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Thursday, July 4, 2013

"This is Our Love"

TITLE: This is Our Love (with contributions from 16 recording artists)
AUTHOR: Jody Cross and others
PUBLISHER: Mississauga, ON: World Vision Canada, 2012 (160 pages / 16 songs CD).

This devotional cum CD is a series of reflections surrounding the heart of God for the world. Through worship we embrace the love of God. The outflow of worship leads us to engage with the needy all over the world. Worship is not simply music and words in song. Worship is about the heart of God, that as we lift up the Name of Jesus, we live out the love of God through to the rest of our communities near and far. Jody Cross says: "Worship is a lifestyle involving all we are and all we do, all the time."

Indeed. Out of 33 songs from gifted musicians and worship leaders throughout Canada, and with 35 members of a song selection committee drawn from BC to New Brunswick, Alberta to Ontario, and various churches and Christian organizations, 16 songs are chosen to make this collection both devotional as well as worshipful.  Jody Cross's moving "This is Our Love" kicks off the remembrance of God's great love for us, and how the grasp of God's link is intricately linked to the needs of this world. I appreciate the words of Carolyn Arends's song, "Something to Give," which is a rousing wake up call for a typical Church that is sleepy to the needs around the community or the world. I like the chorus that chimes on and on:

"There's nothing so rude
As a gift you don't use

On a life that you choose not to live
Cause you're blessed to bless
And the best of possessions is
Having something to give."

The group Downhere's "Break My Heart" is a cry to God to break the things that break God's heart. Boldly, the song leads worshipers to seek to see the world from God's perspective. In the same light, Andy Park's "Revive Us Again" is a call for zeal and renewed passion for evangelism.  Jacob Moon's "Children of the World" is a prayer for the children living under the poverty line, the abused, and the enslaved. It pleads with God to give us a compassion that is fully in line with what it means to be human and to care for the young and weak. Brad Guldemond's "Real Life Offering" is more than just a song. It is to be reminded that we who are healed from our brokenness, needs to go beyond our infatuation with our own healing, toward being channels of healing to touch the rest of the world. Toward the end, the final three songs represent a send-me- out-Lord cry of hope. It reminds me that worship is not something to be locked in between God and us. Worship is in catching a larger vision of God, that we become worshipers inside, to live a life of worship outside. Dan Schutte and Chris Bray render "Here I Am Lord" with a growing awareness of an awakened heart. Steve Bell's performance of "Kindness" is a reflection on Teresa of Avila's "Christ Has No Body." The words of the song remind us one more time that to be a Christian is not about arguing or talking about the truth. It is living it, and kindness is a powerful manifestation of God's love. Steve Mitchinson's "Answer the Call" is a no holds barred determination not to let the worshiping become an end in itself. For at the end of worship, there is the beginning of living a life of worship.

So What?

I love this CD and cannot help but play it over and over again. There is something about the music that is pulsating with passion and conviction. The first song leads the way to show listeners what the album and book is all about. It brings to life the powerful use of music to stir the people of God to action. The motivation is not one out of pity or guilt. Neither is it out of obligation or strict observance of a religious law. Instead, whatever we do, we do out of our love for God. Whatever we say or sing, we say or sing out of our devotion to Jesus. Whatever we do or not do, we lift the Name of Jesus up high , and engage the world at every opportunity. For that glorifies God.

I find this an amazing set of songs that powerfully bridge the love of God and the needs of the world, with us as an active participant. You may be asking. How is it possible for a book, let alone a music CD help us to do that? My response will be three ways. First, the words and music plant a seed of love in our hearts. This seed is to be cultivated in the worship of God, letting God do the tender care for us and to draw us close to his heart. Second, as we listen to God's heartbeat of love, we let our hearts slowly resonate with his love for the rest of the world. We begin to see that life is more than our measly individualistic world. We see that God's vision is much bigger. Third, we will feel compelled to do something about it all. There is no point in singing beautiful songs without much action after that. We love because we are first loved by God. Our response to God's love is to share God's love far and wide.

Great resource for worship leaders!

Other Resources You Can Check Out.
  • Chords and lyrics can be found here
  • You can purchase the book and CD package here
  • You can also check out the Youtube videos individually, but if you want to support the Christian music industry, especially Canadian ones, go to the website here and make a purchase at World Vision Canada.

Rating: 5 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me free by World Vision Canada and Graf-Martin Communications without any obligation for a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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