Thursday, March 28, 2013

Tunes for the Month: March

My playlist for this month is out of control. I decided I wanted to create a worship playlist- exclusive to songs written for that purpose. I've shared many times my conviction that we can find sacred in the secular, but for this month- this celebration of a Savior who is ALIVE month- I wanted something different. It got a little extensive, but I love it. Here are this month's tunes:

1. Christ the Lord Is Risen Today- The London Philharmonic Choir and The National Philharmonic Orchestra
Christ, the Lord, is risen today, Alleluia!
Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heavens, and earth, reply, Alleluia!

This is one of my favorite hymns to sing on Easter morning. It's just so...victorious. Rarely do I sing anything in a more celebratory fashion. And all the Alleluia's. So perfect.

2. Christ the Lord Is Risen Today- The Martins
Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once He died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia!

You'll notice a few songs appear more than once. I love this version because it's a cappella. 

3. Were You There (When They Crucified My Lord)- Johnny Cash
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Oh! Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree?
Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree?
Oh! Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree?

This is one of those special songs that just creates a very vivid visual for me. And when Johny Cash sings those words it's like whoa. 

4. Amazing Grace/Old Rugged Cross- The Bill Gaither Trio
When we've been here ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun.
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we've first begun.//
On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suff’ring and shame;
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain. 

Well, Amazing Grace makes me think of funerals. But like most people, I adore it anyway. It's just one of the most beautiful songs every written, in my opinion. I like The Old Rugged Cross because it has a very Southern sound...very "camp meeting". It reminds me so much of the junior high boyfriend that was instrumental in bringing me to worship at our current church and ultimately helping me to find Jesus there. Actually, it really reminds me of his grandmother and it also reminds me of our evening worship services because we tend to sing this type (more twangy, camp meeting style) of hymns more.

5. Jesus Keep Me Near the Cross/Old Rugged Cross/At the Cross- Tom Fettke
In the cross, in the cross,
Be my glory ever,
Till my raptured soul shall find
Rest beyond the river.//
In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
A wondrous beauty I see,
For ’twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
To pardon and sanctify me.//
Thus might I hide my blushing face
While His dear cross appears,
Dissolve my heart in thankfulness,
And melt my eyes to tears.

More songs about the cross. I love the "rest beyond the river" imagery in the first. And I had to include some more lines from The Old Rugged Cross because I particularly love the reminder that Jesus died to pardon us AND to sanctify us. Feels very Methodist and reminds me so much of an excellent book we recently read. And in At the Cross, I think my favorite lines are the ones about a heart dissolving in thankfulness and eyes melting in tears. I can think of no other reaction, personally, I've ever had on Easter morning since I became a Christian.

6. When I Survey the Wondrous Cross- FPC Studios
When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

This is another one of my favorite Easter songs. What truth- we can't boast in ANYTHING but His death and the whole realm of nature would be a present "far too small". His love demands my soul...my life...my all.

7. O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing- The London Philharmonic Choir and The National Philharmonic Orchestra
He breaks the power of canceled sin,
He sets the prisoner free;
His blood can make the foulest clean,
His blood availed for me.

He speaks, and, listening to His voice,
New life the dead receive,
The mournful, broken hearts rejoice,
The humble poor believe.

Hear Him, ye deaf; His praise, ye dumb,
Your loosened tongues employ;
Ye blind, behold your Savior come,
And leap, ye lame, for joy.

In Christ your Head, you then shall know,
Shall feel your sins forgiven;
Anticipate your heaven below,
And own that love is heaven.

Here's the point where I just started including a general mix of hymns/worship songs I love. 
We sang this at our wedding. Not all of it. There are about a billion verses. But I love them all because each stanza seems such a beautiful representation of Scripture. I could be wrong, but I'm willing to say no other hymn makes the images of the Bible, specifically the Gospels, come alive like this one. Also, the lines "Anticipate your heaven below, And own that love is heaven" kind of give me chills. I just love them so much.

8. Come Thou Fount- David Crowder Band

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.
This is another one of mine and Peyton's favorites and we sang it at our wedding.  I love each and every thing this song asks of God. "Tune my heart to sing Thy grace"? Should definitely ask that of Him more. "Teach me some melodious sonnet"? That, too.

9. Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing- Sufjan Stevens
O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.
I had to include two versions, because I love both of these contemporary renditions of one of my favorite classics. Bind my wandering heart to Thee!

10. Be Thou My Vision- Van Morrison

Riches I heed not nor man's empty praise
Thou mine inheritance now and always
Thou and thou only first in my heart
High King of heaven my victory won.
Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best thought by day or by night
Waking or sleeping Thy presence my light

Again, I love this song because it's a beautiful prayer set to music. I wrote (a lot) about it here, but I love how one of my favorite songs from a strictly musical point of view has such poignant lyrics. Such a powerful reminder that He alone is my "best thought" and His presence "my light".

