On April 10 we’ll be releasing our next album, From Age to Age, a collection of 14 new hymns for the church. We call them “hymns” because either they were based on or inspired by hymns of the past, or because the lyrics adhere to a metrical pattern in the verses. The songs also contain a theological richness that characterize most hymns.
One song I wrote for the album is called Glorious Christ. I unashamedly got the idea for the song from Chris Tomlin’s How Great is Our God, which seems to be sung throughout the world. I love how Chris’ song focuses on God’s character and works then draws out the appropriate response of magnifying the Lord in song and inviting others to join along. I thought, “I’d like to write a song like that that focuses specifically on Jesus.”
One day as I was reading the first chapter of Hebrews I was struck by how many ways the author highlights the preeminence and superiority of Christ. In just the first four verses we’re told that Jesus is:
- God’s Word to us (vs. 1)
- the heir of all things (vs. 2)
- the creator of the world (vs. 2)
- the radiance of the Father’s glory (vs. 3)
- the exact imprint of God’s nature (vs. 3)
- the one who upholds the universe (vs. 3)
- the one who made purification for our sins (vs. 3)
- now seated at God’s right hand (vs. 3)
- superior to angels (vs. 4)
Wow. While it’s biblical and right to worship God as the Trinity, the Father takes special delight when we honor His Son (Phil. 2:9-10). The Spirit has come for the purpose of glorifying Jesus (John 16:14). So it’s appropriate for us to seek to increase our understanding of, appreciation for, and commitment to proclaiming and cherishing how glorious Christ really is. And that’s what I was attempting to do when I wrote Glorious Christ.
When we were working on From Age to Age, Joel Sczebel had the idea of recording an acoustic version in the studio. So we played through the song a few times and ended up with the video below. That’s some of the Enfield guys on percussion (David Zimmer), mandolin (Wil Pearce), and acoustic (Ryan Foglesong). Joel played the other acoustic while I sat in (stood in?) on piano. Eric McAllister, currently one of our interns, sang vocals, although Dale Bischof sings it on the album. If you want to sample what’s on the album you can hear it on the iTunes pre-order page. Lyrics are below.
The album comes out April 10, but you can pre-order it for only 5 bucks at our Bandcamp site.
The radiance of the Father
Before the dawn of time
You spoke and all creation came to be
The molecules and planets
Reveal Your great design
And every one was made so we could see
So we could see
You are the glorious Christ
The greatest of all delights
Your power is unequaled
Your love beyond all heights
No greater sacrifice
Than when You laid down Your life
We join the song of angels
Who praise You day and night
You left the air of heave
To breathe the dust of earth
And dwell among the outcast and the poor
You came to be forsaken
And died to take our curse
So You could be our joy forevermore
You’re seated now in heaven
Enthroned at God’s right hand
You’ve shattered death and freed us
From our fears
And though we cannot see You
You’re coming back again
And all will be made right when You appear
And all will be made right when You appear
By Bob Kauflin © 2012 Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI)
WOW! I love this! I am a worshiper at heart and in practice, I flag! Wow, this has really inspired me. It will be the first CD I’ve purchased in two years…… can’t wait!
Made the pre-order at Bandcamp the day before yesterday.
If the advance track ‘O My Soul Arise’ is any indication it’ll be a good ‘un.
Any chance the music scores for these will be ‘two pagers’ and not seven or nine? ;)
Gary, the piano scores won’t be immediately available, but we hope to get them posted within a month or so. We do two kinds. The first is a three staff score that follows the recording. We also do two staff scores that we try to limit to two pages. They don’t typically have the intros and outros and are basically for sitting at the piano and singing the song. Which is more beneficial to you? And I’m thinking you’ll say the second…
Just listened to “O My Soul, Arise” on the bandcamp page and I am SO SO SO SO SO glad you guys have been inspired by “Arise, My Soul, Arise”! That hymn has some of the most gut-hitting lyrics and I’m so glad it’s been updated and even more accessible! Verse 3 particularly brings me to my knees! Also, the Enfield guys have really shown their talent on that track (and I’m sure the rest of the album!)
Arise My Soul is an amazing arrangement that truly makes the lyrics sing. I have been waiting a long time for a good congregational melody for this powerful poem. If that track is any indication, the album will be powerful in its glory to God! I also like the “Yes” album cover:)
…and you’ll be thinking right.
Pragmatically, I feel so sorry for our pianists (who basically provide our musical lead) when they’ve got five or more pages sticky taped together spread right across the piano.
As a congregation who will have 60 to 90 people singing on any given Sunday I’m most inclined to gravitate toward material that can be used or adapted to use in simple intro, verses and choruses and finish. Instrumental interludes, even bridges, and variations from verse to verse are very tough for our musicians who would want to play as rehearsed, let alone a congregation who don’t want to be apprehensive about what’s coming next in the song.
I know you’re familiar with all of this dynamic and do want to affirm appreciation for whatever you can do to present your music for those whose preferences and competencies gravitate toward the simpler.
I’ll look for more of the two staff material.
Thanks for this song that so well embodies the things you Sovereign Gracers write and teach about. Highlights for me include the intro/interlude riff and the picturesque (“molecules and planets”) and multi-layered (“left the air of heaven to breathe the dust of earth”) text. Props for the recurring “secondary” rhymes/assonances in the verses (“time” and “design”, “earth” and “curse”). The common theme, rhythm, key, and tempo this song shares with “How Great is Our God” will make it easy to pair these two songs in a set. (Now we just need one about the Holy Spirit.)
Just curious — In the chorus, you hold onto the IV chord (C2?) from the end of line 2. What made you decide to do this instead of switching to a ii or vi on “unequaled” before resolving to the V at the end of line 4 (on “heights”)? Same on lines 6,7, and 8. (Okay, I’m a theory geek, but based on your contemporary worship piano videos posted a few months back, I’m guessing you might be one, too…)
Simon, I think this is the first time anyone has asked me such a specific theory question on this blog! It’s actually a IV/iii, or a 4 over 3, or a Cmaj7/E. On “unequaled” the bass moves down to the 4. I coudl have gone to the 2 minor, but just thought the 4 sounded a little more unexpected. From your question, I guess I was right.
Thanks for your specific encouragement about the song. Very meaningful.
So excited about this cd! I have been on the iTunes page listening to the small sample of All is Well. I am so excited about this cd. Can’t wait until April 10th. Hopefully I will see you at T4G too!
Bob, thank you so much for this song! I have worn this youtube video out the past few days. Any chance you guys would release the acoustic version as a free download?? I’ve been sharing this video with everybody I can and we’d love to be able to listen to it on the go.
Thank you so much for your ministry!
I’m on my first proper listen (in the car) of the album – this is the first song (specifically the chorus) that really jumped out and grabbed me. Great job – may well introduce this at Church.
Bob, fantastic song of praise to Christ! And the joy and celebration that comes out in the video is so fitting! One of my new favorites.
I would really like to teach this song to our community group, but I’m struggling with getting my tempo to match the singing. (I play the acoustic guitar.) Do you happen to know the strumming pattern used for it?
Thank you for all you do to build up and encourage the body of Christ!
Matt, being a pianist, no…but we hope to get some instructional videos out in the near future. For now, I’d just try to watch the hands of the guys in the video!
on the original studio version, who is playing the mandolin? I am trying to duplicate the sound, but can’t quite get it. I’m playing in G.. I can’t figure out what voicing he (or she) is using to form the chords when strumming…
Joshua, try Wil Pearce at firstname.lastname@example.org.