Posted by: Billy Marsh | July 27, 2007

The Shadow Of Your Wings: Music for Meditation on the Trinity

The Shadow of Your Wings

Fernando Ortega’s The Shadow of Your Wings: Hymns and Sacred Songs is one of the most powerful albums I have ever listened to. This record continues to impact me at the same level of emotion and soleminity that it did when I first received it in the mail and removed the plastic wrapping. In my opinion, Ortega has done what many musicians fail to do. He has made an album which remains fresh after every listen. Though Andrew Peterson probably holds the mountain peak for me as far as who my favorite artist is, Ortega is not far behind. In fact, honestly, when I try to create a hierarchial system for distinguishing between Andrew Peterson, Michael Card, and Fernando Ortega, I betray all of them and the equal influence which each has had on my walk with Jesus.

This is Ortega’s newest release. And it is most definitely a breath of fresh air. Believe it or not, I am a very meditative person and love the quiet. Conveniently, I am also a morning person. I listen to a lot of instrumental and classical music in the mornings to prepare my heart for my quiet times and to help me focus. So, Ortega is priceless for my devotions and personal walk with Christ, especially with this new album.

Ortega is classically trained in the piano and he leaves his soft and carefully orchestrated touch on every song new and old. There is a gentleness and tenderness to his music that goes unmatched. He is never in a hurry. Ortega’s efforts pay off and goes to show that just like “. . . children, true love, and wine, the best things in life take time (a Wes King lyric from the song “Slow Miracles” from his album What Matters Most).” Please take advantage of this album and be served by Ortega’s commitment to use his spiritual gifts for the building up of the body. Rarely does a Christian musician with his level of artistry who has etched out for himself his own style and unique sound care so much for the Church instead of the growth of his pocket-book and radio air-play. Ortega loves the Church and even more so Christ. And this dynamic manifests itself very quickly in his carefully composed new album.

Ortega summarizes the message of his new record on the back of his album case stating:

There’s too little time for reflection in my life these days-too little meditation and quiet. As everything about our culture gets louder and more “in-your-face”, my ability to concentrate on spiritual things feels thin and compromised. These songs were written in response to that dilemma.

My starting point was the morning mass from The Book of Common Prayer-a pronouncement of peace, prayers of contrition, the bending of the knee. These things bring me to a right perspective for worship. From there, the record turns to the Holy Trinity-the faithfulness of the Father, the wooing of the Holy Spirit, the sacrifice and supremacy of Christ. I tried to lay these songs out with a liturgical sense, though in the form of a personal devotion, or “quiet time”.

My greatest reward in putting this record together has been in finding rich, new beauty in simple Bible passages I have known all my life.

“for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.”

~ Psalm 63:7 ~

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Responses

  1. After reading this…I can’t wait to go buy this cd!! I actually just got finished listing to the samples of the songs off Amazon…and it sounds really great. Thanks :)

  2. That’s great Keri. I’m pretty sure you’ll like it. If not, be patient with it and let it grow on you. Kim and I had a great time with ya! We miss you and love you.

  3. I will have to pick up Ortega’s new albumn. Rich Mullins is my favorite Christian artist and I try to find otehrs who are as thoughtful as him. Ortega is different but still a master of Christian music. I like his remakes of some fo the great hymns which is remarkable since I usually hate that kind of thing. Andrew Peterson and Michael Card are great also. Poiema by Card is one of my favorite albumns of all time. I think he hits some of main thrusts of the Christian faith head on in that record. Peterson is so honest and does not play for CCM or anything else but to worship God. His second albumn is also one of my favorites.

    And then I see that you have a link to Steve Bell. Wow! I thought i was the only one who knew of him who does not live in Canada. He is another very thoughtful artist. I have five of his cds including 2 of his that are of CD magazine that he produced that is very good.

    Well I just thought you would want to know that you have good taste n Christian music. If you ar ever around SWBTS (I do not know where you live) then look me up.

    Oh BTW there is a “secular” artist, Neal Morse that you might like. You might not though. He used to be in a bad called Spock’s Beard. They are a progressive rock band. Anyways he is a Christian and has made some spectacular CDs based on his Christian life and faith. i will give you some links to some of his and one by spock’s Beard that are worth looking into.

