All posts in “Music”

Wrestling with a masterpiece

A writer crumples under the weight of Handel’s Messiah, until …

By Jessi Uran 

What on earth was I thinking? I can’t write this.

I stared at the computer screen for what seemed like the 50th time in three weeks. I’d scribbled research notes on three different pages and formed five different outlines, only to fill a garbage can with what I emphatically told my husband was “mediocre rubbish, not worthy of a garbage can.” (Dramatic much?)

Writer’s block is not uncommon for me. But this was different. It was less of a block and more of an unscalable, cement wall. The task was simple, really: Write about Handel’s Messiah. I could take it any direction I wanted and write in whatever form. There were no expectations, no criteria. Just a deadline.

Autographed composition draft of ‘Amen Chorus’ from British Library Treasures

Not only did my father used to play Handel’s Messiah every Christmas season on our family’s living room stereo, but I also had heard it performed live last year, in the annual concert by the Rockford Choral Union. Listening to the product of their countless hours of practice and dedication had left an indelible mark. To begin, there seemed no more festive way to usher in the season of Advent than in the reverent architecture of Emmanuel Lutheran Church. Experiencing history in this way, with people young and old, and hearing the scriptural account in such grandeur was awe-inspiring.

The concert left me with a conviction: In a somewhat disciplinary way, I need to carve time to sit, listen and behold the wonder of Immanuel. At Christmas, ironically, the act of sitting and listening often gets lost in all the things there are to do. Deep joy came from spending an afternoon doing nothing other than marveling corporately at the story of the Savior.

And then a moment of … what?! During a Part 2 tenor solo from Lamentations — “Behold, and see if there be any sorrow” — a woman up the aisle from me decided to clip all 10 fingernails. At the same instant, a man four rows up raised his hands in complete rapture. I judged Madame Fingernails immediately, but days later I began to wonder: How many awe-deserving things do I treat just as flippantly?

All of this musing swirled uncategorized for the past year, until at our writers meeting a few weeks ago we tossed around the idea of a Thanksgiving-week piece about George Frideric Handel’s Messiah. My reaction was the equivalent of a grade school, “Ooh, me! Ooh, pick me, pick me!”

When they did, I had already started formulating it.

“Fantastic! There are a couple of different directions I might go. I’m so excited!”

• • •

Weeks later, nothing. I walked away from the computer and put on another pot of coffee. As if caffeine will make the writing flow. If that were the case, I’d have written an entire issue of The New Yorker by now. I could still hear my writing mentor’s words over the phone when I expressed the nervousness taking over: “Don’t freak out about this. You don’t have to actually write Handel’s Messiah. You are just going to write about it. Don’t overthink it.”

Wise words. Deaf ears. Seven drafts and two weeks later, there I sat. Freaking out and overthinking were about the only things I was accomplishing. The more I tried to convey the glory of the piece … the more I tried to attain the level of sanctity or the loftiness of topics like art and beauty … the further paralyzed I became.

Handel wrote the entire oratorio in 24 days. 24 DAYS! You’ve been at one article longer than that! What is WRONG with you?!

I glanced at my notes, hoping maybe to catch a spark, anything that could produce the spectacle I had built in my mind. The top page of my research, in bold letters, expressed Handel’s description of his artistic process in 1741.

“I felt as though I saw all of heaven opened up before me.”

I threw my pen down.

Good for you, Handel. Good. For. You. Because I’ve shown up here every day and have done the work but all I see opened before me is a blank Word document with a blinking cursor and a pile of dishes in the sink.

• • • 

“Looks like you’re being too hard on yourself.”

My husband kissed my furrowed brow and carried our daughter upstairs to bed. He was right, of course. My 4-year-old never has thoughts that she isn’t hitting the mark. In fact, days before she had run to me with a drawing of a rainbow and flowers and proclaimed, “Look! It’s my masterpiece!”

