This week I’ll be highlighting a few albums that have come my way over the last few weeks and months. First up is We Will Proclaim: Live Worship with The Falls Church Anglican, a project overseen by my friend and fellow worship leader-blogger, Jamie Brown.
This album is a true “church album”–ecclesiastical and communal from top to bottom. It runs like one, beautiful worship service. It is highly collaborative at every level. Lots of musicians and minds contributed to it, and songs are pulled from all over the church music spectrum…everything from Matt Redman, to Bob Kauflin, to old hymns, to original material. The music and production are both beautiful and human! The album is gospel-shaped, deeply “liturgical,” and full of heart. Many moments (even the first track, which is just an extended Call to Worship) have ministered to me and brought me to tears.
I want to draw your attention to one particular song that I think is powerful, beautiful, and needed in the Church, which happens to be the one exclusively written by Jamie: “Father Open Our Eyes.” Here is the text:
Infinite grace and mercy,
tenderness deep and wide
A strong lion for our defense,
a humble lamb as our sacrifice
How can we take Him for granted?
How can our hearts become hard?
Oh, that again we would run to our friend,
embraced by the grace in His arms
Father, open our eyes, help us to savor Jesus Christ
Father, level our pride, show us the one who gives us life
Help us to love Your Son
Innocent, perfect beauty,
met by our wicked sin
The King eternal becomes the judged,
His enemies to be made His friends
How can we take Him for granted?
How can our hearts become stone?
Oh, that today we would fall on our face,
undone by the love He has shown
Come, Holy Spirit. Lead us to Jesus. Help us to worship.
Several things about this song are noteworthy. First, it is beautifully Trinitarian. It embodies worship to the Father, through the Son, by the Spirit. Notice that the chorus sings to the Father, while the goal is His aid in opening our eyes in order to savor the Son. The bridge gets at the “how”: it is really the Spirit that the Father and the Son send to “lead us to Jesus.” Second, it centers us on the finished work of Christ, rather than our subjective experience. The only good news we can perpetually find in worship is located outside ourselves in who Jesus is and what He has done. As I’ve said elsewhere, the best, most biblical “Spirit-filled worship” is that which makes much of the Son, placing the triumph and victory in Christ, not in our own fleeting whims. It reminds us that worship’s Object is not a warm feeling or a renewed sense of zeal for God’s cause, but Christ Himself. Thirdly, it contributes to the language and vocabulary of invocation, which we need. Churches that engage a more formal liturgy are familiar with this, but we evangelicals who are used to a block-of-songs-then-sermon format may fail to remember the power that comes from Invocation: asking the Holy Spirit to be present and to work in the worship service. Moreover, when we ask the Spirit to what He loves, which is to showcase the Son, the invocation becomes that much more powerful. Beautiful!
Overall, especially as a live album, We Will Proclaim is a stacking of stones of remembrance to God’s faithfulness in a church community that is on the move and has been through a lot! I’m appreciative of the pastoral heart that is obvious throughout the project, from singable keys, to simple yet elegant production, to theologically rich songs mixed with deeply passionate engagement.
You can listen to and buy the album here!