    Spock’s beard Snow:
    http://www.amazon.com/Snow-Spocks-Beard/dp/B00006FN6I/ref=pd_bbs_sr_2/105-7951394-9752425?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1185679630&sr=1-2

    Neal Morse Testimony:
    http://www.amazon.com/Snow-Spocks-Beard/dp/B00006FN6I/ref=pd_bbs_sr_2/105-7951394-9752425?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1185679630&sr=1-2

    ? Neal Morse
    http://www.amazon.com/Neal-Morse/dp/B000BI1YJW/ref=sr_1_4/105-7951394-9752425?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1185679693&sr=1-4

    Sola Scriptura- Neal Morse
    http://www.amazon.com/Sola-Scriptura-Neal-Morse/dp/B000MTDRKE/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/105-7951394-9752425?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1185679693&sr=1-1

    BTW my favorite Steve Bell Cd
    http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Shadow-Steve-Bell/dp/B00000IXTL/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/105-7951394-9752425?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1185679561&sr=8-1

  4. We see eye to eye on a lot of music and that’s great. I’m pretty much the lone rider promoting Card, Ortega, Peterson, and Keaggy that I know of, at least among my friends and family. Everyone is so blind by CCM that they wouldn’t know good music if they heard it or saw it.

    I can’t believe you like Steve Bell too. I only have 3 of his cd’s right now and I love them all. He’s an amazing guitarist and songwriter.

    Thanks for the links, I will check them out. Thanks for your comment too and for the encouragement. I am a SWBTS student and should graduate in May ’08 with my MDIV. Let me know if you find more good Christian music, I’m always looking!

  5. Rpog. Rock is not everyone’s cup of tea so if you do not like Spock’s Beard or Neal Morse I can understand. Although Neal Morse does have a Christian folk CD that is okay. AS far as my musical taste goes I like Christian singer songwriters like Rich Mullins and Steve Bell. BTW if you have not listened to Rich Mullins then you should. Andrew Peterson does one of his songs “Mary Picked the Roses” on one of his CDs. He and Caedmon’s CAll (who do another one of his songs on one of their CDs) are highly influenced by him. I like some of what could be termed “secular” singer songwriters like Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash but they are usually Christian and have Christian themes in their music.

    As far as music goes I am very ecclectic. I just like well done music. My favorite though is probably progressive rock.

    I work on campus at SWBTS. I work for Dr. Mark Taylor. Dusty, Mike sawliosky, and some others, and I are doing a reading group in the fall semester. We are reading some Irenaeus and Van Hoozer. Email me or come by my office S220 if you are interested.

    BH- Carl Peterson

  6. Thanks Carl, I think I’ve listened to some Neal Morse before. They had somewhat of a late sixties or early seventies clean distortion sound to them. I liked what I heard. I will check out Spock’s Beard soon. Yes, I love Rich Mullins too, but he is kind of a given. He’s the launching pad for guys like Andrew Peterson and others.

    I have a lot of secular music that I love too. I’m a big Pink Floyd fan, Dylan, The Band, and Sufjan Stevens. I know those span a lot of different genres and years, but I just love good music. Now, if it’s good Christian music, that’s even better.

    Thanks for the invite to the club. I’m already reading “Is There a meaning in this text?” by Vanhoozer and his new book “Everyday Theology”. I also have already read Irenaeus’ On the Apostolic Preaching which was amazing. The Drama of Doctrine is next on my list. I have a pretty stacked fall semester and am already in a Francis Schaeffer reading club. I will have to see about adding on another one.

  7. You might want to check out these links in regards to Neal Morse and his beliefs. I think you will find these interesting in light of the subject matter of this page.

    Christianity Today
    http://www.christianitytoday.com/music/glimpses/2007/solascriptura.html

    http://www.christianitytoday.com/music/interviews/2007/nealmorse-0407.html

    From Neal’s Message board
    http://p216.ezboard.com/Neal-answers-theology-question/fnealmorsefrm8.showMessage?topicID=781.topic

  8. Wow, thanks Joe! I haven’t really listened to Neal Morse yet, I’ve only been referred to him. But, I checked out your links and they are pretty startling. A dismissal of the Trinity would definitely be something that would keep me from listening to his music. I will keep reading up on him in these articles, and thanks for the info and warning. I’m more of a folk/folk rock guy anyway.

  9. I was an avid fan and really had no clue until he addressed the issue on his message board. Then I engaged in the long debate with him and other members from his church (Christian Gospel Temple) which is affiliated with the little known Gospel Assembly movement started by a guy named William Sowders. Anyway I hope this helps those who do not know his beliefs to understand how dangerous those beliefs are.

  10. Oh and I have a really good recommendation for you.

    Check these guys out I think you will like them
    http://www.thesonsofkorah.com/

  11. Thanks Joe, I will check them out. I’m always looking for good, new Christian music.


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