When I started this blog, my first song was a ten minute saga about waiting for the return of Christ. My philosophy here is that you can never put a time limit on a really good song and you can never sing too often about the Lord’s Second Coming.
Young Oceans is another group composing original modern hymns. They formed out of a church in New York City who desired to worship and meditate on God musically uninhibited by the framework of time or structure. These gatherings became popular and led to the recordings that we are featuring from today. They are currently working on a series of songs for Advent, so keep a close eye on Young Oceans (or really anything that comes out on the Asthmatic Kitty label).
“Hope of Glory” is a hymn that serves the Christian like a perseverance tonic. If you’re having a bad day, month or year then let this song lift you up before God and recharge you, like a spiritual solar panel on a sunny day. The lyrics are both a personal plea for strength and a unified declaration of fealty to our Savior, as we await His grand re-entrance:
Sear to my soul Your word of truth, O Father
And make us heirs of Your throne
Rescued at last from darkness through Jesus
Faithful we carry on and gladness shall be our song
This is the day for Christ the Hope of Glory
O Mystery made known to us
Now is the time soon there will be no sorrow
Prepare our hearts to stand before You Lord
So we proclaim the mighty cross, O Savior
With wisdom and to this end
Struggling as one, we labor with Jesus
We will wait for You O Lord
May our hearts be ever pure
Holy Spirit fall on us, may Your blessed Kingdom come.
The song (as mentioned before) is long, about eight and a half minutes to be exact. This serves a crucial purpose for me as I listen to both the truth in the words and the emotion of those truths in the sounds of instrumentation and artistic backdrop. In other words, the verses and chorus declare Scriptural knowledge and encouragement; and then the listener engages sections of the song that allows for quiet, thoughtful meditation on these truths. All the while the melodies provide a faithful flow or crescendo that carries you all the way to the end. Too many songs either give you too much knowledge to digest in a few minutes or nothing but fluffy, romantic sentiments without any biblical content.
If you listen carefully, you can even hear children playing in the background on some parts of the song. I like this, for it helps integrate these truths into everyday sounds and environments. Instead of stepping into a worship song and then, when its over, stepping back out into real life this song cries out a blend of authenticity, transparency and a harmony between song and life. In short, the song is indeed it’s own worship experience.
This is a popular trend in secular music. Instead of predictable timings and beats, some musicians are leaning towards ambient sounds, irregular rhythms and nontraditional song-flows (i.e., Sigur Ros, Sufjan Stevens, etc.). Call it alternative, organic or whatever. This style lends itself to better meditation on God’s truth, when the music has the right message and the right length.
Listen to David in Psalm 63 as he describes the way he praises and meditates on the Lord:
My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,
and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,
when I remember you upon my bed,
and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
for you have been my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.
My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me.
Let this song be more than just a new addition to your playlist. Use it’s unique qualities to engage God, alone, while you open up the depths of your soul to a deeper embrace of the truth in this tune. God is King. God is coming back for His faithful ones. Our hope is in Christ alone…and that is enough for anything this life has to throw at us.