On the surface

Soaring melodies, strong vocals, synths and guitars galore, and the ability to make you feel something (even if you’re not sure what that something is..!).  A great album for singing in the car or while cooking the dinner.

Background

Hillsong is a bit of a mix of theology.  Some churches might decide to simply discount anything they produce because of the theology of the movement as a whole.  However, if you have time and capacity to explore there is some gold to be sifted from the sand.

They have produced some crackers in recent days, such as Cornerstone, O Praise the name, The Creed, Man of Sorrows etc.  And it’s worth noting that the majority of the decent songs come from this faction within Hillsong, Hillsong Worship (with writers such as Brooke Ligertwood, Ben Fielding, Benjamin Hastings etc).

This perhaps is not the place to look if you want deep and weighty theology.  But reminders of the love of God, freedom in Christ, hope.. they can get it very right.  Plus I think it is really useful for our churches to use some songs that perhaps focus on only one element or idea of our faith, rather than preaching a new line of theology in every sentence.  It allows us to really meditate on that one thing, and allow it to soak in a little more.  Sometimes my head needs that space when the rest of the service, from sermons to hymns to prayers, can be very content heavy.

Lyrics and setting

Highs:

Who you say i am – I’m a big fan of this song.  This is the anthem of the doubting christian, struggling to believe where they really stand with God when the day to day reality can be a struggle.  Full of truth about salvation and our identity, and how secure we are, because what God has said about us is true. Full stop.

For God so loved-  This is good!  The chorus is super easy, and is just John 3:16 word for word, could be a good song for a youth group.    And a great bridge.

By His precious blood
I have been set free
For the glory of Jesus’ name

Awesome right?  Not saved for me or my happiness.. or even my freedom in and of itself (which is a theme they focus on a lot as a movement), but for Christ’s ultimate glory.  Amen to that.

Be still – This is a great personal reflection song.  Prayerful, and repetition of the promises we have in psalm 23.

Remembrance–  This is pretty strong.  And would be a great Lord’s supper solo, lifting our gaze to Jesus sacrifice, as well as the effect that should have on every day of the rest of our lives, as we ‘live in remembrance’ of what Jesus has done.

So will I (100 billion x) – Mind blowing stuff for personal reflection

Lows:

You are life– this is an example of the kind of fairly vague lyrics that can exist in many worship songs.  Not saying anything wrong but just not really saying anything.  E.g

I’m living in the light of my Saviour
Dancing in the arms of forever
I’m singing like I’m walking on water
You are life

Touch of heaven – Again this isn’t wrong to a certain extent, except the songwriter is longing to know God more, and the way he seems to see that happening is through seeing creation.. through being quiet and waiting for some miraculous moment where God will intervene and speak, rather than through the way we are actually given to know God- his awesome, all-powerful word!

Will it work in my church?

I’ve found some of these songs great for my personal reflection, and definitely more useful for my head to have on in the background than most mainstream music!  But there are only a few songs that would be useful in our churches in my opinion.  (speaking for normal, local churches of medium size).

Congregational:  Who you say I am and God so loved are worth a shot if they fit well.

Solos: Remembrance and maybe the Lord’s Prayer

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