I grabbed a fifth-grade level library book titled, The Life of Handel. I had checked it out with my daughter in a last-ditch effort for inspiration. As I turned each page and read about Handel’s childhood, his schooling, relationships and work, the realization hit me.

He was just a man.

George Frideric Handel (1685-1759)

He was just a man! True, he was prolific and talented, but in my mind’s eye I had built him up as a saint, an artist who heard directly from the pipeline of heaven. My writing would need to emulate this, I thought. But in these pages of his everyday life? Not everything he touched turned to gold. So, if Handel didn’t put the Midas pressure on himself … why should I?

As this realization sunk deeper into my mind that night, pieces began to move. Words started to form. Light began to shine. So I typed the first thing I didn’t feel like throwing away all month. Just a few phrases, really, not nearly enough for an article. But it was a start.

Oh Lord. This I see.

Your Holiness desired to dwell amidst our sinfulness.

Perfect amidst the imperfect.

Whole amidst the broken.

We could not pave the way for you with any merit of our own. But nothing kept you at arm’s length, waiting until we attained something. You came down because you knew we could attain nothing.

This is what we celebrate and this why over all the world choirs sing.

Because on our own, we are just men and women.

But under the banner of risen Messiah …

We are pure as gold.

• • •

I closed the computer and went to bed. The next morning, my deadline still waited. But it seemed less weighty.

I know I am not alone in this battle of letting perfect be the enemy of good. It’s especially easy to succumb to worldly pressures at Christmas season: “Bring your best or bring it not at all!” But in the face of that, the true story of the redeemed is the opposite kind of cry. We hear the heart of our Savior call:

Bring me what you have and worry not about the rest.

So I did the work of editing and rewriting, but now with less self-loathing —entrusting the author and perfector of my faith to take what I had, and do with it what he wanted.

Handel said of Messiah, “I do not wish to entertain them, but to make them better.”

Two hundred seventy-eight years later, with dishes still in the sink, a writer wrestled with it all and was made better in a way she did not expect.

• • •

The Rockford Choral Union will perform Handel’s Messiah Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, at Emmanuel Lutheran Church. Six people from First Free are taking part. Here’s a closer look, and our interview with Conductor Michael Beert.

Featured image illustration by Nathan McDonald, based on painting by Philip Mercier.

 

Handel’s Messiah: ‘Our gift back to Rockford’

Choral Union’s performances date back 74 years

Rockford Choral Union has performed Handel’s Messiah every Christmas season since 1945. This year’s choir includes 112 people. It’s open to anyone who wants to participate and commit to the rehearsals. Singers live as far away as Rochelle to the south, Janesville to the north, and the western Chicago suburbs.

“The nice thing is that we have a lot of people who have been with the group for a number of years, and now we are starting to see more and more young people singing with the group,” says second-year conductor Michael Beert. “So it becomes more of a mentor-student situation.”

Cherice Ullrich (left) and her mom, Cindy Jensen, sing during a rehearsal last year. Photo courtesy of Rockford Choral Union.

Multiple churches and denominations are represented.

“It used to be just a Lutheran Choral Union and we found that we would have Catholic, we would have Missouri Synod, we would have Assembly of God, we would have pretty much any denomination joining us,” Beert says. “And so we thought, why are we calling ourselves the Lutheran Choral Union when there are fewer and fewer Lutherans? It’s great that it’s interdenominational.”

Seven people from First Free Rockford are part of this year’s choir: Lynne Berglund, Sandra Hogan, Cindy Jensen, Keith Johnson, Sasha Pogwizd, Cherice Ullrich and Art Upmann.

The choir and guest soloists are accompanied by a 15-piece chamber orchestra.

Here’s part of our conversation with Beert, who is a renowned cellist and a music professor at Rock Valley College. His wife, Rachel Handlin, is concertmistress (first-chair violinist and instrument-playing leader of the orchestra).

 

This is your second year as conductor. What was it like last year, stepping in?

