Amid Passing Things
This pleasing selection of contemporary liturgical music comprises eight songs plus a musical setting for the new Roman Missal, the Mass of Renewal.
Written in a mellow, light pop-rock style, Amid Passing Things is distinguished by graceful melodies and Stephan’s unmannered, nuanced voice that seems to resonate with a sense of complex and deeply felt experience.
Standout songs include “Ready the Way”, where the hypnotic repetition of the chorus (drawn from Isaiah 40) gradually opens up layers of meaning and emotional response. “Take Up Our Cross” blends an awareness of both the costs and beauty of the Christian path, culminating in an ecstatic moment of adoration. Drawn from Hosea 2, “Into the Desert” beautifully embraces the paradoxes of desert spirituality: “From the desert your life will bloom; out of despair is hope renewed.”
Stephan’s music for the Mass of Renewal includes ten short and elegant compositions, beginning with “the Kyrie” and concluding with “Lamb of God”. Musically, it would be difficult to find a more succinct, melodic statement of the Eucharist than “When We Eat This Bread”.
Amid Passing Things is accessible without lapsing into the formulaic. Aside from formal use within the church, it would provide a gentle, uplifting basis for private contemplation.