by Rick Pidcock
One of my goals for this year as a corporate worship leader is to explore the elements of excellent worship music. Even though our worship music is acceptable to God based on the perfecting work of Christ rather than on the quality of our gift, it is still important for us to reflect the infinitely excellent character of God by studying and playing worship music that is excellent as well.
One CD that I believe we can look to as a good example of this is David Crowder’s “A Collision.” The theme of the CD is, “When our depravity meets His divinity, it’s a beautiful collision.” David Crowder explores this theme by dividing the CD into four main sections–all of which further our appreciation for the gospel that gives us life.
The first main section begins with a short quote from an old gospel song which says, “Everybody wants to go to heaven. But nobody wants to die.” This statement sets the tension for the rest of the CD–a tension of life and death. The next song, “Come and Listen,” is a beautiful call to worship played mostly by a piano that calls us to sit and listen to all that God has done for us. “Here Is Our King” plays off of the imagery of our King saving us from the ocean of our sin. “Wholly Yours” contains an interesting play on words in which we find that in order to be “holy,” we have to be “wholly Yours.” Then the first main section closes with “Foreverandever, etc.”, in which we are reminded that we are God’s forever.
The second main section begins with a short instrumental song entitled “A Quiet Interlude.” The CD contains a number of these shorter songs as an attempt to carry the listener along on the journey musically. The question here is asked, “O God, where are You now?” This question is then explored with “Soon I Will Be Done With The Troubles Of The World,” “Be Lifted, Our Hope Is Rising,” “Lift Up Your Head,” and “I Saw the Light.” This section then ends once again with the question of where is God.
The third main section begins with the song “Do Not Move,” in which we are reminded of a number of paradoxes of the cross. Then, in perhaps one of my favorite songs on the CD, “Come Awake” calls us who were dead to become alive so that one day in death we can experience the hope of the resurrection. The song begins with the sound of a heart monitor that flattens out. Then later in the song, as David begins calmly singing “arise,” you can hear a clock ticking. And as the song climaxes, the sound of an alarm clock rings in the background creating an imagery of waking up to the life that we have been given. The theme continues then with “You Are My Joy” in which David uses some great chord transitions that help to reinforce the idea that the God that gave us this life is our joy.
The final main section of the CD begins with the proclamation, “We’ve already won!” And yet, it also reminds us that “Rescue is coming.” In other words, life is not always going to be wonderful. Even though we have been given the victory in Christ, the rescue is still incomplete in our experience of it. What a great “already, but not yet” illustration of the gospel!
I must admit that the final two tracks of the CD had me confused for a while. But they actually tie in quite nicely with some of the conversations that we have been having here lately. “A Conversation” is simply a humorous interview with David in which the interviewer doesn’t have much of a clue who the David Crowder Band is. And this interview leads into the final song entitled “The Lark Ascending.” David reads a poem in which a Lark ascending “lifts us up with him as he goes.”
A few parallels can be drawn from this. One possibility is that Christ lifts us up with Him into heaven. This idea plays on the theme of life, death, and resurrection that permeates the CD. Another possibility lies in the art of it all. Just as a lark lifts the person in the poem up with him, art can lift us up as well. Just as God lifts us up in Christ, He has given us the gift of art that can be used to encourage and lift one another up as it is explored through the depths of a Christ-centered understanding of it.
“A Collision” is a great example of a CD with God-centered, gospel-driven lyric with music that explores the complexities and tensions of the various themes of grace. You can purchase the CD online as well as listen to some free samples of each song.