearts for that new day to dawn.

I raise my eyes toward the mountains. From whence shall come my help?
My help comes from the LORD, the maker of heaven and earth.

   Ps 121.1-2

A note from the OCP Outreach team:

Dan SchutteYou may know of Dan’s ministry as a liturgical workshop presenter. What you may not realize is that he offers a concert event that participants experience as an oasis, a mini-retreat of sorts, that speaks to the entire parish community.

 

Dan’s latest offering, Music of Hope, is now available. Based on his reflections of scripture, and his listening ear as he has been among the people of God, Music of Hope is designed to help us “lift our eyes” and find hope in God.

 

Bring the Music of Hope event to your parish.

Invite Dan to your parish

 

Other popular offerings from Dan:

  • Walking the Sacred Path:  Dan walks participants through exercises based on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, inviting participants into a personal, living, growing relationship with Jesus Christ.
  • Beyond the Moon and Stars:  Designed for those dealing with issues of mortality, aging, caring for elderly family members and those leading adult ministries in your parish. Through personal reflection, music, scripture study and discussion, explore what it means to embrace our own journey toward God and live the spiritual life moment by precious moment.
  • Seasonal concerts:  Dan’s Advent, Lenten, and Easter Season concerts invite parish communities to journey through the season with meaning and intent, and lead to personal renewal.