Hymns & Songs

Of music that reflects and reveals God

May 2010    

This is our God

Your grace is enough
More than I need
And your word I will believe
I wait for you
Draw near again
And your spirit make me new
And I will fall at your feet
I will fall at your feet
And I will worship you here

Your presence in me
Jesus light the way
By the power of your
word I am restored
I am redeemed
By your spirit I am free
And I will fall at your feet
I will fall at your feet
And I will worship you here
Freely you gave it all for us
Surrendered your life upon that
cross Great is your love
Poured out for all
This is our God

Lifted on high from death to life
Forever our God is glorified
Sovereign king
Rescued the world
This is our God
And I will fall at your feet
I will fall at your feet
And I will worship you here (2x)

Freely you gave it all for us
Surrendered your life upon that
cross Great is your love
Poured out for all
This is our God

Lifted on high from death to life
Forever out God is glorified
Sovereign king
Rescued the world
This is our God

© 2008, Reuben Morgan1

A COMMON CRITICISM about praise and worship songs by its detractors has been its lack of focus on God’s attributes, the yearning for intimacy with God and a desire to sing about the active role of the worshipper in relation with God. The argument goes that such an emphasis detracts the role of God to that of a passive benevolent benefactor.

In this song “This is our God”, composed in 2008, I notice a subtle change in the textual content of this musical genre. Admittedly it still prescribes an active role on the part of the worshipper in the divine-human relationship as in some portion of the song, it goes,

I wait for you …
I will fall at your feet …

Nevertheless, Reuben Morgan, the new worship pastor of Hillsong Church in Sydney, who wrote this song, then dramatically shifts the focus away from the worshipper to the handiwork of God.2 He writes,

Freely you gave it all for us
Surrendered your life upon that cross
Great is your love
Poured out for all
This is our God
Lifted on high from death to life
Forever our God is glorified
Sovereign king
Rescued the world
This is our God

Indeed it is time that we put aside our unnecessary contention about a hymn or a praise and worship song, as to which is more efficacious in Christian worship. Rather, we need to focus on what is far more critical – which is their function in worship.

How might we harness their inherent efficacy so that we may encounter God? Let us reflect for a moment what Edward Foley, an American worship scholar, has to say about the nature of music. He writes,

sound (church music) by its very nature, serves the revelation of God in the Judaeo-Christian tradition. Its temporality, seemingly insubstantial nature, dynamism, unitive properties, and evocation of the personal enable it to serve as a unique medium for communicating the presence of God … Music as it unites to ritual does even more in serving the revelation of the Judaeo-Christian God.3

So may this be the criterion of what we choose to use to sing in our worship. Music that reflects God, music that reveals God, and music that challenges us to be more Christ-like. After all, this song by Morgan reminds us,

Freely you gave it all for us
Surrendered your life upon that cross
Great is your love
Poured out for all
This is our God.

1 Video clip of this song, see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlrrHoM_tUU
2 For Morgan’s thoughts on worship see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0MOEVOF-u8 accessed 22 March 2010.
3 Edward Foley, Ritual Music: Studies in Liturgical Musicology (Beltsville, MD: Pastoral Press, 1995), 119-120.

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