Thursday, May 28, 2020

Music

Always Singing: Songs about Faith in God Needed Now!

March 27, 2020

As fear of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) spreads around the world and here in the United States songs about our faith in God are definitely needed.  As Christian musicians and worship leaders we can make this happen. Let’s find those songs that remind us of God’s faithfulness and share them with our family, friends, and congregations. Where do we find those songs? Let’s begin with the book of Lamentations in the Old Testament.

“The book is well named.  It contains the sorrowful expressions of a writer and a nation as they grieve the destruction of Jerusalem by Babylon in 586 B.C.  Though the text does not identify its author, tradition has attributed Lamentations to the prophet Jeremiah. This attribution cannot be proven, but undeniably the writer of these laments shares both Jeremiah’s theological vision and the gut-wrenching experience of Judah’s devastation.”[1]

In chapter three the writer of Lamentations reminds us:

           Because of the LORD’S great love we are not consumed,
                       for his compassions never fail.
           They are new every morning;
                       great is your faithfulness.
            I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion;
                       therefore I will wait for him.”
                                   Lamentations 3:22-24
 

We now fast forward thousands of years to 1923 when Thomas Chisholm wrote the gospel hymn “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.”  Even today, his words continue to bring hope and encouragement to Christ’s followers. [2] Here is stanza three and the refrain that is based upon Lamentations 3, verse 23:

            Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
            Thy own presence to cheer and to guide;
            Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
            Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!
            Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!
            Morning by morning new mercies I see;
            All I have needed Thy had hath provided –
            Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!
                  Great is Thy faithfulness, Thomas O. Chisholm, 1923
 

We now jump forward almost one hundred years to present day. Now! On February 28, 2020 Vertical Worship released their album Grace Is on Our Side which includes the song “Faithful Now” written by Mia Fields, Jonathan Smith, Hank Bentley, and Eddie Hoagland. [3] Here are the words of the chorus:

            You make mountains move,
            You make giants fall,
            You use songs of praise
            To shake prison walls;
            I will speak to my fear, I will preach to my doubt;
            You were faithful then, You’ll by faithful now.
                 Faithful Now, Vertical Worship, 2020
                 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9YexUJ2WHik)

It must be stated that the word “You” in this song definitely and absolutely refers to God, the Triune God. The meaning of the phrase “You (God) use songs of praise” should be obvious to Christian musicians and worship leaders. In the last two lines of the chorus notice that the answer to our “fear” and “doubt” is found in the faithfulness of our God; God’s faithfulness in the past, and God’s faithfulness “now.” Ah! Back to Lamentations; back to scripture; back to where all of our “songs of praise” should start.

The God who is eternally faithful to his Believers will enable us to be faithful in singing “songs of praise” during this current time of "fear" and "doubt." Amen!

[1] The NIV Worship Bible, New International Version (Dana Point: The Corinthian Group, Inc., 2000), 1091.
[2] Reynolds, Willian J., Companion to the Baptist Hymnal (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1976), 80.
[3] https://genius.com/Vertical-worship-faithful-now-lyrics, accessed March 21, 2020.

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