Monday, 10 February 2014

Music Matters Part 2: An Enthusiastic Endorsement

So in my last lengthy post I wrote about why most church music drives me nuts, and how I long for something more. Thousands of readers emailed begging me to post the follow up post*, so I graciously put it together. Who am I to disappoint my adoring fans?

A few years ago I attended the most beautiful wedding I had ever witnessed. The bride and groom were both Catholic missionaries who loved the Lord. The final hymn was a song called 'Come Let Us Magnify the Lord'. As we all sang together, as I watched their radiant faces, my heart swelled within me, and I think there may have been tears and desperate attempts to save mascara.

Here was Beauty. The song was based on Psalm 34. Here's the background to the song, and the lyrics. What made it beautiful? It was not classical music. But it spoke Truth, and that truth was reflected in both the lyrics and the faces of those who sang it. The bride and groom were not gazing into each other's eyes. They were holding hands and joyfully facing God together singing both in thankfulness of how they had 'tasted and seen' as well in promise and hope that their lives would 'magnify the Lord' together. (They did and they do.)

You can listen to that song as well as three others at this link.

My family belongs to an international ecumenical Christian community called Sword of the Spirit, which has helped form my faith since I was 14. Within the community we have a brotherhood of single men called the Servants of the Word, who have composed a lot of music. They are also some of the coolest people I know.

Their music has been some of the most beautiful music I have ever heard. The recorded audio quality of the mp3s I have is not always very good. Nor are the singers all professional singers.


Their music meets every criteria I put forth in my previous post. I have never felt closer to heaven as the times when I have sung and listened to their music. Quite the endorsement from critical Sue, huh?

What makes their music so special?

It is almost all based on Scripture, usually the psalms, as well as some prayers of the saints. The lyrics are rich and deep and true. They have been written by men who have a deep experience of God's love, as well as other members of the community. Their love for Him shines through the songs. I have spent time with different SOS communities who all sing their songs, and there is just SOMETHING about singing truth with love in the midst of the assembly. My heart says "YES! This!" I go deeper, higher, closer. The psalms come alive. I truly get a glimpse of heaven.

I don't know what to say that can truly describe it, except buy their music! This is the only link I could find to buy their music: Tabor House. (Rise up O Men of God, Sing a New Song to the Lord, Love Profound: Songs of Worship, In Spirit and Truth)

So many of their songs have touched me exactly when and how I needed it. These are some of my favourites-

Glory Cry the Angel Choirs

'What no man could hope for now conceived. 
Earth is raised to heaven on this eve. 
 God on earth and man in heaven, 
 Who can such a wonder fathom?'

I wish everyone could listen to this at Christmas eve to say 'THIS is what it's about!'

I Will Awake the Dawn

Awake, O harp and lyre, awake the morning!
 First light of day descends to lift my soul.
Your presence greets me, stirs me to seek Thee;
I come to do Your will.

and the way we start the Liturgy of the Hours every morning:

Open my lips oh Lord, my mouth shall sing Your praise. 

I am NOT a morning person, but this makes early mornings worth it. My family was on a holiday in Kerala last year, and we had to rise and leave one early early morn... at dawn. My dad started playing this song, and up, up, up went my heart.

Lead Me Home (audio clip)

For though my wandering heart should choose to roam, 
Your love will lead me home. 

It was for freedom that Christ has set me free. 

 How can this world stake a claim on me?

This is a beautiful a cappella song with female vocalists. This is one of the songs I keep on repeat.

I guess I should stop. There are so many that I love.

Music matters. (It's late. I can't think of any snappy or meaningful conclusion to this post.)

What Christian music do you know that lifts your heart to God? Do you any beautiful Mass hymns that you recommend? Not like I am involved in any church choir, but who knows, maybe my readers are. 

*This is a lie. I'm so excited you actually bothered to read these two posts! 


  1. You are making me tear up half a world away. I COMPLETELY AGREE with everything in the past two posts. I feel as though I've resigned to bad music, but am still overjoyed with the good. The problem for me is I have all the "fluffy" songs memorized from singing them growing up, so it is a major, unavoidable distraction when they are sung at Mass.

    A few of my favorites are Crown Him Many Crowns, At The Name of Jesus, Of The Father's Love Begotten, All Creatures of Our God and King, and Love Divine All Loves Excelling.

    I fell in love with good hymns praying Liturgy of the Hours, there are so many powerful hymns in the breviary, and YouTube taught me how to sing them!

  2. Too many good hymns. I joke that my criteria for good music is that the tune was written before 1800 because I tend to be an Early/Renaissance/Baroque person. I go for traditional western worship stuff but I also love camp music and there are a couple songs on Christian radio that I like.