This is the first of my recordings that is deliberately and consciously a “worship” album in that most of the songs were written specifically for a worshiping community and with the intention of helping that community find its common voice in praise of God.
In the case of this collection, the particular community is my home church in Winnipeg (St. Benedict’s Table) and the author of all but two of the songs is not myself but rather, long time friend Gord Johnson. For years, Gord has been writing in the singer/songwriter tradition – personal reflections, stories, thoughtful recollections, social and political observations, etc.- with a keen eye for issues of justice. But more recently Gord has been impacted by the Taize community in France whose music has begun to make inroads into worshipping communities all over the world.
Taize music is very simple. Usually it consists of one or two lines of scripture sung slowly, reverently and repeatedly. The idea is for the community to enter into communal contemplation – to get past the melody and words and enter into the mystery of the story of God and God’s people. No rules, no particular form – just worship guided by those goals and entered into through music. Learning as a community to hear and follow the Spirit’s gentle nudging is a beautiful and deepening experience. Examples on this album are Embrace the Mystery, Who Condemns You Now, Everything We Need and Gone is the Light.
Other songs on this album have more traditional song form but all have that same reverential, devotional quality. The sequence of the songs was deliberately chosen to follow an arc of worship that has a certain liturgical logic.
Think of the album in four sections: The first four songs (Almighty God, In the Morning, He Will Know. and Praise the Father) celebrate the sovereign transcendence and immanence of God, God’s Triune Nature and our loving dependence and gratitude. Gone is the Light marks a shift of focus to a penitential/confessional acknowledgment of sin and brokenness – aligning ourselves with the shattered thief on the Cross. The next three songs (Embrace the Mystery, Jesus Feed Us, and Who Condemns You Now) celebrate the Incarnation; Word becoming flesh (body and blood / bread and wine), uniting to our own, and nourishing us back to health and dignity. Finally, with The Lorica– a joyful reaffirmation of the gift of our relational proximity to the “triune God of Grace” and the host of angelic and saintly luminaries we know as the family of God – and with Benediction, we entrust our souls to the care of God whose loving self-donation has won our peace.
Please note that this is an interactive disc. Pop it into your computer to access printable lead sheets and lyrics.
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