Friday, April 29, 2005

Sara Groves: A Thoughtful Christian Singer

Remember in Toy Story 2 when Jessie reminisced about once being loved by a little girl who eventually grew up and forgot about her? The song that accompanied that moving scene (I admit it. I brushed a tear or two away), "When She Loved Me," was performed by Sarah McLachlan, a singer of whom I had been previously unaware. I fell in love with her voice. Why am I bothering to tell you this? Because when I first heard Sara Groves, the very talented Christian singer and songwriter, she reminded me of Sara McLachlan, a comparison that others have noted as well. That was the first thing that caught my attention.

More important than her vocal quality, however, are her down to earth yet God-focused lyrics wedded to great music. C. S. Lewis once wrote about prayer that we must bring before God what is in us, not what ought to be in us. Sara writes honest songs about what's in us as we seek to become what we ought to be - songs about fighting with our spouses, worrying about our children, questioning God's goodness, and convincing ourselves that we need more stuff. Throughout, she points to God's trustworthy promises to complete what He has begun and thereby stirs gospel-rooted hope, gratitude, and praise.

Her appreciation for the past is evidenced by her creative blending of classic hymns with contemporary style as in one of my favorites, "He's Always Been Faithful." Dr. David Larsen, a former professor of mine, recently described the mindset of many young Christians as: "What's old is mould and what's new is true." Thankfully, such a charge doesn't stick to Groves. In an article for Relevant Magazine she wrote:
I'm just wondering, if we can't keep up, maybe we're not supposed to. I?m not saying the church should settle in for years and years of "this is how we do it, so there", but I wonder what would happen if we quit focusing on the new and focused on the true. There is capital "T" Truth to be found in the old and the new. The old and new can co-exist, and I believe that the church is where that should happen the most. Our churches should reflect the body of Christ, who in its intended form operates like a healthy family. Elders should mentor the young, youth inspire the old, and all of us should build each other up in the faith. (Ephesians 4).
Sara Groves is fresh on my mind because two days ago I had the joy of attending a concert sponsored by Trinity International University and Food for the Hungry (Sara has been sponsoring a child since her college days). Her talent, along with that of her husband Troy and the other members of her band, was captivating. And the expressions of her love for Jesus, sung and spoken, were convicting, encouraging, and edifying. I was so glad my children could share that experience with me. This was their first real concert and they were champions! They listened attentively, especially when Sara told stories about her children. I wondered what was going on in their young minds as they listened to this lady singing what my son affectionately calls "God songs" and caught their dad wiping tears from his eyes with a smile on his face. I pray that in God's providence that night will be link in a chain that will one day lead them to make music in their hearts to God because they are trusting His Son.


If you're not familiar with Sara Groves, I encourage you to check out her website where you can find out more about her, hear some of her music, and find articles about "music, culture, and worthy causes."

2 comments:

Mike - HotFudgeSunday.com said...

"I'm just wondering, if we can't keep up, maybe we're not supposed to. I’m not saying the church should settle in for years and years of 'this is how we do it, so there,' but I wonder what would happen if we quit focusing on the new and focused on the true. "

What a great quote! Yeah, why is new always considered best? Personally, I resent having my heritage thrown away like yesterday's garbage.

The music on her website sounds great. Sounds like I have a music purchase to make.

jc said...

Thanks for the recommendation.