Reviewing "Praise is Rising" - Live Worship from Together on a Mission 2006!
It is rare that I disagree with my friend Luke Wood on anything - we are astoundingly alike in lots of areas! 99% of his posts I read, I find myself nodding in agreement, yet my review of the live worship album from Brighton must differ from his just slightly! He said that none of the songs struck him as particularly incredible. However the song he mentioned as his favourite - "Yours is the Kingdom" - made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Indeed the wonderful Kate Simmonds cry at the start set the tone; "Let's give glory to God this morning; all the glory is His!" but to me the theology in the song summed up the conference perfectly. And what a life-changing world perspective to carry through your week!
I am going to follow the style adopted by Scott in his excellent review of Lou Fellingham's debut album and comment on a few of the songs that struck me and then sum up the album for me.
Praise Is Rising - It is fitting that the title track should open the album. The atmosphere is tangible as you hear voices crying out then the music fades in. The song begins a familiar theme that occurs in many of the songs on the album - "We find strength". This is not a light, fluffy album of celebration but rather a triumphant shout of the people of God knowing that He is God through suffering.
Never Let Go - I admit this song didn't grab me as we were being taught it, but it very quickly won me over with again it's faith-filled words of the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints. The mission that we are on isn't easy but it is so worthwhile!
Sing To The Lord - I wish that there were more of Lou Fellingham's songs here and sang at Brighton but this is the representative. It is great that she lead it on the album. It can't fail to stir your spirit and lift your heart to God even if you don't feel like it!
We Come To Praise You - Finally! Kate Simmonds is the lead vocals. This is my only complaint with the album that there is not more of her. I know that this is due to a problem with her voice (we saw Terry Virgo praying for her at CCK the Sunday before the conference) but my only complaint is that the album misses her passion, zeal and fervour.
You Reign Supreme - A Kingdom statement that Ern Baxter would have loved. He is sovereign!
Yours Is The Kingdom - This for me was the song of the conference and of the album. It opens with a call to worship from Kate Simmonds and is fast paced and thrilling. It will stir your heart with the truth of our mission. The earth lies in wait to be taken by the people of God - yet the job is already done for He has gone before us! All we have to do is go into the land and take it! It will be quite some time before I tire of blasting this out in my car or in my home!
Party Song - A surprising but welcome familiar to the album. The Prayer Meeting Night saw me really "get" the international feel to the conference and begin to enjoy it and appreciate it and there are places during the song where Evan Rodgers makes it clear that we are an international family on a mission.
I have found that each Brighton conference I attend is like scaling a mountain peak. Each time I climb slightly higher and find that I can see slightly further, experience slightly more and learn new things. I spent quite some time discussing "Praise is Rising" with Scott and we both agreed that it is an excellent mark of how the conference itself felt slightly more "serious and business-like". That isn't to say we didn't celebrate - and how! But the theme, "Together on a Mission" said it all. Yes we will go partying, but we are going. There is a great work to be done and the time for dancing in circles and waving streamers may be over. This isn't an "easy listening" album for a quiet Sunday afternoon! This is a stirring, dynamic album that is for a hard Monday morning when you are wondering what it is all about. This album will remind you - Yours is the Kingdom! And He is so so worthy of all our praise!
It is a must-have! Go buy it!