The Power of Music

Rachel Kent

Blogger: Rachel Kent

As we celebrate and remember what Jesus did for us today and throughout the weekend, I find myself looking forward to singing my favorite songs of Good Friday and Easter. Lyrics are an extremely powerful version of writing. Like poetry, they can touch us differently at different times in our lives and the meaning we get from a song is so personal.

During the early part of our dating relationship, my husband and I would send song lyrics back and forth and discuss what they meant to each of us. (Odd? Perhaps.) This was an amazing way to get to know each other because it forced us to share feelings and events that had influenced us in our lives and were coloring our interpretations of different songs. Being an English major, I was always over-analyzing  every word in each song and I’d find meanings in lyrics that were probably not even intended by the song writer. My husband was more focused on the feelings the words evoked.

My favorite Good Friday song that we’ll sing tonight during the Tenebrae service is When I Survey the Wondrous Cross by Isaac Watts (1707). That song always gets me crying. I can see Jesus taking on the cross for me as we sing it. I also love the Chris Tomlin version, The Wonderful Cross.

My favorite Easter morning song is Christ the Lord is Risen Today (Charles Wesley, 1739). Our Easter service often starts with this one and with the guitars and drums updating the song it sets a wonderful, joyous mood for the day of celebration.

Have you ever written song lyrics or poetry? How does that writing process differ from writing novels or nonfiction projects?

What are your favorite Holy Week songs?

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19 Comments

  • Up from the Grave He Arose!

  • COLUMBA KNOX says:

    Howdy, Ma’aM,

    COUNTRIEGIRL

    “Uplifting her dress she is running the creek
    Without a doubt, in her bare feet
    Up she jumps ; she has landed on a swing
    Backwards and forwards, look at her go
    A most beauteous ebb and flow
    This is taking place under a twilight sun
    COUNTRIEGIRL — she gottah have her fuuuuuuuun”

    COUNTRIEGIRL and the following were written
    by this Highlander,

    O, WONDROUS BONNIE LASSIE

    “O, wondrous bonnie lassie
    So bonnie and true
    Fought and died for
    I have so much loved you

    King and Saviour Christ Jesus
    Countrie, too
    Fought and died for
    O, Southland so true”

    Writers’ journals should have a lot of acrostic poems………

    BEETHOVEN —
    “From my heart to their hearts”

    Sincerely, Indeed,
    COLUMBA KNOX

  • Rachel, Good Friday! “Good” never quite seems like the right adjective. But I’m reminded how God viewed Creation … and it was good. What we might call … amazing, unbelievable …. What a plan! It’s good to imagine what awaits our future!

    I’ve only written two handfuls of songs and poems. The writing process didn’t differ that much for me … just less completion time. And I continually worked until it was finished.

    I, too, love The Wonderful Cross.

  • Jim Lupis says:

    “How Great Thou Art” is one of my favorites. The power of music is clearly seen in worship, as our souls are stirred by lifting up the wonderful name of Jesus, our Lord and Savior. Rachel, have a blessed Great Friday and Resurrection Sunday! And may everyone on the B&S blog experience the wonderful presence of God this weekend and always!

  • Jill Kemerer says:

    Smiling at you analyzing lyrics! I do that sometimes too! My favorite Easter song is “I Know that My Redeemer Lives.” Makes me cry every time! Happy Easter!

  • A pastor from my childhood had the congregation sing a Christmas carol at Easter and an Easter song at Christmas. Without Easter, he said, Christmas is just another baby; without Christmas, Easter is just another man dying for his cause. I like to hear Angels We Have Heard on High followed by Christ the Lord is Risen Today. Let GLORY ALLELUIA fill the air!

  • Angela Mills says:

    How Great Thou Art!

    I have written poetry, and it seems to happen spontaneously when I am very sad. I’m sure it’s awful and it’s always just between me and God. My daughters both write songs and I am in awe of how they convey so much in so few words. Writing lyrics and poetry would probably be a good practice for us novelists that need to tighten up our words.

  • Michelle Ule Michelle Ule says:

    Having already rehearsed for tonight’s Tenebrae, I can tell you we’ll close with a quiet version of Melody Green’s There is a Redeemer.

    Lovely.

    For an explanation of the Tenebrae service, you can see my blog post describing it: http://michelleule.com/2012/04/06/the-passion-of-the-tenebrae-service/

  • Kristen Joy Wilks says:

    My Savior Lives
    I think it is by Aaron Schust.
    So amazing…unlike my attempts to write Jazz songs about the book of Jonah. So very sad.

  • I adore both of those hymns as well, Rachel. But we don’t usually sing Christ The Lord Is Risen Today, perhaps because our song leader thinks the alleluia is too difficult for the congregation? :) We hear it on the piano which is terrific as well. Have a wonderfully blessed Resurrection Sunday!

  • What a lovely way to get to know each other. I’ve only started writing lyrics once. I haven’t touched poetry in years, though I still think about trying both again from time to time.

    Lord Let Me Walk is one of my favorites for Holy Week. Lyrics can be found at http://www.alwaysbelieveblog.com/2013/03/29/lord-let-me-walk/comment-page-1/

  • Christ The Lord Is Risen Today is one of my all time favourites, and sung ridiculously high, like, “go ahead and pass out now” high. I also love Sandi Patty’s Was It A Morning Like This.

  • It’s amazing to me how lyrics that were written hundreds, even over a thousand years ago, still touch our lives when they’re sung today. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our words could do that?

  • I’m not much of a music person, I’m afraid, though I do tend to make up new lyrics to some secular Christmas songs.

    As an Easter song, I like U2′s “Stuck In A Moment”. Don’t know why – maybe it reminds me of how the Apostles must have felt between Good Friday and the Easter Rising.

    Poetry? I’ve only ever written three – count ‘em – poems. The process is cathartic, and much tougher than prose.

    Here’s one. Not very seasonal, I’m afraid. Or maybe, in a way it is.

    “The Long Journey – 1970″

    Sean was shot after his evening meal
    And saintly Patrick’s a fortnight gone.
    Shelaigh’s long cold – boyo, this is real
    And forever. Oh, so long!

    I lived abroad with my enemy’s friend
    And fought their bloody war,
    But it’s no good to play at Yankee-pretend
    When the wolf’s at my father’s door.

    I learned the arts I’ll never tell
    To those of gentle years,
    Of how to turn fair swale and dell
    Into a vale of tears.

    They say that dialogue is best
    For solving all our ills
    For some things, true, but for the rest
    I’ve come home with all my skills.

  • Judith Robl says:

    For Tenebrae there is nothing like “Here Yet a While” from Bach’s “Passion According to Saint Matthew.” It always raises gooseflesh and brings tears.

    And Easter morning isn’t complete without “I Know that My Redeemer Liveth” from Handel’s “Messiah.” It also raises gooseflesh and brings tears.

  • Shauna says:

    I am so bummed I didn’t check in on Friday. So bummed in fact, that I’m still going to leave my favorite even though the day and time for commenting has passed.

    My sister and I used to lay on the floor with ears pressed to my parents’ huge stereo speakers and sing along with Don Fransisco “He’s Alive!”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EO-7gehGYII

  • Ashley says:

    My church in San Francisco, City Church, has a wonderful lead musician who wrote this song for Easter. It is called, “Love Divine, Victorious.” It is beautiful both in musicality and in its lyrics. You can watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Ms_iGW5tBY.

    Enjoy!

  • Rachel Kent Rachel Kent says:

    Thank you for the comments, everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful Easter weekend.

    Mine was very nice, though I did end up with a cold. Last time I got sick was on Christmas. I’m not sure why I only get sick on the major holidays.

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