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Respected modern singer/songwriters and hymn composers Keith and Kristyn Getty have released another fine album of serious contemporary music in their characteristic Celtic style (along with some bluegrass tunes) for the church. It’s called “Hymns for the Christian Life,” and it deals with many different facets of life with Christ, including such themes as work, family, money, community and social action, in addition to songs covering traditional worship themes.
Best known for their modern hymn, “In Christ Alone,” which Keith penned with Stuart Townend, the Getty’s new album features a special 10th anniversary recording of this song, with Alison Krauss on vocals.
Here is the track list:
- Christ Is Risen, He Is Risen Indeed
- Oh, How Good It Is
- A Mother’s Prayer (featuring Moya Brennan)
- Simple Living (A Rich Young Man) (featuring Ricky Skaggs)
- Before You I Kneel (A Worker’s Prayer)
- The Village Reel
- The Perfect Wisdom of Our God
- Kyrie Eleison
- My Heart Is Filled with Thankfulness
- In Christ Alone (featuring Alison Krauss)
- Nothing but the Blood
- Holy Spirit (with Gabriel’s Oboe)
Back in 2010, when Keith Getty led a workshop at the National Worship Leader’s Conference, David Neff edited and distilled ten thought-provoking ideas from Getty’s workshop comments on the craft of writing and leading music for worship:
- The primary form we use is the story form.
- It is important to look at things that are harrowing and that don’t necessarily make us feel happy.
- We need lament. But if you want to write lament, remember that a successful lament resolves into acknowledging that God is God.
- To write strong melodies remember that folk melody has to be passed on orally (aurally).
- Use pastors and theologians as resources for your writing, keeping company with them.
- Trinitarian worship safeguards us from so many problems our worship can get into: either an overly stern view of God or a casual view of God.
- Martin Luther is one of ten people from history I would want to have coffee with. I have looked at a lot of Luther’s hymns and emulated him. First, Luther had a high view of redemption. He also believed we live our lives in the midst of spiritual warfare. Thirdly, he had a high view of the church and a high vision of the church.
- The congregation is the choir and it is merely the privilege of those of us who are musically gifted to help them sing.
- Lyrics and great writing are the same thing. Lyricism is poetry.
- Everything I write can be sung by a congregation.
These are solid observations that are reflected on “Hymns for the Christian Life,” and which show why the Gettys’ music has such depth and usefulness for the church.
I highly recommend this new effort.
Here’s a wonderful song from the album, “Before You I Kneel (A Worker’s Prayer),” which quotes Bach’s Wauchet Auf, and which speaks of a subject dear to my heart — the doctrine of vocation.