Robbie Seay Band Dabbles in the Hymns Movement

Zac HicksConvergence of Old and New in Worship, Hymns Movement News & Reviews, Worship Style, Worship Theology & ThoughtLeave a Comment

By recommendation of my friend John Gooch,  I picked up Robbie Seay Band’s album, Miracle, released this past March.  John knew I’d bite hook, line, and sinker when he texts me with descriptive words like “theologically rich” and “hymns.”  It is a great album.  Miracle is further evidence of what I have tried to explain to traditional worship advocates who continually criticize the theological shallowness of modern worship.  I have noticed an evolution in the mainstream artists (e.g. Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, David Crowder, Tim Hughes, etc.) toward God-centeredness, Gospel-centeredness, mission-mindedness, and issues close to the teachings of Christ and the Old Testament prophets.  Textually, modern worship is boring down to new depths.  If you peruse the lyrics of Miracle, you will see this.

What most excites me is Miracle’s final track, “O Love That Will Not Let Me Go.”  I’m excited because (you guessed it) it’s a re-setting of an old hymn written by George Matheson in 1882.  Indelible Grace has re-set this hymn as well, and it’s one of their more popular tunes.  Robbie Seay Band’s version is just as good, with probably more mainstream appeal because of its stylistic setting.  He altered the words here and there…nothing which damages the text’s integrity, though.  He also added a chorus. 

Oh, love that will not let me go
I rest me weary soul in Thee
I give You back this life I owe
And in Your ocean depths its flow
May richer fuller be

Oh, light that follows all my way
I yield my flickering torch to Thee
And my heart restores its borrowed ray
And in Your sunshine’s blaze, its day
May brighter, fairer be

Rejoice my heart
Rejoice my soul
My Savior God has come to Thee
Rejoice my heart
You’ve been made whole
By a love that will not let me go

Oh, joy that seeks me through the pain
I cannot close my heart to Thee
I chase the rainbow through the rain
And feel the promise is not vain
That more shall tearless be

Oh, cross that lifts and holds my head
I dare not ask to fly from thee
I lay in dust life’s glory dead
From the ground, their blossoms red
Life that shall endless be

I’m excited to see more mainstream worship artists move away a token look at hymns (see my previous post lamenting the fact that evangelical worship has sought to reset or “update” the same list of 20 hymns) to a less well-known text worthy of a re-sing in modern generations.  I’m excited that modern worship and hymnody doesn’t have to be either-or, and people are waking up to that reality.  I’m excited that “old hymns to new music” in mainstream worship is being unshackled from the confines of retaining the tune and “jazzing it up.”  I’m excited that the new breed of church musician is re-embracing the tried and true practice of giving old texts to present generations by means of musical overhaul.

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