"BRING FORTH" is a collection of songs by Ben Thomas inspired by a handful of hymn lyrics dating from the 4th century to the 20th century, all seeking to find the Divine in the everyday elements of our existence... life, death, creation, re-creaton, dawn, day, dusk.
Much can be said about the rhythms of life we find in the everyday. From the microscopic of cells coming into existence, growing, reproducing and passing their DNA to the next generation, to the macro-space cycle of stars being born, dying, etc. This creative cycle that seems so second nature to our existence seems to echo the nature of Divine in all created order.
In between it all we find ourselves plunged everyday into a life of birth and death and rebirth, embedded with an urge to mimic this great Creator in every aspect of life - creating and recreating, holding hands with this Divine Dance Partner, breathing in the old and breathing out something new - using the created order to contribute another note into this great symphony.
This collection of songs became an opportunity for me to do just that. The raw materials I used to create these songs came from a handful of hymns, mostly written long before I walked the planet. I used those hymns as starting points, the building blocks for the songs of this project, to which I added melody and arrangements and new lyrics to bring forth a creation that feels as much like “me” as anything I’ve ever created.
Making this record has been one of the most fulfilling experiences in my life and has taught me a ton about the act of creating and re-creating… standing on the shoulders of others who have written before me, partnering with those around me via a $10,000 Kickstarter campaign, and mirroring the movements found in Creation itself - Dawn. Day. Dusk. - Humanity and Divinity in a daily dance of creation.
The songs will be released in 3 movements, echoing a fundamental cycle we find ourselves in every day: TIME. The first chapter is called Dawn, the second, Day and the third, Dusk. My hope is that these songs will find their way into the common parts of your life - your dawn, your day, your dusk - the rhythm of your everyday, and speak to you in surprising ways.
~ Ben Thomas, April 2015
BRING FORTH: DAWN
Dawn is the beginning. New life. The opening of eyelids in the morning, like the first opening of a baby’s eye, ready to receive light and take in the majesty of this wide and wonderful and mysterious world. Each dawn is an opportunity to start over… to look at the world around us in fresh light and to reset our perspective with the mind of a beginner.
We are told that Jesus woke early in the morning to experience this freshness and clarity, by retreating from those around him while it was still dark.
This power and possibility in this same dawn comes to us each and every day. Yet, for many, it may transcend the literal and also become a season of Dawn we are being beckoned to… a season of revival and hope and dreams and potential.
Each of us are part of this giant cosmic story of life and death and rebirth, and dawn represents the starting point. And the starting point again.
Be still. Open your eyes.
You are alive and full of life.
Allow the light of life to hit you in a new way today.
A PRAYER FOR DAWN
And so we ask, Creator God - where might I find life today? Where might I be surprised by beauty in the unexpected? What new colors and sensations might I perceive today that would inspire me to give back to the very creation that called me from the ground today? How might I give back to this Life that is beyond me?
Give me the eyes of a child… a beginner. Teach me to hold my expectations lightly. Teach me what it means to give myself over to your Spirit. Expand my imagination, deepen wonder with in me, wake me to new possibilities and with each new day create in me a greater openness.
BRING FORTH: DAY
In the fullness of the day we can roll our pants up, take our shoes off and go wading in rivers. We can lay on our backs and stare at the sun, dwelling on the sheer magnitude of this ball of fire that gives life and energy to all we know and all we are. The sun is faithful. It always returns.
Daytime is alive with the presence of this promise and the fullness of life around us. Daytime is full of energy and spirit and is happening RIGHT NOW… in THIS moment.
Living in the fullness of day is an invitation to step outside our tendencies to live in the past or dream of the future and keep our attention on what is right in front of us. It is an invitation to enjoy, to soak in the here-ness of the Divine in all creation… to breathe deep and LIVE.
A PRAYER FOR DAY
Lord of All Being, I admit my tendencies to escape the present moment by dwelling on past or living in the future.
Today I offer a sacrifice of my attention.
Teach me to rest in the present and to make each moment a sacred encounter with the Divine.
Teach me to observe beauty in the ordinary.
Bring awareness to what is right in front of me.
Bring intentionality to my actions.
Allow me to live fully awake.
BRING FORTH: DUSK
Dusk is the closing movement of the day. Dusk is the exhale and the release. It is looking westward toward the sunset. Dusk is the moment of rest. It is pulling in the driveway at the end of a long day and having your children wrap their arms around your neck. It is an opportunity to press pause digest the seemingly endless stream of moments that make up our lives.
Dusk is about gathering around campfire and telling stories. In the telling and retelling of these stories we find ourselves grounded in a greater Story… one where we find the Divine in unexpected places, where dead things come back to life, and where we are reminded that our endings are just the seeds of new beginnings.
A PRAYER FOR DUSK
Lord, as we walk through our days... our Dawn, Day and Dusk, open our eyes to see the story you are weaving together. Elevate our thinking to a place that allows us to experience the value in our own stories. Give us grace and peace as we engage with the stories of others. Let our ears, hearts, homes and tables be open to our neighbors, friends and enemies.
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