Some people have stereotypically "pegged" Gospel or inspirational music in the past as boring, to-be-expected, and as far removed from what you actually feel or need spiritually deep inside.
Over the years, however, inspirational music has seen a revolution. It is peculiar and honest and sometimes, a little bit too close to home when both lyrics and melody convey what they can't say. This leads to a better appreciation of inspirational music's new vibe and message; God is always with us and is willing to listen no matter how complex our day-to-day life situations might be.
Add these tracks to your Holy Week playlist and as you get ready to journey inward, you just might need the process of reflection. We've also mentioned what situations their messages seems to suit best.
1. "Out of Hiding" by Bethel Music's Steffany Gretzinger. If you've hit rock-bottom, had something you thought was coming together fall apart, or are stuck in one of those painful situations where even looking at your social feed is too scary to consider, this song talks about how God the Father makes it safe for His children if they believe in His love. It also reminds us of how a story that falls apart is only a big piece of a bigger story that is coming together.
2. "Say Yes" by Michelle Williams, with Beyonce and Kelly Rowlands (formerly Destiny's Child) Destiny's Child survivors are back and they banded together in 2014 with Michelle for the inspirational, upbeat track "Say Yes". With the fast-paced beat that reminds us of Africa and a vibe of joyful hope that's hard to match, watching Queen B jam again with her former girl-gang can't help but put smiles on our faces.
3. "You Will Remain" by All Sons and Daughters. This is a track that reminds us of the opposite of a Monday morning, hence we play it on Monday mornings. The beat and the melody are brightly woven together into a song about God's unchanging love and heart. In a world where everything changes we need Someone who will not change and will not leave, and that's what the song is about.
4. "Clear the Stage" by Jimmy Needham. We all prioritize different things in our lives and faith, a lot of the time, gets pushed to the side. A lot of the time we approach God with what we need rather than take the time to listen. Jimmy Needham's lyric video for "Clear the Stage," which has now reached over a million views, addresses the key issue of taking down things in our lives that do not need to be at the top. It also points out that worship is not just about the songs we sing or the homilies or sermons we hear.
5. "Man of Sorrows" Hillsong United. This song is about how Jesus endured personal sorrows in spite of the love and power He shared with other people. It also talks about His Cross and His journey towards it out of love.
6. "Invisible" Bethel Music, sung by Leeland. It's what we all believe about God. We can't see Him. He seems invisible. How is he supposed to be real? There's more to God than meets the eye. And, if we truly want to look for Him, we can see Him as we reflect on our lives more closely.
7. "Your Glory/Nothing But the Blood" Medley (Live) by All Sons & Daughters. As it starts up slowly and gradually builds up, this beautiful acoustic-folk medley speaks of how God wants what's best for us no matter how badly we've messed up.
8. "Oceans" acoustic performance at RELEVANT. The original audio track by Hillsong United emerged as one of the most popular worship songs in Hillsong history. This acoustic version is mellower than the original and is something nice to listen to by a bonfire near the ocean waves under a starry sky.
9. "Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)" sung by Chris Tomlin. We couldn't help but throw in one traditional church song that a lot of people love. The song "Amazing Grace" has been sung countless times, but in this version, it has been adapted to include the refrain "My chains are gone, I've been set free, my God, my Savior has ransomed me..." which is a moving added touch to the hymn. The song was composed during the war against slavery in Britain. It was the theme song for the 2006 film, Amazing Grace, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Ioan Gruffudd.
10. "Stars" The Shack soundtrack, sung by Skillet. As part of the recent movie, The Shack, which stars Sam Worthington as a heartbroken father, the song tells of the certainty of Someone Who holds the stars in place and our hearts, as well. The sweet rendition of the song is edited together with scenes from the movie and is a stirring performance that will take your heart places.
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Photo: Screencap from "Say Yes" on YouTube.com