“The first thing I told them was, I am not a choral person. I haven’t really sung since high school, and that was a while ago. I know the piece, but from the bass up. From the cello parts. I know how it goes, but there were a lot of words I was learning last year and I’m still learning this year.

“This is all new to me. There are so many things you have to do in a rehearsal such as working on diction, working on the duration of the notes, working on the dynamics. The three D’s as (now-retired conductor) Nat Bauer told me.”

 

Michael Beert. Photo courtesy of Rockford Choral Union.

As a cellist you know Handel’s Messiah very well. What is it then like to conduct it versus playing it?

“They’re both a challenge. Because the cello part is constant. You feel like you’re strapped into your chair and you don’t get up until 2 1/2 hours later. Conducting it has a whole different set of concerns. You are always thinking, what is the next piece? What is the next tempo?

“The easiest thing for me to do would just be to sing along with them. I found, much to my chagrin, that I get carried away with the message. I get carried away with the bass part. I need to not do that.”

 

What does the work mean to you personally? Getting to conduct Handel’s Messiah has to be really special.

“It is. What I learned from Nat Bauer, the previous director, is that not only is this a great piece of music, with all these wonderful fugues and recitatives and arias, but how Handel put this together beautifully with the text, going all the way from the Old Testament book of Isaiah to Revelation. And then on top of that you have a five- or six-minute “Amen” chorus at the very end.”

 

What does it mean to you, message-wise?

“I have found a greater appreciation for Isaiah and his prophecy. It runs the gamut. Handel composed this piece in just a matter of weeks and that in itself is amazing. But for him to think, ‘What is the perfect music for what Isaiah is talking about?’ The opening tenor recitative and aria is Isaiah’s message of comfort to Israel. They’re in Samaria, in exile. He’s talking about warfare, strife, all these valleys and mountains that must be overcome, and he just gives you calmness. At the same time he is trying to tell the people of Israel, ‘Your time will come. Peace will come to you.’ Even though there is great conflict.

First Free Rockford member Sasha Pogwizd sings in Handel’s Messiah. Photo courtesy of Rockford Choral Union.

“Handel does an old trick that goes back hundreds of years before, where you take a text, and you somehow try to shape that text musically. For example, ‘Every hill and mountain shall be made low.’ He has the tenor (soloist) go up and down to imitate the valleys, the hills, the mountains. He just word paints so beautifully. …

“Early on, it’s Isaiah in the prophecy. Then it’s the birth, then it’s the strife of the crucifixion, the passion. Even during that, Handel sets us up in Isaiah: Yea, even though all of this is going to happen, there is a greater promise there. And that’s there throughout the entire thing. The choruses at the passion are really strong. And then with the resurrection he gives you the Hallelujah Chorus. It’s just like the clouds have opened up.

“Following that, we get into the third section which is all from Revelation. And he gives us probably one of the most beautiful arias, I Know That My Redeemer Liveth. A great message of peace again.”

 

What does it mean for the community to have a chance to come and hear a work like this every year?

“The way the Choral Union looks at it is, this is our gift back to the Rockford community. They’ve always felt strongly about that. This is our 74th year. The first performance in Rockford was in 1945, really as a way to celebrate the end of the war.

From one of last year’s performances. Photo courtesy of Rockford Choral Union.

“The way I feel about it, it’s like if you had a jewel or a cello or something special. You’re only the caretaker of it and you’re going to pass it on. I don’t know how long I’m going to be there, but it’s my job, very much like the president of an organization, to make sure it continues. It’s important. This kind of tradition is not just something that ‘those old people’ do. No, it’s constantly being reborn.

“These people have devoted so much time, energy, and care. Some of them have it memorized, to perform it and to really try to minister not only to themselves and the people around them, but to the audience. We need to make sure that continues. It’s a beautiful thing.”

