One of the most compelling aspects of the Reformed tradition for me is its emphasis on the Bible as one story from beginning to end. This stream of Christianity just seems bent on finding and exposing every last bit of connective tissue between the first Adam and the Second. And I can’t get enough of it.
This must be why I’m loving Kristen Gilles’ new EP, The Whole Big Story. Each song seeks to stretch its wingspan from the bombastic beginning of Genesis 1 to the eternal ending of Revelation 22.
“Bold Before God’s Throne,” a Hebrews-esque exploration, connects the Old Testament cult with the New Testament Christ.
In “Rising Tide,” Bobby & Kristen explore the Beginning and the End with solid, hymn-like juxtapositions. Here’s verse 2:
What Satan thought was victory
Became the means of his defeat
The Lord, on cruel Calvary
Crushed Satan’s head beneath His feet
But my favorite song explores what I think it one of the under-appreciated metaphoric symbols of Scripture. “You Grew the Tree” explores the tie between the Genesis-tree and the Passion-tree. A hefty portion:
You spoke into the void,
Created every star.
You made the earth and everything
That sin would one day mar
And then, Lord, by Your Word
Appeared each form of life;
And in Your image Adam came
And from him came a wife.
But even then You knew
The curse our pride would bring.
The only way to save mankind—
You’d die …
You grew the tree. You grew the tree.
You knew what we’d do,
but still You grew the tree.
The song also teases out something I’ve never thought of before–that God, in His meticulous providence, called forth the tree from the ground that would grow up to be fashioned into the wood of the cross. Imagine God, in his exhaustive knowledge, observing that cursed plant, and year after year allowing it to grow. What a thought!
You gave the sun and rain
To grow the fated wood.
You could have ripped it from the ground;
Year after year it stood.
And then rebellious men
Made of it a cross,
Planning bloody wickedness
In place of nature’s loss.
The Gilleses model what they preach on their fantastic blog, My Song in the Night. They exemplify good songwriting, stretching imaginative boundaries, and looking at Scripture from fresh angles. Best yet, the album is free. And here it is.
Purchased and downloaded from Bandcamp where you get the usual choice of file types. And the scores too, I think.
The refrain of You Grew The Tree is catchy and I like all of what Rising Tide undertakes to do.
I think Rising Tide is singable across a range of styles, too.