Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Two Worship Albums This Year That Make Me Hopeful - Part One

This year, there have been two worship albums I've purchased that make me very hopeful about the state of modern ("contemporary") worship. In general, here is why I believe this - the lyrics have a deep theological emphasis while at the same time the music is good, modern, but not distracting, and draws people into deeper worship with an expectancy about what God is going to do and has already done for us. In this first part, I will do a mini-review of one of the albums and a follow-up post will be about the other album. I would really urge you to to go out and buy these albums. Now. :)

The first of the albums was more recently released. It is "10,000 Reasons" by Matt Redman. As this is the most recent album for Redman, you can really tell that his songwriting has improved over the years (I've been listening to his albums since "Heart of Worship" back in 1999 and he's always been blessed by God with songs that have good lyrical content). However, I believe this is his best work yet. You can look around for more reviews, but this one by Zac Hicks encompasses a lot of my initial thoughts on the album as well.

Lyrically, this album has a huge focus on our Justification and Glorification. There is a lot less focus on what we will be doing in the here and now to serve God (part of our Sanctification, certainly) - which is where many worship artists place focus. I could quote from nearly every song as an example of what I mean here, but here are a few lyrical samples in album order.

What heart could hold
The weight of your love
And know the heights
Of Your great worth?
What eyes could look on
Your glorious face
Shining like the sun?
- Holy

And on that day when my strength is failing
The end draws near and my time has come
Still my soul will sing Your praise unending
Ten thousand years and then forevermore
- 10,000 Reasons

Carried by Your constant grace
Held within Your perfect peace
Never once, no, we never walk alone

Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful
- Never Once

We couldn't escape
The sin and the shame
That kept us bound
We couldn't break through
We couldn't reach You
So You reached down
- Where Would We Be

O this God is our God even till the end
Standing strong over us, time and time again
Even till the end
- O This God

And, I believe the lyrics that I like the most may be on the last song. They're truly speaking of how Jesus has imparted his righteousness to us through the Cross!

When I stand before Your throne
Dressed in glory not my own
What a joy I'll sing of on that day
No more tears or broken dreams
Forgotten is the minor key
Everything as it was meant to be
As you can see, there is a lot of depth to the lyrics. I hope that many of these songs will stay with the Church and that we will be able to worship through these songs and focus on what God has done for us. I believe that when we focus on The Gospel (the good news of what God has done), then we will be grateful and be more conformed to Christ and then we will be able to do what He has asked us to do. As Jesus said, "My yolk is easy and my burden is light" - this is because we rely on what he's accomplished on our behalf and the overflow of our love for Him will come out in our lives! Although this album has barely been out for over a month, we have used 4 songs in worship already and will be using 2 more new ones in the next few weeks.

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