Sunday, April 01, 2012
The album begins with two upbeat numbers. 'This is the Day' begins with these words of testimony: "I'm not the same/I have been changed/By the power of Christ/The truth in my life/I can't explain/This difference He's made/Old things have gone, something new has begun/This is the day of my salvation/I will rejoice with a song of praise." 'Friend of Sinners', co-written with Brenton Brown, emphasizes the social gospel: "So give us hearts that help the widow/Give us hands that feed the poor/Give us words that bring Your healing/To this hurt and broken world." 'You are Love' is a great song that declares God's awesome character and uses a choir to good effect: "You are justice for every oppression/You're forgiveness for every confession/You are beauty, goodness, blessing/You are love/You are healing for every sickness/You are power in every weakness/You are mighty, holy, faithful/You are love."
'What a Savior', written by Jeremiah Jones, is a Christian radio friendly song of praise to the Lord that borrows from Psalm 23: "Jesus, You are higher, my soul's deepest desire/Hallelujah, You are Savior/You are the shepherd King, You lead us by still waters/Hallelujah, You are Savior/You are my only hope, Your kindness is my friend/And in Your presence, You restore us." The title track, 'Blessings' is a ballad that showcases Story's great voice. It is one of five songs on the album written solely by her. It won Best Contemporary Christian Song at this year's Grammy's. Lyrically, it brings to mind James 1:2: "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds." The song speaks of how God's ways are not always our ways: "And we cry in anger when we cannot feel You near/And we doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love/As if every promise from Your Word is not enough/And all the while, You hear each desperate plea/And long that we'd have faith to believe/'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops?/What if Your healing comes through tears?/And what if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near?/And what if the trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?" 'Your Name Will Be Praised', co-written with Mac Powell of Third Day, picks things up musically again and talks of exalting and following the Lord even in the difficult seasons of life: "Through the darkest of nights/When we can't find our way/We will walk by faith not sight, Lord/Your name will be praised.../For who You are/For what You've done/For what You've yet to do/This song we raise/This day we proclaim, all glory to You."
'One Life to Lose' is mellow and keyboard based. It brings Matthew 16:25 to mind: "For whoever wants to save His life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me will find it." Here are some of the lyrics: "I've sworn again to lay it down, to bring an end/To this life lived for me/For I've one life to lose, one chance to find/A newer, better me, the old one left behind/For there's one Lord who leads, though steep the cost/I have learned when I am lost, it's there that I am found." 'Prodigal Song' reminds me of Mark Schultz with its' story telling quality. It describes an earthly father longing for his son to come back home: "And he is watching and he is hoping/Though his eyes are weary, his arms are still open/And his prayer, so softly spoken/Please come home."
'Remember', written by Story, is reverent and would make for a good communion song: "This is the Lamb who was slain for us/So we the church may enter in/So bittersweet when we think of You/The One who bore our curse, our sin." 'Faithful God' is one of Story's favourites on the album and it is a great way to end the album. A choir is nicely used to give the song power and a moving quality to it. The lyrics show a desire for one's faith to remain strong: "May the grace that sought my heart on that first day/Be the grace that binds my heart to stay/May the truth that opened up my eyes on that first time/Be the thoughts on my mind that never go away/For You are a lamp unto my feet/A light unto my path."
In the liner notes Laura Story shares from the heart: "To Jesus, these songs seem like such a frail offering to the One who gave Your very life for me. May they be a sweet sound in Your ear!" I'm recommending this album to fans of Chris Tomlin and modern worship in general. I'm rating BLESSINGS 85%. For more info visit http://www.laurastorymusic.com/ and http://www.fairtradeservices.com/.