The joy of the Lord is indeed my strength!! + Rend Collective’s latest album
It’s funny how sometimes an album/cd or song can hang around in your iTunes or near your cd player for sometime and get hardly any plays, and then suddenly one day you put it on and the penny drops and it starts to make perfect sense to you and you wonder why it didn’t before and you can’t stop playing it… and… and… :-)
Well, that’s happened to me today with Rend Collective’s most recent album, “As Family We Go”, which was released just over 6 months ago. I am a massive fan of this group and use many of their songs in our school worship band and as form period resources, as well as in my own personal prayer. Somehow this most recent album didn’t click with me when I first heard it. None of the tracks made it onto my “Best Bitz 2015 Megmixtape” (an annual thing of mine!). Not because it was bad in any way, I just think now that I had to be ready for it, and I wasn’t.
And then this morning I was looking for fresh Eastertide-themed musical resources to send form teachers in my work as a school Chaplain and I stumbled upon “Joy Of The Lord” from “As Family We Go” on YouTube… and the penny dropped. Rend Collective seem to specialise in Eastertide-themed songs. Just look at their previous album “The Art Of Celebration”. But the joy they sing of is not a superficial happy-clappy kind of joy. It is joy that is hard won, a joy that endures in the midst of suffering, the joy of which Matt Redman wrote about so well in “Blessed Be Your Name”...
“When the darkness closes in Lord, still I will say,
Blessed Be The Name Of The Lord!!"
It’s the joy of someone who whilst acknowledging the darkness in our world around us (terrorism, war, the refugee crisis, personal suffering…) actively chooses to look at, to look into the light, to lift ones eyes up to the heavens and sing “THE JOY OF THE LORD IS MY STRENGTH!!!” and in so doing finds that the clouds lift, perhaps with the cleansing rain of tears, the soul’s burdens fade away and a smile returns, safe in the knowledge that the Lord loves me more than I could ever imagine and that if I but trust in him then all will indeed be well.
I think I (and others) need help in doing this right now and I have a gut feeling that this album will do just that. I’m now really looking forward to getting to know it better.
A great live version: