The challenging process of combining discipline, diligence, and listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit has always been a joy to me. In my earlier years it was incumbent upon me to compose numerous topical Bible studies for small groups. This I did at least weekly for a number of years along with other elders and brothers.
Another joy has been playing and singing Christian music in worship.
Recently bringing these two together has been a wonderfully sweet experience for me.
This year’s compositions have enabled me to explore three elements.
The first song this year, TEMPLE, is a very simple and repetitive worship song set in a minor key with a relatively slow progression to communicate something of the majesty of the Lord God, entering His temple (the believer) and seating Himself upon His throne. It is of, course, based primarily upon Habakkuk 2:20 and several other Biblical passages. God spoke to my heart about reverence in entering His presence and the song developed from there. It was the first song I have played in public and therefore I composed it for the simplicity of repetitive verses designed for corporate worship.
Another recent song, THROWN DOWN is completely from Revelation 12:11-12. God spoke to me for the most recent of many times about the future downfall of His enemy (which is described in the past tense like many prophecies). One of the senior pastors in Christ Community was teaching on the passage. It was impressed upon me that there are three reasons the saints overcame: (1) the blood of the Lamb, (2) the word of their testimony, and (3) they [the saints] did not love their lives unto death. This final reason is often omitted in songs when this verse is set to music, but it is essential to the message. The result was the song THROWN DOWN. The song is completed, but I have not played it openly yet.
Because the subject matter for THROWN DOWN is a bit heavy, the time is relatively fast and the lyrics and chords give the song a light, carefully celebratory (but not arrogant) feel. In addition, because of the somewhat Spanish sound, I composed the middle verse in Spanish. It is essentially a short, light song reciting Revelation 12:10-12—rejoicing in the fall of the accuser and our freedom from guilt and accusation.
The third most recent song is based upon Philippians 2:5-8, Colossians 2:9, Micah 5:2, and Luke 2:7. By late summer, I felt a longing to write a song for the advent season touching on many of the points in scripture that I hoped to set to music. BEGOTTEN was the result. It is set in a minor key, which I believe the weight of the verses require. The juxtaposition of the world’s poor valuation of the child, Jesus and the divine decision to leave His throne – (1) birthed in a (doubtlessly) filthy animal food reservoir in a barn (2) being the most important individual who ever was or ever will be born on this planet. Philippians 2: He did not grasp to retain His divine equality nor cease to bear the fulness of deity in bodily form. This, for me, has always been the essential Christmas story, which reduces me to prostration when considered.
I composed this song with care, love, and (hopefully) the heart of God over a period of weeks to months. The importance of rightly handling the divinity of Christ took a great deal of time. And I felt from God that this work should be completed in the form of a poem before being set to music. Once completed, I felt an almost Yiddish sounding key was appropriate for the verses to emphasize the rejection and suffering of Jesus, which we will never be able to fathom.
But the song was at once about the most unfair event ever having occurred on this earth—combined with the most wonderful result imaginable. Therefore, there had to be a point when the celebration of redemption was introduced.
The chorus was chosen to change from the A minor key to the A major key, thus ringing in the joy of the birth of the long-awaited Messiah with happiness and worship.
The song is very intense in the three verses, and more lightly joyous in the three choruses (which I am hoping Julie will help me arrange correctly).
Composing has become a source of happiness to me at this point in my life, although I never know if the results are worth hearing by others. Nevertheless, I have His approval to play them to Him in my basement, which in the final analysis is the only and best appreciation needed.
A few of us recently gathered for an impromptu recording session for Begotten:
Deity incarnate, in cluttered rags was lain
Eternal God in morphe yet in squalor night and day
Shielded in a feeding trough, on earth He yet remained
Equal in the Godhead, begotten, emptied to be man
You, O Bethlehem, the least of Judah’s cities then
One came to you, the Prince of Peace, the faultless Son of Man
Hidden from men His perfect holiness our sin obscured
Life and death and judgement and the wrath of God endured
Messiah is born
Glory to God in the highest
Begotten not formed
Immanuel, Redeemer, the mourning earth was blessed
Despised and rejected, we hid our fallen eyes from Him
From manger to the grave, we never saw He took our sin
In the agony of prayer, He never ceases to intercede
Unflinching from the sentence, it was for us the blow received
©2017 Drew Hendrick