• • •

Performances are at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, at Emmanuel Lutheran Church, 920 Third Ave. Admission is free; a free-will offering is taken during each performance.

» More information

 

vintage record player with snowflake pattern

Christmas music: candy canes and lumps of coal

Want to fill your house with great Christmas music, but maybe not the same old stuff you’ve listened to for decades? Or, do you want to know which timeless Christmas albums to avoid at all costs? Either way, we’ve got you covered.

 

The A side

Here are three newly released albums we think are worth your time.

 

Sing! An Irish Christmas – Live at the Grand Ole Opry House

Keith and Kristyn Getty

This live album’s 19 tracks radiate joy and worship. Most of the songs are familiar, but carry a fresh sound that’s part Celtic, part Nashville and part contemporary worship. (You have not heard Sleigh Ride until you’ve heard it played like a sea shanty on Celtic instruments, but also with banjos.)

The Gettys are a husband-and-wife hymn writing team who split their time between Nashville and their native Northern Ireland. This is their second live Christmas album, following 2015’s Joy — An Irish Christmas, which also became a PBS TV special.

 

 

Christmas

Sandra McCracken

One of today’s best songwriters / hymn writers turns her contemplative lyrics and storytelling to her first Christmas album. Joyful standards like Go Tell It on the Mountain and Joy to the World are here, but this album is a lot more than background music during Christmas dinner. On original songs like The Space Between, McCracken confronts loneliness and longing that can accompany the holidays.

“I hope for my music to help stir people to ask the important questions, to bring comfort and hope, and to help people sing together,” she told CCM Magazine. “A Christmas album is all the more reason to do just that.”

 

Advent

Liturgical Folk

A retired Anglican priest and a church music director have written more than 50 hymns together since meeting in 2015. Now they turn their attention to Advent music with a collection of nine new hymns.

From their website:

“Music is vital to Christian worship. It’s no wonder, then, that music is near the heart of the worship wars. The generations divide along fault lines of stylistic preference. When music is commodified to serve the people, it becomes entertainment. Music is supposed to be a service of the people, not a service to the people. This paradigm shift will help us defer our own musical tastes in worship and to consider what makes others sing. It will take a willingness for mutual appreciation, but in time our hearts will blend into one. A church may even discover its own unique musical expression!”

 

 

The B Side

Christmas music runs the gamut. For every O Holy Night, there are dogs barking Jingle Bells. So, we listened to a few ill-advised efforts so you don’t have to. These albums make excellent white-elephant gifts, but that’s about all. The Bottom Five:

 

William Shatner: Shatner-Claus

Here’s Shatner’s dramatic reading of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer to a group of uncomfortable-looking kids. It soon gives way to a musical ending we can’t even begin to explain.

Roseanne Barr sings the Christmas Classics

Asking the musical question: Why?

Michael Bolton: This is the Time / The Christmas Album

Holiday stylings from the man who sings like he’s caught in a hydraulic press. We include this pick to represent every famous singer who slapped together a Christmas album to hear the ring-ting-tingling of the cash register.

Star Wars: Christmas in the Stars

Amid bizarre songs about Wookies, 18-year-old John Francis Bongiovi sings R2D2 We Wish You and Merry Christmas. The future Jon Bon Jovi was paid $180 … which was $179 too much.

Jingle Cats: Meowy Christmas

If you love cats, this should put a stop to it. Here’s not-so Silent Night.

Neighbor Songs: stirring stories of grace in community

I recently celebrated my 15th wedding anniversary with my wife, Jessica. We asked a friend who’s a chef to prepare a private meal for us. I also contributed by preparing a fantastic… mix tape. OK, OK. I’m not that cool. It was a Spotify playlist, and good thing it was. I had over 100 songs queued up to serenade us during the meal! But it was more than creating a mood to enhance our candle-lit evening. Each song marked a specific season or experience in our relationship, and stirred us to retell every story as they played.

