The Cry of Jesus in Bach’s Matthew-Passion

The incomparable final chorus of J. S. Bach’s Matthew-Passion, which leaves us with Christ dead in the tomb, is one of the great cries of Western civilization. While the text speaks of crying or weeping (weinen in Bach’s German), the music itself suggests to me much more of a crying-out (schreien): the multitude following Jesus […]

The Life Given

In 1991, Wendell Berry wrote this poem for his long series of poems under the title of “Sabbath”: Loving you has taught me the infinite longing of the self to be given away and the great difficulty of that entire giving, for in love to give is to receive and then there is yet more […]

Trials, Questions, and Our Responsive God (Video)

Trials, Questions, and Our Repsonsive God from Citylife Presbyterian Church Bos on Vimeo. Interacting with D.A. Carson, Stephen Um unpacks and comments on six points that are essential to understand when we consider the topic of suffering. Download the rest of the sermon here. 

Jonathan Edwards and the Typology of Art

As a seminarian, I am blessed with extensive hours to study God’s Word, systematic theology, church history, and various disciplines related to practical theology. Truthfully, at times during nearly six semesters I have used less positive language to describe my experience for many reasons I will not unpack here. But when I am studying the […]

Video: “What is the Gospel?” (Um & Lints)

What is the Gospel? from Citylife Presbyterian Church Bos on Vimeo. In this video, Stephen Um and Richard Lints discuss the nature and some of the implications of the gospel. From its redemptive-historical shape to its shaping influence upon all of life, the discussion will help to broaden and sharpen your knowledge of and response […]

There and Bach Again: A Musician’s Meanderings (Part 3)

At this point, many would argue that if a particular hope or longing appears hard-wired within us, that is proof that the thing hoped in or longed for must exist. [1] The analogy is often drawn to hunger: the fact that we hunger indicates that we hunger for something that exists: namely, food. It is […]

The Gospel in a Changing Korea

On February 20-21, 2012, City to City Asia hosted a two-day intensive Gospel in the City conference in the Yeong-jae district of Seoul, South Korea. Our meeting took place at Torch Theological Seminary on one of the campuses of Onnuri Presbyterian Church, one of the largest churches in Seoul. With fifty to sixty leaders in […]

Leaning Into The Future: Thinking About Ethics

As I was recently reading back through some of Wendell Berry’s essays, I ran across this haunting passage: The ideal of the “informed decision” forces “decision makers” into a thicket of facts, studies, tests, and “projections.”… The problem is that decisions all have to do with the future, and all the actual knowledge we have […]

On “Traditional” Worship (2 of 2)

Last week we observed that to whatever extent self-consciously “traditional” worship music seeks to define itself by contrast with “contemporary” worship music, it ironically subjugates its identity to the very thing it would seek to define itself against. When its identity becomes governed by something other than the God of the gospel, “traditional” worship music […]