I also have some pretty heavy memories associated with this song. My uncle, Allen, had said, at some point, that he wanted it played at his funeral. He and I had discussed our love of the song and I had told him I had the same wish. Well, when my grandmother passed away (five years ago this April), it was played.  Allen (my uncle) said later that when it started heard someone just wail. Of course it was me and he knew it. I just couldn't keep it in. I don't remember it at all, it was such an out of body experience (I was *so* close to my grandmother), but I do know my emotions were uncontrollable. I wasn't sure the song would ever be the same after that. I was terrified of what my reaction would be at our wedding when I heard it start. And there were strong emotions- I missed "Bump" deeply through every last line of it- but there weren't any hysterics. And from that point on the Lord has given me victory over my pain when I hear this beautiful song and somehow I'm able to not be overcome by it.

11. How Firm a Foundation- Festival Choir and Hosanna Chorus
When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

This is one of those songs that's perfect for when I'm at my lowest.  There are several like this, but this is probably my favorite. Sometimes He calls us to go through deep waters, but what a promise- to bless our troubles and sanctify our deepest distress. I have cried a lot of tears with this in the background and I will, no doubt, shed more. I'm so thankful to whoever wrote these beautiful words (the source is debatable).

12. How Firm a Foundation- FPC Studios
When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.

I should say there that I included quite a few songs done by "FPC Studios"- basically it was some kids I went to high school with who went to First Presbyterian church in Jackson. I have an old CD and I'm rather obsessed with it. Like FREAKED out and emailed Ligon Duncan (who is kind of a big deal) and a host of other people at that church when I thought it had been lost. I mentioned this lately, but in our church we talk about "grace equal to every need". It brings me great comfort knowing that His grace "shall be [my] supply".

13. Arise My Soul Arise- FPC Studios
Arise, my soul, arise; shake off thy guilty fears;
The bleeding sacrifice in my behalf appears:
Before the throne my surety stands,
Before the throne my surety stands,
My name is written on His hands.

Awhile back I had to write this one on the kitchen chalkboard. Something about shaking off those guilty fears is powerful. Powerful, I say!

14. Rejoice the Lord Is King-  FPC Studios
Rejoice, the Lord is King! Your Lord and King adore;
Mortals give thanks and sing, and triumph evermore;
Lift up your heart, lift up your voice;
Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!

Jesus, the Savior, reigns, the God of truth and love;
When He had purged our stains He took His seat above;
Lift up your heart, lift up your voice;
Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!

Like the first song on this list, this one just feels so jubilant and so hopeful.  Also, it's funny because when I first started listening to this CD, I had no idea that Charles Wesley had written this and the preceding song. I love when we can be ecumenical in our worship and borrow from other traditions!

15. Jesus I My Cross Have Taken-  FPC Studios
Let the world despise and leave me,
They have left my Savior, too;
Human hearts and looks deceive me;
Thou art not, like man, untrue;
And, while Thou shalt smile upon me,
God of wisdom, love, and might,
Foes may hate, and friends disown me;
Show Thy face, and all is bright.

Because yes, foes my certainly hate and friends may even disown, but in the radiance of His face, ALL IS BRIGHT!

16. How Deep the Father's Love For Us- Phillips, Craig and Dean
How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory
Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers

Another perfect Easter song. This is one of my FAVORITES. Too many times I hear myself calling out among the scoffers. But how deep His love is!

17. In Christ Alone- Keith and Kristyn Getty
Til on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live, I live
There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave He rose again
And as He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ

Another one of my favorites and another song from our wedding.   I love the music. I love the words. It's just beautiful. Probably my favorite contemporary worship song period.

18. Go Light Your World- Chris Rice
Frustrated brother, see how he's tried to
Light his own candle some other way
See now your sister, she's been robbed and lied to
Still holds a candle without a flame
So Carry your candle, run to the darkness
Seek out the lonely, the tired and worn
Hold out your candle for all to see it.

I had to include some "action" songs because, you know, the cross calls us to action. I've been thinking about this a lot...ALOT...lately. How I can reach out to others. The tired, the worn, the lonely. Sometimes I think maybe we think we need to go search for them and the tired, worn and lonely are right there in front of us. 

19. You Put This Love in My Heart- Keith Green
I want to know where the bad feelings go
When I'm depressed and I get down so low
And then I see you coming to me and it's alright
I want to tell you right now
I'm not afraid to say how
You put this love in my heart.
Another downright jubilant song. This is what I listen to after I process things to How Firm a Foundation :)

20. Rushing Wind- Keith Green
Holy spirit, I surrender, take me where you want to go,
Plant me by your living water,
Plant me deep so I can grow.
Jesus, you're the one, who sets my spirit free,
Use me lord, glorify, your holy name through me.
Separate me from this world lord.
Sanctify my life for you.
Daily change me to your image,
Help me bear good fruit.
Every day you're drawing closer.
Trials come to test my faith.
But when all is said and done lord,
You know, it was worth the wait.
This is the song that introduced me to Keith Green. Clearly, I love him. Anyway, another great song that's become one of my prayers. "Sanctify my life." "Daily change me to your image." "Help me bear good fruit."