Album cover for Neighbor Songs by The Porter's Gate

Album cover for Neighbor Songs

The Porter’s Gate worship project, founded by Isaac and Megan Wardell, seeks to do that for the church: write songs that connect with our life experiences and communities, and stir up our stories as God’s family. In 2017, they released a collaborative album titled Work Songs that focuses on worship and vocation. Last month, they released their second project titled Neighbor Songs—another collection of songs focused on loving our neighbor as ourselves.

 

Songs for a troubled world

When age-old questions like what does it means to love my neighbor? and who is my neighbor? have made frequent appearances in our sermons, studies and conversations, Neighbor Songs marks this important time and invites us back into the scriptures and teachings of Jesus on these matters.

The opening track, Blessed are the Merciful, sets the stage with portions of the Sermon on the Mount and the Lord’s Prayer that lifts into a soaring petition for God’s mercy on us and through us. Following is Nothing to Fear, a beautiful duet by Audrey Assad and Paul Zach that carries Jesus’ promise to never leave us nor forsake us as we seek to follow him and make him known in our troubled world.

 

An unexpected diversity

As the album plays on, you quickly notice the diversity of artists and musical styles. The writing and arrangements express a variety of genres: traditional folk, Americana, indie-pop and Gospel—as well as some unexpected styles like neoclassical and ranchera. The musicians range from established artists such as Leslie Jordan (All Sons & Daughters), Josh Garrels and Audrey Assad to emerging artists like Casey J and Diana Gameros, who sings two of the songs in Spanish.

This diversity goes even deeper. Neighbor Songs was the result of an ecumenical gathering of songwriters, theologians, pastors and music professionals. The same happened for their freshman project Work Songs. It speaks to The Porter’s Gate’s effort to bring diverse voices and perspectives to the same table centered around the good news of Jesus Christ.

When so much of modern worship music is driven by the pursuit of the next congregational hit, centered on one particular artist, worship style or megachurch brand, the community-driven approach of The Porter’s Gate is both refreshing and needed. It serves as a subversive model for our creative endeavors in the church to help cut through our tendency to get stuck in one narrative stream. It begins with a posture of listening, of learning.

 

Teach us your ways

Maybe this is part of how we answer the question about loving our neighbor: it is the result of practicing it among ourselves. We come to our Lord’s table as sisters and brothers to listen and to learn. The song that struck me the most from Neighbor Songs was the simplest on the album. Here’s the opening verse from Teach Us Your Ways, sung by Leslie Jordan:

Teach us Your ways, teach us Your ways
As we learn from one another
Learn to love each other
Teach us Your ways

These words and songs will serve our communities well as we learn to walk alongside each other in the way of Jesus, responding with our lives to the question what does it mean to love my neighbor? And just like my wife and I retold the stories connected to our playlist of songs, there will be a day when the eternal Song of Grace stirs up the stories of our lives and our neighbors’ lives at the banquet feast of our Lord.

Also: See our early Christmas music recommendations titled Christmas music: candy canes and lumps of coal.

 

Church music for a new century

By Jim Killam | Illustration by Nathan McDonald

This summer’s “1 Hit Wonders” sermon series got me thinking about the term’s origin. It refers to any singer or band that produced a single popular song, then was forgotten. Think: The Macarena. Think: Who Let the Dogs Out?

Over the next day and a half while you’re trying to get those songs out of your head (sorry), think about Christian worship music, why we sing the songs we do in church and how many of those songs will be remembered years from now. Differences of opinion about church music might seem like a purely modern discussion. Hardly. 

 

Pastor Luke Teaching about Church Music in the One Hit Wonders Series

Pastor Luke teaching in the “1 Hit Wonders” series

Rediscovering a timeless perspective

Recently, I happened upon a box of old books. One red-covered volume particularly caught my eye: How to Promote and Conduct a Successful Revival, edited by R.A. Torrey and published in 1901. Torrey was a ministry partner of Dwight L. Moody and a key figure in the early days of Chicago’s Moody Bible Institute.

