Hymns & Songs

Song gives a glimpse of the age to come when Christ reigns

Sep 2009    

How Great is Our God

The splendour of a King
Clothed in majesty
Let all the earth rejoice
All the earth rejoice

He wraps himself in light
And darkness tries to hide
And trembles at His voice
Trembles at His voice

How great is our God, sing with me
How great is our God, and all will see
How great, how great is our God.
Age to age He stands
And time is in His hands
Beginning and the end
Beginning and the end

The Godhead Three in One
Father Spirit Son
The Lion and the Lamb
The Lion and the Lamb

How great is our God, sing with me
How great is our God, and all will see
How great, how great is our God.

Name above all names
Worthy of our praise
My heart will sing
How great is our God

How great is our God, sing with me
How great is our God, and all will see
How great, how great is our God.

© 2004, Ed Cash, Chris Tomlin and Jesse Reeves

CHRISTOPHER DWAYNE TOMLIN was born on May 4, 1972 in Grand Saline, Texas, to Connie and Donna Tomlin. By the age of 14, he began writing worship songs.

Though he intended to pursue the study of physical therapy in university, he felt God calling him into something else. Subsequently, he spent his time in leading worship at various camps and youth conferences and became better known as a recording artiste having received several awards, including six Dove Awards in 2007 and nominated for two Grammys. Despite his fame, Chris is aware of his vocation.

He says: “I feel a responsibility to use [my] talent to create songs for the church … because God has given me a gift to connect people with God, so I try to write songs with people in mind. I try to open worship up to everything it can be, not just my personal preference, but what it can be for a person sitting in the office, or a mom driving her kids to school, or a teenager in high school. How can I bridge all those generations and try to grab something that can help them worship and communicate with God?”1

Indeed, Tomlin’s song, “How Great is Our God”, selected for this month’s reflection, resonates with many in our churches. On the surface, the words paint several images that many of us can relate to and even yearn for. It gives us a glimpse of the age to come when Christ reigns, when justice prevails and evil is subjugated.

While I applaud the mention of the Trinity in this song, I am a little perturbed by the inappropriate sequence of the Godhead (Father, Son, Holy Spirit). While there is poetic licence for the songwriting, I still believe a little more effort in his compositional effort could help ensure that the essential theology of the Godhead is not sacrificed in that creative process. After all, our belief is formed by what we sing and if we are not careful, we will soon think that the Holy Spirit is the second person of the Triune God.

Aside from this minor critique, this song has a captivating tune that moves us emotionally. However, in that process, we need to stop and ask ourselves some crucial questions that the song raised.

How might we invite others to sing with us in proclaiming the greatness of God? How will others see the greatness of God? What sort of God will they see? Will they see a God that exclusively demands a particular religious temperament of the worshippers before they are accepted or will they see God that loves everyone unconditionally regardless of their current state of being?

While we may be moved to tears when we sing this song, it is far better if our heavenly Father is moved to tears (of joy). In my view, that happens when we take up our Christ-like vocation to love others for God and help them experience not just the greatness but also His loving kindness.

Take a moment now and go bless another person in a tangible way. When you do so, you have revealed how great your God is to that person.

Sample Music: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xi0yLRX4d2M&f eature=related accessed 5 August 2009.

1 http://www.myspace.com/christomlin accessed 5 August 2009.

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