A Los Angeles native, Ed Lemus began his musical career as a child by playing piano and guitar during services at his home church, St. Gerard Majella. He received his degree in composition and choral conducting from the University of San Diego. A man of deep faith, Ed currently serves as music director for several churches in Los Angeles, including Westwood Hills Congregational, Gateway Christian, and St. Augustine Church. Ed’s gift for expressing his belief in God through music is well-recognized, and he hopes that the music he helps to create at Nashuva will touch your heart and deepen your prayer.
What does Nashuva mean to you?
To me it’s a way of praying, a way of getting in touch with how you pray. An approach to praying to God deeply, from the soul, as a community. I get enlightenment from the prayers Naomi has written and also I feel like I’m getting to know my relationship with God a lot better.
What is it like to be part of the Nashuva band?
Being part of a very enlightening experience. It’s working with people who are more like a family than a band. We cooperate and help each other. There are no egos. It’s a bonding experience. Instead of performance it’s a way of prayer.
What is it like to be part of the Nashuva service?
Being part of it is an exciting way of prayer. I play music at many services and Nashuva is the only service I can relax and pray in because everyone is included, including the band. It’s exciting to be working with Naomi. I keep learning new things from her. She’s a wonderful person to work with and extremely patient. I keep getting an education from her sermons. They give me a very well rounded and well centered view of scripture. The wonderful thing about her sermons is that she has a wonderful gift for combining technical information with lessons for life that are so easy to understand.
What is the connection between your music and your prayer?
Music to me is a direct connection to God. Music is the prayer. Even if the song has no text, it is a form of prayer. It’s using your feeling from the heart.
How would you describe Nashuva?
It is a meeting place. A time to get together to pray and to relax and let all your troubles go away and to concentrate on your relationship between you and God and to talk to God which I don’t think we do enough of in our lives. At Nashuva we can take the opportunity to just stop. My favorite part is when we stop, close our eyes and talk to God. Nashuva includes everyone. Every faith is included.
How does Nashuva differ from other services you’ve been part of?
Nashuva is more praise and prayer based than most services which are very structured. Nashuva has its structure, but there’s a certain openness to it. It has room to be more creative.
What is the Nashuva musical experience to you?
I love the style of music. It’s a combination of styles. The music gets people to pray. We’ve found a way to combine the old and the new.
How would you describe the Nashuva community?
Very eager to get to know each other. Very gregarious. Very happy. Very warm. The response to the service is very strong. They actually pray. It’s a really nice community. It feels like a family. We have a combination of all different faiths that come.
What’s it like to be a Christian at Nashuva?
It’s a fantastic experience being involved. Sometimes I forget where everything I hold dear really comes from. It’s wonderful for me to return to the roots of my religion as a Christian. God is God to me and that’s something we all share. Judaism is the root of my religion. Nashuva has actually been one of the rare groups where I can pray deeply. People know who I am and it’s a welcoming atmosphere and they’re very happy that I’m involved. It’s also deepened my own faith and has made me stronger. And I think a lot of it has to do with getting back to the bible, the Hebrew Scriptures.