Thumbing through this brittle, old book, I stopped on the chapter called Music in a Revival, by Daniel B. Towner. Towner wrote Trust and Obey and dozens of other hymns. He was music director for several churches and finally at Moody from 1893 to 1919.

Here’s what Towner recommended as the 20th century dawned.  It’s a 381-word paragraph, which would have gotten me kicked out of journalism school. But stick with it. Let his thoughts simmer. I’ve bolded a couple of key sentences.

 

Towner’s recommendation

“While great care should be exercised in the selection of music for revival meetings, yet one must not be hypercritical about new songs. About twenty years ago a committee of literary men and musicians were compiling a denominational hymnbook, and certain hymns and tunes were rejected as not being of a high enough order. But to-day those same hymns and tunes are being used in all denominational books as they are revised and compiled, and have proven by their vitality that they belong among the classics. If a tune is well-written, no matter how simple, don’t be afraid to try it. If a hymn does not teach error, direct or implied, don’t be afraid to give it a trial; but if it does, no matter what its literary merit may be, let it alone. Let it be distinctly understood that we are not opposed to the use of old hymns, not by any means, for quite the contrary is the case. We believe that the good old hymns are the heritage of the church, and should be regarded as such, and that they should be sacredly kept and perpetuated, and that each successive generation should be taught to sing them well, but to hold on to these to the exclusion of the new ones would be a calamity. As new men come on the scene, they embody the truth into new hymns, and it gives a freshness just the same as is the case with a new sermon, and new tunes awaken new interest in these themes, such as the old ones do not. As we become familiar with a tune, it gradually loses its power with us, even though we never become tired of it. But the new tune arrests the attention, and gives the truth it carries a chance to enter the heart. Some people seem to outlive their usefulness, while others never do. It is just so with songs. There are those that should be in every selection, and there are others that seem to have been embalmed, as it were, and laid away in the denominational books which are never used. We do not object, they have served well no doubt, now let them rest in peace, while others come on and do service in their turn.”

What a great, balanced viewpoint. We honor and sing the old hymns as “the heritage of the church,” while also realizing that new songs and styles may strike us with biblical truth from a slightly different and fresher angle.

Book Cover for How to Promote and Conduct a Successful Revival
Book Cover for "How to Promote and Conduct a Successful Revival"

As new men come on the scene, they embody the truth into new hymns, and it gives a freshness just the same as is the case with a new sermon, and new tunes awaken new interest in these themes, such as the old ones do not.

“Heretical Flapdoodle” or “We’ll be singing this in heaven”?

There’s a lot to sift through. If you google “worship songs with bad theology” or “hymns with bad theology,” grab a Snickers bar (or an artisanal kale cupcake if you prefer) because you’re not going anywhere for a while. The same hymn or worship song can evoke a wide range of opinion, from “heretical flapdoodle” to “we’ll be singing this in heaven.”

 

 

Church music is for every generation.

Every generation produces a vast catalog of songs that are quickly forgotten, and a few that live on. That’s how music works, from Mozart to the Macarena or from Charles Wesley to Hillsong United. A hymnal or worship songbook amounts to a Greatest Hits collection, and even from those, we sing only a tiny fraction. We’ll find some of today’s worship music in tomorrow’s songbooks. Most — even some pretty good songs — will wind up on the flapdoodle pile, alongside most of the hymns written generations ago. Some might even be rediscovered and rescued.

 

Audience Participation

Which leads to our audience-participation question: Of the worship songs and hymns composed in the past two decades, which ones will people still be singing 100 years from now? And why? Send us your comments. No flapdoodle, please.

Patriotic Celebration marks 50th milestone

Our annual Patriotic Celebration received more buzz than ever this year as we celebrated 50 years of honoring our military heroes and thanking God for the true freedom we have in Jesus Christ.

