• Ben Groth is currently the Associate Pastor at Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Menomonee Falls, WI. He has also worked as a musician in Lutheran and Episcopal congregations and started a choir in a mental health hospital. Ben has been a presenter at Music that Makes Community Events since 2014.

    Our beauty is not in our strength,
    it comes from our weakness made holy by God,
    made holy by God.

    Our faith is not in our knowing,
    it comes from our yearning made holy by God,
    made holy by God.

    Our hope is not in our triumph.
    It comes from our failure made holy by God,
    made holy by God.

    I wrote these lines in the midst of a retreat on the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius. Each verse shares the theme that the drive for personal success might be the greatest enemy of success as it relates to a life of faith. Strength, knowledge, triumph: these are all things that successful, well-adjusted, driven people are supposed to have. But the deeper truth is that we never get where we’re going on our own, and that the beauty, faith, and hope we yearn for can only come when we let the grace of God shine on the places of failure in our lives. In the midst of a world filled with violence, these verses ask us to let go of our own self-righteousness, and seek to empower us in the places our need is greatest.

    This piece requires a little bit of patience to teach and learn, but the message runs deep enough that sinking into the gentle 3/4 meter will produce repetition might speak to our souls even as we learn it.  The melody can be sung on its own, but adding the counter-melody provides the chance for little moments of harmony in the midst of unity. Certainly, the message of grace through failure is built in to the act of singing, a fact which I take advantage of on a regular basis!

    From my perspective, the movement of Music that Makes Community is a way to embody the affirmation of the beloved-ness of each person by God through the act of singing. In our way of singing, each person has something valuable and beautiful to contribute to the whole, just as each person is valuable and beautiful in the sight of God. As we seek to respond to a society that continues to de-humanize and destroy people on a daily basis, I’d suggest that perhaps even the humble art of singing with others can be an act of rebellion and a way to re-humanize one another through sharing our common experiences of failure and weakness.

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    • Ana Hernandez
      commented 2016-07-20 10:42:52 -0400
      This song has been spinning around inside me since the moment you taught it to us, Ben. It ’s achingly beautiful, and very sticky! Deep bow, and blessings on your move to Kentucky!

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