I'm so grateful for Jubi in so many ways. Not only does she stand alongside our lead pastor Jonathan, leading, dreaming, building and loving people with him, but she shares her heart with us whenever she leads in worship.
She led with me at the very first Brooklyn gathering when we were meeting monthly pre launch and we instantly connected over breathing new life into hymns. My favourite story though is one Sunday in rehearsal I looked across after we finished working through a song which had felt particularly powerful for me only to see her wiping tears away from her eyes. She confessed that she was so blown away by how faithful God had been in her life that she was moved to tears ... during rehearsal!
When Forefront adopted the value of diversity we were seeking to be intentional about the way we included women's voices in our church so a year ago Jubi decided that she would love to see an all women's worship band as often the rhythm section of a band can be very male dominated. She dubbed this evolving band the "Brooklyn Babes" and has worked with many different women on several Sundays to make this dream a reality. I'll confess that often these Sundays are among my favourite worship moments not only because I get to worship in the congregation but because the connection and relationships I see being nurtured among the women in rehearsal is powerful. Yes, sometimes I'm allowed to crash the rehearsals!
So after that introduction here's the song list for this Sunday:
"NEW SONG" - AUDREY ASSAD
As we walked into chapter 3 of Ruth Jubi and Jonathan were both taken with how relevant this song was. Jonathan's message centered around the phrase "In the middle of the night" and highlighted some of the critical incidents in Scripture were something big happened in the middle of the night :
Jacob wrestles an Angel in the middle of the night
– Genesis 32:22-31
Samson escapes Gaza in the middle of the night
– Judges 16
God starts the 10th plague and children die, thus the beginning of Passover – Exodus 12:29
Jesus is arrested in the middle of the night
– Matthew 26:20-46
This song's chorus lyric of "waiting in the night" for God perfectly matched the morning and the emphasis on our pain and suffering crying out for a new song captures the spirit of Lent. Considering Jubi's penchant for hymns I loved that the first line of the song talks of "far off hymns"
"GUIDE ME OH THOU GREAT JEHOVAH" - ALLYSON CHASE
This is a regular song in Jubi's repertoire and its a reworking of a classic hymn. Many of the songs we play at Forefront Brooklyn are written by artists who are independently released and so I found an email for Allyson and wrote her an email thanking her for her wonderful version. She was so encouraged to hear that her music was being used in worship in Brooklyn. Here's what she writes about her album:
"An Slí" is a Gaelic expression meaning "The Way". "An Slí" is an anthem of confession and celebration for the saints as they journey through the valleys and mountains of life. The early church was called followers of the Way. Christ, Himself, is the Way and walked the narrow path before us shedding it by His blood and redemption. The saints who have written the majority of these texts decidedly followed Christ and callously depict their journeys through life. My prayer is that these songs will unveil what it means to be an authentic follower of the Way. As we sing these songs, may our souls align with pilgrims who have gone before us and walk beside us toward our holy home, all the while glorying in Christ Jesus.
The only version of this song is on Spotify so you can press play on the playlist at the top of this post to hear it.
"IN FEAST OR FALLOW" - SANDRA MCCRACKEN
I suggested to Jubi that we repeat this song from Week 1. You can read about why I chose this song for our Lenten season in Ruth here. I also told the story about how I saw Sandra at a house show where she was playing songs off her new "Psalms" record and I'm happy to say that this album is now up on Soundcloud for your listening pleasure.
"I WILL HOLD ON" - NIGEL BRIGGS
Jeremiah introduced our church to this song and its part of the amazing repertoire he had under his belt from his time in the Vineyard worship movement. Jubi didn't want the entire set to be hymn reworkings and she has used the chorus of this song before as a tag during worship. What I love about this song is its confessional nature and the relationship between doubt and trust. Watson reminded us last week about how limited our view can get and how we sometimes need to hold on to God trusting that whats around the corner will be different than the present and this song articulates this beautifully.
"I WILL SING OF MY REDEEMER" - FERNANDO ORTEGA
As we moved into a time of communion thinking about how Boaz played the role of kinsman-redeemer for Ruth Jubi picked two songs which centered around the idea of God as our Redeemer. Rhesa Storms and Jubi share a love for Fernando Ortega's music and I'm grateful for them sharing this with me. Recently I found an article where he was interviewed about faith, doubt, CCM music, racial injustice and liturgy and I highly recommend reading this. Here's an excerpt:
I’ve gone through horrid things in my life, and I’m going through something insufferable right now, but I’ve had really happy times. Overall, I just don’t believe that coming to Christ in any way makes you free from the pain of life. I imagine that a Christian might feel the pain more deeply because of the constant conflict with hope in God’s goodness.
"YOU HAVE REDEEMED MY SOUL" - PAGE CXVI
As we closed out the morning I thought this song choice was just a home run from Jubi. We reflect on the ways in which our dried up, parched, dead lives have been redeemed by God and as an added extra bonus Jubi managed to get a lyrical reference to spring time into a Spring Forward Sunday!