“Come to the Water” – Message on Acts 8:26-40

26An angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Get up and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This is a wilderness road.) 27So he got up and went. Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of the Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of her entire treasury. He had come to Jerusalem to worship 28and was returning home; seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah. 29Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over to this chariot and join it.” 30So Philip ran up to it and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah. He asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” 31He replied, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to get in and sit beside him. 32Now the passage of the scripture that he was reading was this:
“Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter,
and like a lamb silent before its shearer,
so he does not open his mouth.
33In his humiliation justice was denied him.
Who can describe his generation?
For his life is taken away from the earth.”
34The eunuch asked Philip, “About whom, may I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” 35Then Philip began to speak, and starting with this scripture, he proclaimed to him the good news about Jesus. 36As they were going along the road, they came to some water; and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water! What is to prevent me from being baptized?” 38He commanded the chariot to stop, and both of them, Philip and the eunuch, went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. 39When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. 40But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he was passing through the region, he proclaimed the good news to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.

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Church Music from Trinity Cathedral in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

[vimeo vimeo.com/25994173]

This is a video I recorded on March 4, 2010 while touring Trinity Cathedral in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. We were very fortunate to hear the cantor and chorus rehearsing the deggua or “church song” in the cathedral. The video also shows the beautiful stained glass windows and the tomb of Haile Selassie.

The sacred music of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church is very old. The hymnary is attributed to Saint Yared, a scholar who lived in Aksum in the 6th century. This is perhaps the most astonishing thing about our journey toward adoption because Deacon’s “finding place” was in front of Saint Yared Music School in Addis Ababa in 2006. I don’t think it was a coincidence that my profession/livelihood/calling happens to be church music and that is where Deacon was found! That news was an epiphany for me. Just as God had used music in my life to bring me into the faith and into a relationship with Him as an adopted son, God used a music school to make me a father and teach me about faith, love, and hope.

Learn more about Trinity Cathedral HERE. Learn more about Ethiopian Orthodox Liturgy HERE.

 

Song Story – "Orphan"

“Orphan” is the fourth track from the “Family EP” that I recorded/released last year. Since we adopted Deacon back in May 2007, I had been reflecting on the whole journey. The whole process left a huge impact on me. This recording is my expression of what our adoption means to me.

In the process of song writing and deciding what themes to include, I knew I wanted to include a track that captured the Kingdom imperative to care for the “least of these.”

‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ (Matthew 25:34-40)

Caring for orphans, widows, strangers, prisoners, the sick, the abused, … etc. is hugely important. The reason I know this is important is because it’s not just a nice story found in one part of the Bible. It’s a command scattered across both the Old and New Testaments. One of my favorite renderings of this command is from the sixth chapter of Micah. “Orphan” is basically a rocking version of Micah 6:8.

He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)

Give it a listen:

Orphan

Here are the lyrics:

People everywhere live with injustice.
Terror, disease, death, and war.

Love mercy,
Walk humbly,
Act justly,
Love mercy.

Strengthen the faint, lift the weak;
Your mighty hand can save.
Stand up for the orphan.

Love mercy,
Walk humbly,
Act justly,
Love mercy.

And the liner notes-type stuff if you’re interested:

“Orphan” – w/m by Clayton Faulkner (c) 2009
electric guitar, acoustic guitar, bass guitar, percussion, vocals – Clayton Faulkner
drum programming by Stephen Bolech
Produced by Clayton Faulkner & Stephen Bolech.
Recorded, mixed, and mastered by Stephen Bolech at Studio K in Waco, TX.

My new recording – "Family" EP

I’ve been busy lately working on a new recording. Since we adopted Deacon back in May 2007, I’ve been quietly reflecting on the whole journey. The whole process left a huge impact on me. This recording is my expression of what our adoption means to me.

I’m calling it the “Family” EP. There are 5 songs – all written by me. “Goodbye” is written from the perspective of Deacon’s birth parents. I tried to put myself in their shoes and write a song about it, and this is what came out. “Help Me Seek Your Face” is a song about surrendering what you think you want and letting yourself be carried off by what God has in store. “Music” is my attempt at capturing the story of how Deacon was found in front of a music school in Ethiopia. “Orphan” is a rocking version of Micah 6:8. “Hello” is a song about the day we met Deacon.

All the songs are available for download at http://claytonfaulkner.com.