Song Discovery 2019: Hope Has A Name

 
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“Hope has a name. His name is Jesus.”

This song sings like a modern hymn, but also boasts an epic, soaring chorus. The simplicity of the musical arrangement makes ample room for the voices of the masses; while it’s melodic intensity impels us to be swept up into the inspirational message. Hope Has A Name emboldens us to join with angels and archangels and proclaim it’s truth.

 
 

Song Discovery 2019: ABIDE WITH ME

 
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“Thou has not left me though I oft left Thee; on to the close, Lord, abide with me.”

The time-honored lyrics of this classic hymn are wonderfully reset as the already intimate nature of the song is further enhanced by a new captivating melody. There is a sweetness to the repeated prayer; welcoming God’s presence in darkness, sunshine, rebellion, grace, and, ultimately, dying and resurrecting. “In [all of] life and [all of] death, Lord, abide with me.”

 
 

Song Discovery 2019: HE WEARS A CROWN

 
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“Hallelujah! Highest praise! Name above all other names! Through earth and heaven, let it resound: He bore a cross, now he wears a crown.”

This powerful song displays the supremacy of Christ and responds with heartfelt praise. There is a grandeur in the melodic structure that inspires fearful wonder, and also bids the worshipper draw near. He Wears A Crown leads us toward exuberant praise without losing the intimacy of a personal conversation.

 
 

Song Discovery 2019: MY PRAYER

 
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“Thank you, Jesus”

Sometimes it’s the simple assertions that carry us when we need it most. This song contends with worry and wondering by practicing gratitude. Three simple words, “Thank you, Jesus,” presume his intimate involvement and trustworthiness. My Prayer is a useful tool for teaching followers of Jesus how to pray: honestly, directly, and in confidence.

 
 

Song Discovery 2019: STAY CLOSE

 
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“Stay close to me when the night is long. When my heart is weak, still your word is strong.”

This modern day, confessional psalm cries out for the Father’s hand of help, the company of Jesus, and “the force of Heaven” in the midst of struggle. The song leads the worshipper to ask God for reminders of the future while enduring the wait for redemption. Stay Close is a ready companion for a person or community who is feeling alone.

 
 

Song Discovery 2019: SET FREE

 
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“No trial, no fire, no furnace can shake me away from your promise.”

“Resolve: fixity of purpose”

This song is an anthem for the doubting, abounding with resolve. It repeatedly reminds the worshipper of the truth of God’s faithful and all-sufficient love, while simultaneously celebrating the reality of it. Set Free is a sticky, upbeat song that you’ll quickly carry with you.

In the writer’s words:

“We pray that the sound waves of our community’s praise would echo a life-changing message throughout our valley and beyond.”

 
 

Song Discovery 2019: PSALM 132 (A CHURCH ESTABLISHED)

 
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“We have no such lengths to go, Nor wander far abroad; Where'er thy saints assemble now, there is a house for God.”

The lyrics of this song were primarily taken from a poem written in the 17th century by Isaac Watts. It speaks of a truth that I have been slow to comprehend: Church is not the building in which we congregate or a place we go, but rather a thing that we are. I’ve heard this countless times in my life, but it is continuously difficult to grasp. We are the place in which God now dwells: his abode. Our bodies are temples; our congregations are altars; the global, catholic Church, of which Jesus is the head, is a home for God. The Catechism explains that the Church “lives from him, in him, and for him; he lives with her and in her.” May we sing this song to remind one another of the honor and responsibility we have as saints, and learn together that as we share ourselves with the world, we are sharing Christ.

 
 

Song Discovery 2019: Light After Darkness

 
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“Weeping may remain for a night, but joy arrives in morning’s new light.  I’ll praise the God of merciful plight; still I will praise him, still I will praise him.”

Hope is sometimes hard to come by. This song does a great job of validating that truth while pointing toward the hope that is found in Jesus. Darkness, loss, weakness, crosses, bitterness, fear, wandering, tears, sowing, rain, mystery, pain, sorrow, blasts, weariness, distance, gloom, loneliness, tombs, agony AND light, gain, strength, crowns, sweetness, hope, home, praise, sheaves, sun, sight, peace, joy, calm, rest, nearness, gleam, love, life, bliss.

Let us keep these comforting words of our Savior close, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” May we always hold fast to our hope in Light After Darkness.

 
 

Song Discovery 2019: Hallelujah, Christ Our King

 
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“Hallelujah! Christ is coming, Our Messiah, in majesty. All the pow’r of hell is forever broken. Hallelujah! Christ our King!”

