What we sing shapes what we believe – this is an incontrovertible truth as regards the song of the Church. It has led many Westerners to believe that Jesus was a silent baby (Away In A Manger) and a docile child (Once In Royal David’s City). It has suggested that militarism is an apt metaphor for discipleship (Onward Christian Soldiers) and this misconception is closely allied to decay (Abide With Me). It has also led to the assumption that, as regards religion, ‘the West is the best’ (O’er Those Gloomy Hills of Darkness, etc).
This is not to discount the value of these and other favourite texts. It is, rather, to suggest that the songs we sing reflect the theology of our times, and theology is always in process because God is always on the move.
The songs in this collection are not the antidote but rather a supplement both to traditional hymnody and to the narrow spectrum of biblical and emotional content in much praise and worship material. They are songs intended, as the title (which comes from the words of Jesus) suggests, to liberate us from limited horizons. Hence there are:
- songs which shun dated, churchy language and instead embrace contemporary speech;
- songs which prove that the southern hemisphere has more to offer than Kumbaya;
- songs which take the world seriously, because God takes it seriously;
- songs which allow worship to be more than predictable praise;
- songs which challenge the dominance of a performance mentality because they are meant for all to sing.
Because we have never set out to provide peerless performances of flawless music, we hope that this album will not just be something to listen to, but may encourage all of God’s people to sing.