To help recognize the big milestone, we invited all former choir and orchestra directors back for the celebration. We’ve had six directors in total during that time:

  • Bruce Erickson (1970-1983)
  • Otis Skillings (1984-1989)
  • Doug Thiesen (1990-1998)
  • Renee Cooper (1999 to 2001)
  • Kristyn Thor (2002)
  • Eric Walker (2003-2007)
  • Renee Cooper (2008 to present)

Renee Cooper, who serves as our classic worship director, was our director again this year and is the longest-serving director in the group. Bruce Erickson, our first director, attended this year’s festivities, and a few others were unable to attend but did send us videos sharing wonderful memories of the event.

According to Bruce, Patriotic Celebration started in 1970 as a way to bring together a divided country/community during the Vietnam War. It was a positive offering and initially took place at the Sinnissippi Park Music Shell – sometimes after the Fourth of July and sometimes in June. The celebration began with one night, was eventually expanded to three nights, and then scheduled for two nights once it moved to the current First Free Rockford main campus.

In addition to special outreach for past directors, we also invited all former choir and orchestra participants to celebrate with us this year. We had people join us from many states, including Texas, Florida, Michigan and South Carolina. More than 200 volunteers total helped organize and participated in the event, and over 2,100 people attended the celebration performances.

The color guards from the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department and the Rockford Police Department presented the colors both nights, and our procession of veterans was once again a highlight for the crowd. A freewill offering collected during the program are being divided between three local veterans’ nonprofits: The Veteran’s Drop-in Center, the Oscar Mike Foundation and Brightening Veteran’s Lives (Vietnam Veterans of America – Chapter 984 Rockford).

Woman raising her hand during a contemporary worship service.

We Bring Our Highest Praise

Something that has really sunk deep into my heart lately is the concept of us bringing God our highest praise. What that means to me is that no matter what I may feel or get out of it, I’m to give God my everything. This is because of how incredibly worthy and deserving our God is.   As human’s, we are very feeling driven. We desire to receive and to “feel the Spirit” as we worship God. That is a wonderful thing but I believe there is a danger when that is the driving force behind why we worship. Regardless of what we feel, we should humbly come before the King of Kings with a great offering of praise and worship on our lips. David sums it up so well in Psalm 145:3, “Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; His greatness no one can fathom.”  When we come before the Lord, let our hearts declare His glory. Let us not come with the attitude of selfishness, but with a posture of thankfulness, gratitude, praise and surrender. When we worship collectively and individually, let our anthem resound as it is so eloquently written in Psalm 100:4, “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name.”  What I have come to find is that when I personally enter into worship and take this attitude with expectancy in my heart, God hears my cry. When we are willing to chase Him with reckless abandon, He will pick us up. He hears our prayers. He will not fail. He never does. With that in mind, let’s not be so concerned about what we are feeling when we worship. Let’s lift and turn our hands outward as a sign of surrender to Jesus Christ, the only one who can save us. The only one who is worthy and who deserves our highest praise. 

Savior King
By Nathan Fry

Let our hearts declare Your glory
Let our praise reach to Your throne
Here and now we have but one purpose
To lift the name of Jesus, our Savior King 

All praise to You who saved us
We cry to You, be lifted high
You alone have set us free
Savior King, oh Savior King

Our voices rise before Your presence
Declaring holy is Your name
Your kingdom here as is in heaven
We lift the name of Jesus, our Savior King

All praise to You who saved us
We cry to You, be lifted high
You alone have set us free
Savior King, oh Savior King

All the earth will know Your power
You reach the farthest heart
Oh, Savior our defender
Our strength is in Your arms
Oh, Jesus have Your kingdom
Oh, undefeated God
We stretch our arms toward heaven
Be praised Oh Matchless One

All praise to You who saved us
We cry to You, be lifted high
You alone have set us free
Savior King, oh Savior King

 

Savior King

Listen to “Savior King” online now.