IN SHORT: If “Suffering & the Sovereignty of God” edited by Piper & Taylor were made into a movie, this would be the soundtrack.
Though it’s entirely possible that you’ve never heard of them, Sovereign Grace Music is by no means a new-comer to contemporary praise & worship. Formerly known as PDI Praise, they have been honing their vision of doctrinally precise & passionate praise long before their early hits “I stand in Awe” – which is still appears regularly in the CCLI top 100 after 21 years – and their popular rearrangement of “Before the Throne”, were being sung in churches everywhere.
After their powerful 2006 release, VALLEY OF VISION, which was one of my favorites that year, I had truly resolved that they could surely do no better. It appears that I may have been wrong.
It’s not that the production hits me square between the eyes – in fact, there are even a few moments where the synth strikes me as a bit ‘cheesy’, or a bit ‘dated’. Don’t get me wrong, it is still a good sounding c.d., but given my edgier personal tastes, I would have done things differently production-wise in a few places.
And it’s not so much that the performances stand out, though everyone on the disc performs to the top of their ability, and I’m more than happy to hear Jonathan Baird of West Coast Revival take the lead more often here. However, the performances are not the focus – the instruments and vocal works are arranged to support the lyrical content of the songs, rather than to draw attention to the music.
Honestly, it is far from being the hippest or edgiest worship release of the year, nor the loudest, nor even the catchiest – though, there are a few tunes that indeed have the hooks. That’s not the point, though.
What sets Come Weary Saints apart is the lyrics. Oh, what lyrics! Here’s the deal; this is an entire worship c.d. written to a very good and sovereign God from various depths and experiences of brokenness and pain. The lyrics are doctrinally precise, yet still – at their best – felt rather than thought – which is an accomplishment, indeed! Some songs are cries of the heart – psalm-like it their honesty – and others are songs of rejoicing, even from the depths of despair, where trusting God is the only option left. Even as I write this tears are welling up in my eyes – my mind grabbing themes which have given me much comfort in the passing months since I first listened to this disc.
As far as it regards usefulness in a corporate worship environment, the most accessible songs are probably “Healing in Your Wings”, “So I will trust You”, “You have always been Faithful”, or “Glorious”. “Hide away in the love of Jesus” would make a beautiful ‘special music’ piece during the right sermon series and for those more interested in hymns, “It is not death to Die” and “I have a Shelter” are wonderful modern-day additions to the hymn-book.
Sure, not every song will connect with every listener. The musical styles are varied, and there are one or two that I still have not connected with. That said, this is not only an important c.d. for 2008, but in my book, an essential one. Please pick it up, for your own sake.