Does Asian American worship music exist, and what could it sound like? Over the past several years I’ve been on a quest to answer these questions as an Asian American songwriter looking for inspiration and songwriting role models who look like me. Though many Asian American churches and ministries often sing worship songs from the likes of Hillsong and Bethel, or Western hymns for the older generation, with a bit of digging, I’ve discovered that worship songs written by and for Asian American Christians have actually been around for decades. And this blog post highlights songs, composers and efforts toward creating worship music for a variety of different Asian American contexts from the 1970s till today. Continue reading “A History of Asian American Worship Music”
More Ways to Celebrate Lunar New Year in a Worship Service
Lunar New Year falls on January 22nd this year, and I’m back with more songs and ideas to celebrate the holiday in a worship service, building off my blog post from last year on this topic.
1. May the Love of the Lord – Dr. Swee Hong Lim and Maria Ling
This English language benediction song has a pentatonic melody. The song’s background story can be found here. A choral arrangement is available here.
Continue reading “More Ways to Celebrate Lunar New Year in a Worship Service”
5 Songs for Advent by API Songwriters
Advent is a season of preparation in anticipation of Christ’s birth as well as Christ’s second coming, and it is observed for 4 Sundays before Christmas. It is a time of reflection, mourning and yearning for Jesus to come make all things new. Below are 5 songs for the Advent season written by Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander songwriters. Continue reading “5 Songs for Advent by API Songwriters”
Worship Resources for Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month
This blog post features worship resources based on Psalm 139 which declares that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” In a time when Asian diaspora communities are being attacked and hated, the affirming and healing message of this psalm is much needed. The resources below could be used throughout the year and especially during Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month (AAPIHM) in May. Also note that while the authors of these resources are East Asian American women, the resources speak to and can be adapted for a variety of AAPI histories and communities. Continue reading “Worship Resources for Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month”
Worship Resources in Remembrance of the Atlanta Spa Shootings
Next month, the first anniversary of the Atlanta spa shootings, where 6 Asian women were massacred, will be upon us. While it is hard to think about those horrific events, we must not forget the lives lost, as well as the racism and misogyny that Asian women in the States have endured throughout U.S. history. One year later, Asian American women are still grieving and facing violence, and it is important for the church to continue to weep with and journey with them. This blog post features artwork, songs, and prayers by Asian American women that name the painful realities that Asian American women experience. Continue reading “Worship Resources in Remembrance of the Atlanta Spa Shootings”
Examples of Asian American Worship Music
Many second-generation (and beyond) Asian American ministries tend to use worship songs from white megachurches like Hillsong and Bethel. It is hard to find distinct Asian American voices in worship music. However, there are a few songwriters that I know of who have written songs from and for Asian North American English-speaking contexts. While much remains to be explored and written, below are 4 different approaches to Asian American worship songwriting along with song examples:
1. Drawing From Asian Cultural Themes
Julie Tai is a Korean American songwriter whose song “Revere” contains lyrics about the reverence and fear of God. These themes are strongly present in Tai’s Korean American Christian community. Continue reading “Examples of Asian American Worship Music”
Contextualizing Holy Week for Asian Americans
Worship leaders planning ahead for Holy Week may find inspiration from Japanese American artist Henry Sugimoto, who contextualizes the passion of Christ in a striking way. Continue reading “Contextualizing Holy Week for Asian Americans”
5 Ways to Celebrate Lunar New Year in a Worship Service
I was inspired to dream of what a #VeryAsian church service might look like after seeing people use the hashtag to proudly celebrate their Asian heritage in the face of anti-Asian racism. Many Asian Christians, past and present, gave up cultural traditions after they converted to Christianity, but what if we could worship God with all parts of ourselves, including our cultural heritage? Lunar New Year seems like a great opportunity to do just this, and below are 5 accessible resources and ideas for celebrating the holiday in worship.
Continue reading “5 Ways to Celebrate Lunar New Year in a Worship Service”
Welcome to My Asian American Worship Blog!
Welcome to my blog where I discuss and share resources on the topic of Asian American worship. I first became interested in this topic around 2015 after I started writing worship songs and it dawned on me that in the 2 years I spent attempting to do multicultural worship leading, I never came across Asian American worship songs or resources. Thus I began my independent study…
I recently felt compelled to share the information and resources I’ve collected over the years. My hope is that this blog sparks conversation and inspires Asian Americans to create their own contextualized worship resources and services. There may not be tons of material already out there but there is enough for at least several blog posts (so stay tuned 🙂 ). If you would like to use any of the worship resources shared here, please request permissions or report usage as noted and needed. May the Asian American offerings of worship shared in this blog be multiplied just as Jesus blessed and multiplied the 5 loaves and 2 fish.