I am continually impressed and encouraged by the output of Mars Hill Music. Stylistically, I love what they do. It’s my personal musical cup of tea. From the sing-songy, “Brady Bunch” worship style of The Sing Team, to the , flanged, Cure-style punk of The Modern Post, to the driving indie sound of Citizens, to the neo-classical folk chops of King’s Kaleidoscope, to The Dispatch’s modern tribute to the 80s, to Ghost Ship’s banjo rock, they’ve got something very special going on, stretching the sonic parameters of “modern worship music.” I’ve been listening to their latest offering, The Water and the Blood, by Dustin Kensrue, and I can’t help but be incredibly thankful for the music, but more importantly the message.
You can tell that the Mars Hill songwriters and artists are obsessed with the limitless satisfaction of the gospel of Jesus Christ. You can also tell that they reflect on the gospel through the lens of the historic Christian church. For instance, Kensrue’s “My One Comfort” is nothing other than a sung simplification of the beautiful first question and answer of the Heidelberg Catechism:
My one comfort both in life and death
Is that I am not my own
I was bought with blood and I confess
I belong to You alone
By the Father’s good decree
Jesus, you’ve delivered me
By Your Spirit set me free
To follow you
Jesus, you have taken hold of me
And in Your grip of grace I’m finally free
Even more than this, don’t miss the explicit Trinitarianism that drips from the quills of the Mars Hill songwriters. The second stanza above is only a brief display of what is even more powerfully expounded in The Modern Post’s, “Grace Alone,” also written by Kensrue:
(1) I was an orphan lost at the fall
Running away when I’d hear your call
But Father, You worked Your will. . .
(2) You left Your home to seek out the lost
You knew the great and terrible cost
But Jesus, Your face was set. . .
(3) I was in darkness all of my life
I never knew the day from the night
But Spirit, You moved in me. . .
What I love about this song is that each verse goes on to clearly define the unique contribution of each member of the Trinity to our salvation. It’s not a passing reference or a quick shout-out to the great Three-in-One. It is a heeding of the Nicene Creed’s admonishment to deeply glorify all three Persons of the Godhead.
Noteworthy, too, is that there are some exciting co-writing partnerships going on, like “Rejoice,” a partnership between Kensrue and Stuart Townend.
So…for the above reasons and more, keep tracking with what Mars Hill is up to. Here are some of my favorite songs: