O My Father

O My Father

One of my favorite quotes is by President Ezra Taft Benson. He said, “Nothing is going to startle us more when we passthrough the veil to the other side than to realize how well we know ourFather and how familiar his face is to us.” (“Jesus Christ—Gifts andExpectations,” in Speeches of the Year, 1974, Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 1975, p. 313.)

I believe that. God is not a distant being. He’s a loving, intimate, and kind Father. He teaches, guides, chastises, and loves us all. Sometimes, like tantruming three-year-olds, we forget that, and think He must hate us because we’ve caused ourselves pain.

But in quiet moments, when we listen, we can hear His voice, whispering that He loves us, and wants to help us become more than what we are. And I think He’s whispering it a lot more often than we may think.

The sheet music and MP3 are available on my website.

Joseph Smith’s First Prayer

You can get the sheet music or free MP3 of this music on my website.

From Joseph’s 1832 account of the first vision:

“At about the age of twelve years my mind became seriously impressed with regard to the all-important concerns for the welfare of my immortal soul, which led me to searching the scriptures, believing, as I was taught, that they contained the word of God. Thus, applying myself to them and my intimate acquaintance with those of different denominations led me to marvel exceedingly, for I discovered that they did not adorn their profession by a holy walk and godly conversation agreeable to what I found contained in that sacred depository.

“This was a grief to my soul. Thus from the age of twelve years to fifteen I pondered many things in my heart concerning the situation of the world of mankind, the contentions and divisions, the wickedness and abominations, and the darkness which pervaded the minds of mankind. My mind became exceedingly distressed, for I became convinced of my sins, and by searching the scriptures I found that mankind did not come unto the Lord but that they had apostatized from the true and living faith. And there was no society or denomination that built upon the gospel of Jesus Christ as recorded in the New Testament. And I felt to mourn for my own sins and for the sins of the world, for I learned in the scriptures that God was the same yesterday, today, and forever, that he was no respecter of persons, for he was God.

“For I looked upon the sun—the glorious luminary of the earth—and also the moon, rolling in their majesty through the heavens, and also the stars shining in their courses, and the earth also upon which I stood, and the beasts of the field and the fowls of heaven and the fish of the waters, and also man walking forth upon the face of the earth in majesty and in the strength of beauty. . . . And when I considered upon these things, my heart exclaimed, ‘Well hath the wise man said it is a fool that saith in his heart there is no God.’

“My heart exclaimed, ‘All these bear testimony and bespeak an omnipotent and omnipresent power, a being who maketh laws and decreeth and bindeth all things in their bounds, who filleth eternity, who was and is and will be from all eternity to eternity.’ And when I considered all these things and that that being seeketh such to worship him as worship him in spirit and in truth, therefore I cried unto the Lord for mercy, for there was none else to whom I could go and obtain mercy.

And the Lord heard my cry in the wilderness and while in the attitude of calling upon the Lord, in the [15th] year of my age, a pillar of firelight above the brightness of the sun at noon day came down from above and rested upon me, and I was filled with the spirit of God. And the Lord opened the heavens upon me and I saw the Lord.

And he spake unto me saying, ‘Joseph, my son, thy sins are forgiven thee. Go thy way, walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments. Behold, I am the Lord of glory. I was crucified for the world that all those who believe on my name may have eternal life. Behold, the world lieth in sin at this time, and none doeth good, no not one. They have turned aside from the gospel and keep not my commandments. They draw near to me with their lips while their hearts are far from me. And mine anger is kindling against the inhabitants of the earth to visit them according to this ungodliness and to bring to pass that which hath been spoken by the mouth of the prophets and apostles. Behold and lo, I come quickly, as is written of me, in the cloud, clothed in the glory of my Father.’

And my soul was filled with love, and for many days I could rejoice with great joy, and the Lord was with me, but could find none that would believe the heavenly vision.”

(Joseph Smith, “Kirtland Letter Book” [MS, LDS Historian’s Library], 1829–1835, 1–6; the original spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and grammar have been altered to conform to contemporary usage). Also cited in the Presidents of the Church Institute Student Manual, pages 5-6.

