“1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6”

I love counting in a good upbeat 6/8 to start a service! I’m sure musicologists can explain why such songs set a good musical tone, but for me they do. I also love the grandeur of a meaty old hymn. 

As I stand to sing I want the truth of the words and the tune of the song to lift my dreary soul to the Lord. I want to be reminded that this is the best moment of the week as I gather with my church family. This is the highest privilege, the essential recharge, the irreplaceable moment, where we can reciprocally love and encourage one another, coming together to hear God speak through his Word and to worship him in song. 

This pinnacle of the week should begin with a song that musically lifts and reminds us of how awesome this moment is and how awesome the eternal Lord of all moments is. So what songs fit that first song slot? You will have your favourites, but here are 3 newish 6/8 ones (3rd song is written in 3/4 but the recording is driven hard) that you might want to consider…

  1. “Sing” by Nathan Stiff and David Zimmer (Sovereign Grace Music)

Each verse asks questions of the singer teasing out the privileges of our reality in Christ. It is singing, employing the Socratic method! You are questioning yourself and those singing with you; “Does your heart still beat?” “Is the mighty Word of the living God upholding you?” And if it is, the song calls you to respond in praise as you sing the chorus…

Morning and evening! Everything breathing             

Must sing, O sing!                  

All of creation rise up and praise                        

The King of kings and sing! 

The last verse is a fitting eschatological reminder that one day “we will bow in wonder before the Lamb and evermore the saints will sing.” We participate in that heavenly gathering now (Heb 12), but for now, we sing in anticipatory praise.   

  1. “All my boast is in Jesus” – Keith & Kristyn Getty · Matt Boswell · Matt Papa (Getty Music)

I won’t say much about this song, the writers helpfully speak about it here

Musically it’s lively and joyful. If you can keep up the tempo through all the verses, choruses, and bridge, you are a metronomic genius. So why do I love this song? Because of the bridge and I don’t say that often, if ever! The words are…

O praise the One forever blessed

Him alone my heart adores

And I will boast in nothing less

Than the love of Christ, my Lord

They are a great summary and high point of the whole song, but they are set to a beautiful melody. It is at the top of my range without me having to reach for throat lozenges later in the day and in the arrangement linked, they strip back the accompaniment to allow the voices to ring out. It is wonderful. 

3. “If Christ Mine – Joyful Noise

The third song is the last of this list but, by no means the least!

The recording available is live, so it has all the rawness you might expect. So it’s lovely to hear the congregation singing their hearts out and the lead singer sounds like her lungs are ready to burst (but I guess she probably had a gleaming smile of joy across her face!).

The lyrics of this song are beautiful, like 10 out of 10, top-drawer beautiful. The opening line of each verse sings, ‘If Christ is mine…’ and then you are bombarded with a litany of assurance, full of safe-hope. Musically the recording keeps pushing you on. It has life and punch, so if you try it at your church, don’t drop that tempo as it steers you through a gospel narrative of; faith union, forgiven sin, guilt cleansed, death defeated, justice at His return and eternal hope He secured.

The first 4 lines of verse 1 are gold…

If Christ is mine, I need no more

He is the greatest gift of all

The one who angel hosts adore

Now he has me safely in his hold

Give them a go and let us know how they are received by your church family?!

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This Post Has One Comment

  1. Richard Huss

    We have really enjoyed and benefited from “If Christ is mine” at church. The smile of joy is readily confirmed by the YouTube video 🙂 For us it was definitely best to go for A major rather than G major, which was just a little too low for comfort.

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