From Big Sky country, teens at worship

Now that it’s almost Thanksgiving and we’ve had a few snow storms, warm up with this video produced by teens at Camp Marshall in the Episcopal Diocese of Montana this past summer.

From YouTube:

“Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” a music video (videosong) performed and produced by campers and staff of Camp Marshall Episcopal, senior high camp 2011.

Inspired by captivating and compelling music/video projects such as those by ‘Playing for Change’ and ‘Pomplamoose,’ this “Come Thou Fount’ project is the second videosong from the new and groundbreaking (read: breaking ground) Media Arts Center at Camp Marshall. While developing this piece in our wonderful, woodsy outdoor environment, under the tabernacle of the stars, we utilized the Media Center to listen to many versions of this song for inspiration, including interpretations by Sufjan Stevens, David Crowder Band, Chris Rice, Jars of Clay, and an especially unique rendition from Jadon Lavik. Don’t forget the Mormon Tabernacle Choir! Every artist’s acute perspective as amazing as the last!

The camp launched a pilot media arts program in June, 2011. The idea was to explore what it means to be 21st century Christians, people who are active and fluent in the digitally-connected existence in the midst of which we find ourselves, yet who are connected deeply to one another and to Christ.

The technical qualification for a videosong, as originally offered by Pomplamoose:

VideoSong, a music video medium with 2 rules:

1. What you see is what you hear (no lip-syncing for instruments or voice).

2. If you hear it, at some point you see it (no hidden sounds).

Don’t forget to watch in HD!

Note from the Director:

Okay, so, moment of transparency — this videosong does not follow the rules exclusively; it cannot be officially qualified with other legit videosongs. But it’s close. We decided to compromise the technical qualification in order to maximize the impact of the experience. Next year though…

This inconsistency, however, can be an opportunity to invite you or any curious viewer to participate in this project: Can anybody point out the places where this video breaks the rules? Some are more obvious than others….

Also for the record, my personal favorite version to listen to (right now) is the Sufjan Stevens one. Sufjan makes it so gentle, so good. Unlike this videosong you’re watching, our “Come Thou Fount: Unplugged” video possesses this same kind of quiet and intimate energy as Sufjan’s.

Thanks to God whose gifts of life-giving energy have made it possible for me to be a part of something like this. And thanks to Dave Campbell for all the support!


Oh – and by the way, from verse two of the song, what’s an Ebenezer?

It is usually transliterated as a proper name by dropping the definite article (Ha) from the Hebrew word for “help” (Ezer) and putting it together with the Hebrew word for “stone” (Even) to create: “Ebenezer.” The etymological roots of the word, thus defined, should demonstrate that an “Ebenezer” is, literally, a “Stone of Help.”

In 1 Samuel 4:1-11 and 5:1, the Ebenezer is strangely identified with a particular site, about four miles south of Gilgal, where the Israelites were twice defeated by the Philistines and the Ark of the Covenant was stolen. These battles took place, however, before the site was actually named Ebenezer. It was like someone saying that Dinosaurs once lived in Dallas county — they did, but not when this area was called “Dallas.” Likewise, the two battles mentioned in 1 Samuel 4 and 5 took place at Ebenezer, but some time before it was so-named.

The site wasn’t named Ebenezer until after the Israelites finally defeated the Philistines, and took back the Ark of the Covenant. To commemorate the victorious battle, Samuel set up a marker-stone, named it “Stone of Help,” and thereby the site became identified with the stone and with the place where God’s miraculous help aided them in their victory over the Philistines. The stone, standing up-right, was called “Ebenezer,” and the site naturally took on that name as well.

Literally speaking, an Ebenezer is a “stone of help,” or a reminder of God’s Real, Holy Presence and Divine aid. Spiritually and theologically speaking, an Ebenezer can be nearly anything that reminds us of God’s presence and help: the Bible, the Sacramental Elements, a cross, a picture, a fellow believer, a hymn – those things which serve as reminders of God’s love, God’s Real Presence, and God’s assistance are “Ebenezers.”

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