Friday, April 1, 2011

A movement of Reformed music

I have written in the past about being a part of the Jesus Movement in the seventies and early eighties. That was a time when many hippies came to know Jesus Christ as Savior. My memories of those days are of friends who God called out of many horrendous life styles. I can think back now about wiccans, new agers, prostitutes and drug dealers who were grabbed by Jesus. And yes there were some whose lives seemed to be what others saw as ideal and even righteous. They like Nicodemus of old also found new life in Jesus Christ.

I have placed music videos from that time on my blog and it is fun to share them. Not only did they create Christian folk and rock, they were the first to begin singing praise songs in church. And at first many of those praise songs were filled with scripture.

But not many years ago, on the web, I began noticing young music groups forming who were singing the old hymns, which I love, but with different tunes. They were also creating a new kind of Christian music, and most of it was very reformed in its theology. The first group I discovered was Red Mountain Music. And they have one particular CD that is exclusively concerned with older hymns with new music, The Gadsby Project.

There are other groups; Indelible Grace is one of my favorites. In a section on their site they explain why they rewrite music and also their desire to reintroduce old hymns that have been forgotten. I was struck by this particular bit of information:

Many wonderful hymns have unfortunately fallen out of use and part of our love is searching old hymnals for hymns and hymnwriters that have been forgotten. How many today have heard of Anne Steele? She was the first female hymnwriter, the first to write hymns of lament without happy endings, and the first to meditate on the inadequacy of human language to express our love to God. Her hymns are incredibly relevant to what we often consider very modern issues and yet most hymnals include almost nothing by her. But when students read her words, now set to music that connects to them, they are blown away. They are able to have the incredible experience of communing spiritually with a saint who lived and suffered 300 years ago in a little town in the English countryside. All of the sudden, the kingdom of God grows bigger for them. They see that the Body of Christ is huge! We hope that you too can experience the "mystic sweet communion" with those who have gone before us.

The Lord is always working in his people. Here are a few examples of the music.

That is a very old hymn. Now here is a new and creative, but faithful piece by Sandra McCracken:

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