For the first 13 centuries no one had ever thought of setting up a crèche to celebrate the birth of Christ, but it only took days for Christians to be celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is not to say that Christmas is not important. Rather what is most distinctive about Christianity is that we have a God who has died and rose again. We are essentially Easter people and the singing of the Risen Christ is our anthem. Integrity Music has once again serviced us with music that will equip us for such singing this coming Easter with their brand new compilation "Ultimate Easter Worship Collection." Gathering worship songs that are both familiar and relatively newer, this collection boasts a billing of some of the best names in worship music including Darlene Zschech, Paul Baloche, New Life Worship, Lincoln Brewster, Matt Redman, Tim Hughes, All Sons and Daughters as well as Delirious?. Yet, it is the theme of the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ that holds these worship songs together.
The victory of Christ over death is at the cynosure of quite a number of songs. And just like a prism with lots of reflective angles, we get to celebrate such a lofty theme from its various vantage points. New Life Worship on the "Overcome" takes the stance of that of the Apostle John from the Apocalypse. Just as in Revelation chapters 4 and 5, we are gloriously ushered into heaven's throne room to worship with all of God's heavenly beings the victory of the Lamb. Hillsong's Darlene Zschech in her single "Victor's Crown" takes on a similar trajectory with a slightly nuanced perspective of how we should then respond to such a Risen Christ. When Zschech sings on this her co-write with Kari Jobe and Israel Houghton that "every high thing must come down" we are can't help but sing in agreement with her. Indeed, in the presence of the exalted King, pride, every idol has no place but to be toppled.
Offering more pensive reflections on Christ's death and sacrifice is Matt Redman's "Once Again." Despite its dated (and somehow irritating) drum work, "Once Again" is still one of the most best palpable expositions of our need of Christ's forgiveness. Weaving in the old hymns together with newly written worship music is All Sons and Daughters' "You Are Holy/Nothing But the Blood" and Lincoln Brewster's "More than Amazing." Of note especially is Brewster's "More than Amazing:" this is one of the instances where the song's titular is not hyperbolic. The stately piano riffs, Brewster's warm glowing tenor and the song's moving lyrics truly bring out that amazing graciousness of Christ's sacrifice. The currently dysfunctional Delirious(?)' "Majesty" is an oldie but still a goodie; it has the type of melody that will get us humming along in worship all day.
Unlike many worship compilations where you are unfamiliar with 90% of the songs, here Integrity Music are wizened enough to mix in the overtly familiar such as Tim Hughes "Happy Day" with more newer entries such as last year's Glenn Packiam's "Mystery of Faith." Thus, "Ultimate Easter Collection" is one of those records that will get you singing along in no time. However, it will also provide you opportunities to pause, listen and be refreshed by the message of Easter honed by some of the latest and best worship leaders.