Christ the Lord is Risen Today

Christ the Lord Has Risen TodayCan you imagine the celebration we must have had?

After centuries of watching, waiting, anticipating, sometimes with an almost agonizing hope, and other times with pain and sorrow as we watched our older Brother suffer in preparation for the event—to see Him willingly give His life must have been agonizing, but just like a mother’s joy when her baby arrives, we must have forgotten all the hurt, all the anxiety, and all the pain as He took on His new perfected life.

Can you imagine the party that must have taken place? We’re humans, we like to celebrate. Can you imagine the celebration Father must have had with us?

The beautiful thing about this celebration is that it continues. We mourn at the loss of every loved one. But the Savior’s resurrection opened an eternal gate, guaranteeing every person ever to be born the gift of immortality. The celebration of the resurrection is the celebration of every person we have ever loved, because thanks to Jesus Christ, we will all return to life.

(Here’s the orchestrated version)

The sheet music for the piano solo version of this piece can be found on my website.

Resurrection Quote

Nearer My God to Thee

Or if, on joyful wing cleaving the sky,
sun, moon, and stars forgot, upward I fly,
still all my song shall be,
nearer, my God, to thee;
nearer, my God, to thee, nearer to thee!

I tried to give this version of Nearer My God to Thee a style that might lend to the ponderous nature of the lyrics. Have you ever read them through, and thought about what’s being said? When I first read them through, it seemed a story of praise, even through suffering, but when I read it again, I see I laying down in death, and rising in eternal glory. Whichever way you read it, read it again. The words are amazing!

Nearer, my God, to thee, nearer to thee!
E’en though it be a cross that raiseth me,
still all my song shall be,
nearer, my God, to thee;
nearer, my God, to thee, nearer to thee!

Though like the wanderer, the sun gone down,
darkness be over me, my rest a stone;
yet in my dreams I’d be
nearer, my God, to thee;
nearer, my God, to thee, nearer to thee!

There let the way appear, steps unto heaven;
all that thou sendest me, in mercy given;
angels to beckon me
nearer, my God, to thee;
nearer, my God, to thee, nearer to thee!

Then, with my waking thoughts bright with thy praise,
out of my stony griefs Bethel I’ll raise;
so by my woes to be
nearer, my God, to thee;
nearer, my God, to thee, nearer to thee!

Or if, on joyful wing cleaving the sky,
sun, moon, and stars forgot, upward I fly,
still all my song shall be,
nearer, my God, to thee;
nearer, my God, to thee, nearer to thee!

 

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty

After writing the piano solo of this piece, I thought it might be fun to spice it up with some Djembe drum, tenor flute, and sistrum (a sort of Egyptian tambourine) to match the style of Hieway to Kolob. And just for good measure, I even included a line or two of didgeridoo. See if you can find it…

Oh, and let me know if you’d be interested in the sheet music. I’ll start working on it if anyone wants it.

 

How Can I Keep From Singing Sheet Music

 

My piano solo arrangement of How Can I Keep from Singing? is available on my website. And you can listen to the MP3 here! Just click on the play button above.

The music for How Can I Keep From Singing was written by Robert Lowry in 1868, and published with the text:

My life flows on in endless song;

Above earth’s lamentation,

I hear the sweet, tho’ far-off hymn

That hails a new creation;

Thro’ all the tumult and the strife

I hear the music ringing;

It finds an echo in my soul–

How can I keep from singing?

 

What tho’ my joys and comforts die?

The Lord my Saviour liveth;

What tho’ the darkness gather round?

Songs in the night he giveth.

No storm can shake my inmost calm

While to that refuge clinging;

Since Christ is Lord of heaven and earth,

How can I keep from singing?

 

I lift my eyes; the cloud grows thin;

I see the blue above it;

And day by day this pathway smooths,

Since first I learned to love it;

The peace of Christ makes fresh my heart,

A fountain ever springing;

All things are mine since I am his–

How can I keep from singing?

This favorite Christian hymn is a favorite of religious people across the world. In this piano solo arrangment, I tried to capture the joy the song implies.

Enjoy!