Hallelujah, Christ our King takes our hand and skillfully walks us through the Paschal Mystery. We begin at the cross of salvation, visit an empty tomb, and end with Christ exalted in Heaven. The Passion story is definitely not for the faint of heart, but it also rings out victory and redemption. This song mirrors the spectrum of emotions covered: the dread that must have been felt when darkness filled the Earth, the gravity of grief, doubt around dreams that are dashed, hope for the triumph of Good, and, finally, the joy and peace of resolution.

Hallelujah, Christ our King has served the congregation it was written in as the centerpiece of their Easter services for the last couple of years, and will probably be adopted by my church soon.

 
 

Song Discovery 2019: Welcome Here

 
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“May the doors of this house ever be open wide and may the peace of Christ our Savior rest on all who come inside.”

Romans 15:5-7: May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.”

In the writer’s words:

“That is our prayer today, that we would be a people who’s doors, who’s homes, whose hearts are open wide; eager to share the welcoming love of Jesus to all who may come our way to the glory of God the Father.”

 
 

Song Discovery 2019: Behold

 
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“The empty filled, the wounded healed, the broken back together. The poor are blessed, the weary rest. We will dance forever. Behold what love can do.”

Behold is a life jacket for the drowning as well as a beacon of guidance in the tempest. It is vitally important for us, as worship and prayer leaders, to recount our future hope in all things being made new. Likewise, it is crucial to train ourselves to see the things that God is doing even now: the orphans who are being brought into homes, the slaves set free, and the bodies healed; the unceasing and miraculous cycle of day and night, a songbird’s melody, and the color orange. As we renew our minds and ask God to give us eyes to see his grandeur, our capability to experience and name God’s gifts and glory in our lives will increase. This song calls us to both future hope and present awareness, firmly rooted in our earthy existence while raising our heads toward the heavens. May we never lose sight of what Love can do.

 
 

Song Discovery 2019: Mystery of Faith

 
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“We have died together. We will rise together. We will live together. We are the body of Christ.”

In the writer’s words:

“When we sing this song at my church, I see real people singing with me—seven-year-old Samuel and retired Ron, Nyk cradling Cosette facedown like a football, Caroline quietly serving in the back, Morgan, Emily, Andrew, Tommy. I’m reminded that it is not only Christ who who has been crucified, resurrected, and who joins me, but a roomful of friends, a city of believers, and a cloud of witnesses from across the ages. As we walk the winding roads of life—perilous and full of wonder—may we slow down and open our hands to receive and accept reality, open our hearts to trust and worship God, and open our eyes to our brothers and sisters beside, behind, and before us. Hand in hand and with a single voice, let us put one foot in front of the other and sing ourselves onward as we march through mystery.

 
 

Song Discovery 2019: Remember and Proclaim

 
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“Do you remember the valley you walked through? Heaven and earth gathered to bring you home; The mountains reached down to rivers that fed you. Both from my hand to show you are not alone.”

As humans, we often miss the forest for the trees. All the forests. All the trees. The fruit from forests of loneliness, hurt, and shame can often be neutralized by even the most virtuous trees: taking care of people, study, providing for our families by working overtime, or watching a couple of episodes of Parks & Rec. Likewise the forests of flourishing can easily be inhibited by trees of scarce thinking, lack of trust, and fear of the coming winter. Remember And Proclaim reminds us that in order to move forward we must look behind. 

In the writer’s words:

“The word ‘valley’ within most Christian contexts is viewed as a negative, difficult place, and I wanted to reflect on that place before it was given this darker meaning. I envisioned the valley of Crested Butte as you drive into that lush mountain village; or Yosemite, where you are walking below majestic Half Dome and you can see the streams and rivers cutting through the mountains down to the valley. The valley we often speak of wasn’t always dry and a desert wasteland… even though loss may feel like that when you are walking alone in it. The valley can be a place of beauty and restoration, where God has met us before and where God will meet us again, with his life-giving water. And sometimes we need to stretch our memory, and ultimately our understanding of what the valley truly is, in the midst of God’s promises.’

Remember and Proclaim comes from an album about the journey in the book of Joel, a journey that speaks of loss and lament but, also, the importance of community and remembering God’s promises in the midst of it all.

 
 

Song Discovery 2019: In the Fields of the Lord

 
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“In the garden of the Lord our work is sound. He is weaving every thorn into a crown.”

A remedy for anxious thinking, In The Fields Of The Lord reminds us of our Father’s working and our role in it. His labor is indeed sound: thorough, reliable, and free from defect; and his “tending [of] every leaf and every vine” will ultimately result in no more darkness or tears.

This simple yet arresting melody will carry your congregation; evoking timeless, comforting hymns like Be Still, My Soul and In The Garden.

While the truth of the song soothes fears and brings comfort, there is also a gentle call to repentance implied; a charge to change our way of thinking and to trust, hope, and rest. To “be still” as the Psalmist says. To “let go, and let God” as 12-steppers say. To consider Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, so that we will not grow weary or fainthearted.