This week’s song (a day late) is: Come People of the Risen King. The words and music by Keith and Kristyn Getty and Stuart Townend. Townend is prolific and very good. His lyrics include ‘How Deep The Father’s Love For Us’ and ‘In Christ Alone’. He is a composer in his own right. It has been interesting to see the growing complexity of his lyrics over the last ten to fifteen years. This has also been accompanied by a breadth of subject matter that he addresses in song.
The more hymn like structure of many of his recent songs and collaborations assists this development. Rather than repetition, these songs use progression to give expression to their praise. Some modern songs seem to be a collection of attractive phrases fused together. In contrast, I believe this is why Townend’s latter output is so satisfying to sing. These songs say something about God’s grace and mercy, and express responses of gratitude and consecration.
I used to wonder about the prolific output of modern song writers. That was before I learned of the tremendous output of the hymn writers of past ages, such as Watts, Wesley and Newton. They produced much, but only their best has continued in widespread use today. The same will be true of much contemporary church music.
Perhaps even moreso, given how many modern church music writers have tied their lyrics to melodies are so reflective of the time in which they were written. Rather than timeless expressions of faith, they seemed to have consciously composed as an expression of the present. Songs from the 70s and 80s can sound very dated today while even the contemporary focused parts of the church are rediscovering hymns. Even though it is far from the best of their output, one can imagine Come people of the Risen King being sung fifty or a hundred years from now. You could imagine it having been sung decades ago in the past. It is these sort of songs that help us appreciate our historic ties with the family of God.
Anyway, I digress…
At mgpc this Sunday night we’ll be learning Come, people of the Risen King, a strong song to begin a time of Christian fellowship.
The lyrics (sheet music can be purchased online here.)
Come, people of the Risen King,
Who delight to bring Him praise;
Come all and tune your hearts to sing
To the Morning Star of grace.
From the shifting shadows of the earth
We will lift our eyes to Him,
Where steady arms of mercy reach
To gather children in.
Rejoice, Rejoice! Let every tongue rejoice!
One heart, one voice; O Church of Christ, rejoice!
Come, those whose joy is morning sun,
And those weeping through the night;
Come, those who tell of battles won,
And those struggling in the fight.
For His perfect love will never change,
And His mercies never cease,
But follow us through all our days
With the certain hope of peace. REFRAIN.
Come, young and old from every land –
Men and women of the faith;
Come, those with full or empty hands –
Find the riches of His grace.
Over all the world, His people sing –
Shore to shore we hear them call
The Truth that cries through every age:
“Our God is all in all”! REFRAIN
Words and Music by Keith and Kristyn Getty and Stuart Townend
Copyright © 2008 Thankyou Music/ Copyright Control
The lyrics invite us all, young and old, male and female, from all nations, to ‘Rejoice’, while acknowledging that our individual circumstances vary greatly. The reason why we can all join together and rejoice is because our praise is directed toward our ever faithful and merciful God and made possible by Christ our Saviour.
Here is a youtube recording of Kristyn and Keith Getty leading the song at the Shadow Mountain Church in San Diego.