21. Jesus Commands Us to Go!- Keith Green
Jesus commands us to go,
But we go the other way.
So he carries the burden alone,
While his children are busy at play
 
Another action song. He does command it, doesn't He? Like I said, though, it looks different for everyone. For some friends, it looked like moving to Africa to be missionaries. For other friends, it looked like adopting a child. For a doctor friend of ours, it looked like free colonoscopies for the disadvantaged in our areas. But "go!" means "go!" and He tells us to be doers, not just hearers.

22. Easter Song- Keith Green
Hear the bells ringing
They're singing that you can be born again
Hear the bells ringing
They're singing Christ is risen from the dead
The angel up on the tombstone
Said He has risen, just as He said
Quickly now, go tell his disciples
That Jesus Christ is no longer dead

More Easter joy. I love Keith Green so much and this just makes me want to sing LOUD!

23. Restoration Is Your Song- Jonathon and Candi Shelton
 Through every change, in every season
we're carried in your perfect peace
with tender grace and love abounding
you can cause the waves to cease
Though we may find pain tommorow
you reach out to catch our tears
and you make things new 
you will right what is wrong
healing flows from you
and restoration is your song
When all we know falls down around us
and we feel so far from home
your love will be our heart's revival
you have claimed us for your own

Whoa. So this is a new favorite. I heard it at the adoption conference I went to recently and I feel like this song fit so many of the emotions I had over those few days. I know that one day when a sweet sister-baby or brother-baby comes into our lives this song will be playing in the background. In the meantime, it's full of applications for the here and now. 

24. Let Us Break Bread Together- Anthony Brown
Let us break bread together on our knees, (on our knees)
Let us break bread together on our knees. (on our knees)
When I fall on my knees with my face to the rising sun,
O Lord, have mercy on me.

Perfect communion song.  Perfect song for today- the Thursday before Easter. For whatever reason, I adore this song so so much.

25. Everytime I Feel the Spirit- Anthony Brown
The Jordan river is chilly and cold.
            It chills the body but not the soul.
            There aint but one train upon this track.
            It runs to heaven and then right back.
Every time I feel the spirit
Movin’ in my heart I will pray

So obviously throughout this playlist there are some "chunks". One is the RUF type stuff from high school by the First Pres kids. There's clearly a big Keith Green chunk. And here's the last chuck- Anthony Brown. He has the most beautiful voice and each of these songs from his cd, Toil and Triumph, is an African American spiritual. I just think it's beautiful and I've always love it. Peyton and I love listening to the Morehouse/Spelman choirs as well and I just can't overstate how much I love this form of music. As an aside, I'd be lying if I said listening to them hasn't started bringing to mind that one day sister-baby or brother-baby, too. A part of my heart already loves him or her and in my mind's eye, I have a little picture I dream of from time to time.  Anyway, I love this song, too.

26. I Know De Lord's Laid His Hands on Me- Anthony Brown
Did ever you see the like before?
I know the Lord's laid His hands on me,
King Jesus preaching to the poor.
I know the Lord's laid His hands on me. [Refrain]
O wasn't that a happy day,
I know the Lord's laid His hands on me.
When Jesus washed my sins away?
I know the Lord's laid His hands on me.

Such a simple truth and so beautiful. 
 
27. Good News! Chairot's Comin'- Anthony Brown
Good news, the chariot's coming,
Good news, oh, the chariot's coming
Good news, the chariot's coming,
Yeah, I don't want to be behind.

Another gorgeous spiritual. I don't really have much to say that would do it justice. 

28. He's Got the Whole World In His Hands- Anthony Brown
He's got you and me brother in his hands
He's got you and me sister in his hands
He's got you and me brother in his hands
He's got the whole world in his hands

We sort of think of this as a kid song, but when you hear this version, it's really not. It's just gorgeous and makes me long for more unity within the Body of Christ.

29. We Shall Overcome- Bruce Springsteen
We'll walk hand in hand, we'll walk hand in hand,
We'll walk hand in hand someday;
Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe,
We'll walk hand in hand someday.

This one makes me think of the Civil Rights struggles of the '60s. It too makes me wish for more love and more unity even when we disagree strongly on some things. Also, this is neither here nor there, but I love the racial and cultural walls Bruce breaks down. For example, on his last album he had a young African American woman rapping as part of the project. Now, personally that's not a genre I usually gravitate to. But it was so well done and honestly was just painfully gorgeous and I had to applaud such a brave divergence from his usual style, knowing that for most of his fans, like me, it probably wasn't their typical taste.

30. 10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)- Matt Redman

 The sun comes up, it's a new day dawning
It's time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes
Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I'll worship Your holy name

Oh my word. I heard this song at the conference, saw someone mention it on Twitter, and then heard it at our church (which was probably a God thing, because we don't do much contemporary stuff) and each time it spoke to me. I love it so much.  I was having a day last week and this song just brought me to knees.

Let me be singing when the evening comes!

1 comment:

Mallory Pickering said...

Will you share with us how you came to know the Lord?