Sometimes music is so powerful you don’t know how to fit it into words. It’s nearly impossible–you have a dozen components in your head, reasons as to why it’s powerful, but truthfully, it just is and that’s enough for me.
Oceans is that music.
I was never much for Christian worship music. I kind of wrote it off as cheesy, annoying, repetitive and boring. I loved my faith, but I didn’t feel like I was absorbing anything by listening to a banjo and Jesus’ name repeated twenty-seven times in a row. I don’t think anyone else in my middle school class was feeling it either. But…people change with one action, and everything surely changed when I listened to Oceans by Hillsong United.
Yeah, so I contradict myself. I hated repetition, but I think it depends on how that repetition is executed that makes it work or not. See, in oration repetition is used to create emphasis. When a speaker wants his or her point to really get across, they bend the rules and use repetition to emphasize the importance of their statement. It gets people’s attention. However, if you drone on and on the same word over and over again, you lose the attention. Less is more, but sometimes more is more. In the bridge of Oceans, the “Spirit Lead Me” on repeat could not resonate more with me.
Oceans is the best song I have ever heard in the Christian contemporary genre. The music accompanying the lyrics is phenomenal. It’s starts soft, then builds. I’m not all for techno and electronic music (which there is some of in this song), but it works with the piano when it bursts forth from the quiet pauses and the raw vocals. Sometimes you shouldn’t focus on every detail. Let the words be the force that breaks the dam, and your love of God be the water that pours out. Music can be a force, and when I began to listen to Oceans, I certainly felt it. It was only the beginning on my discovery to love Christian contemporary (but really only some of the songs–there are still those that I find less exciting or powerful, but I recognize now that it doesn’t matter–it’s the message embedded in the words that should matter the most…though I’d still probably only listen to it in a worship setting).
Each year teens across the country come together in hundreds of different conferences to have their faith ignited again. It’s easy to get lost in the everyday life. Our focus is distributed to dozens of other things, and it’s all too simple to get caught up and forget why we’re here. That’s the purpose of those conferences: to remind us what we should be doing, and to re-energize the soul. I know it can sound kind of lame. Shouldn’t we be working on keeping our faith consistent on our own? Well, yes. But realistically, it’s still hard to be as energized every day as you are at your Steubenville conference with three hundred other teens that share your same responsibilities and challenges.
Last summer was incredible. I went to my first Steubenville Conference in Orlando, Florida with my youth group. It was three days of hardcore Catholic youth stuff. We had Mass, we had music, we had break-out groups and emotional discussions, Confession, all with my close friends. Adoration could not have been more embarrassing for me as I realized what I was doing wrong (and as a human, I’m still doing it wrong). But it really opened my eyes to new ways of connecting with God, and one of those ways was through music. I started listening to Oceans constantly, It is Well (Live) by Bethel Music, I began learning those songs to play on guitar.
(this is beyond awesome)
I’m human. I’m hypocritical. I don’t always act as I should. But this music definitely gives me hope.
But hey, we all are called to live our lives differently. It perfectly makes sense if you don’t like Christian music, if you’d rather sing traditional hymns and connect to God in different ways. The most important thing is to just love and follow Him, regardless the method (well the Ten Commandments are pretty much the outline, but you know what I mean).
To listen to these songs daily definitely keeps me from immersing myself in life so much I forget. I played Oceans at my youth group last week, and you can just see the faith in the room. It was energizing and awakening, and I just love playing that song on guitar and singing it (just don’t expect me to hit that “my God” during the transition to the last chorus xD Can’t do that LOL).
Now I quote my favorite lyrics because I totally can (with beautiful tumblr images):
Have you heard of the songs I mentioned? Do you like Oceans? Or do you like other Christian songs? Which ones: comment below! [I also love Holy Spirit by Francesca B., and a bunch of Matt Maher songs.] [And Hosanna and Lead me to the Cross also by Hillsong…just too many! xD]