November 18, 2020

‘This is Grace’—Symphonic (Inspired by Psalm 150)

This Is Grace is one of the first songs I wrote for 20schemes. We recorded it for the album ‘Songs From The Schemes’.

However, it was well over a year earlier that we also shot a music video of the song, which we put out on YouTube at the time. I then removed the video a while later as my audio mix wasn’t great. Since then I have improved in my editing and mixing of audio and so my plan has been to upload a new lyric video for this song which seeks to spell out the gospel narrative.   

‘Jesus paid in full for my forgiveness,
He was beaten mocked and hung upon a tree.
Willingly He took my shame upon Him,
The King of kings crucified instead of me. . . .’  

So that was the plan. To simply re-release the video with an updated audio mix . . . but then I happened to read Psalm 150.

Worthy of Praise  

1 Praise the Lord!
Praise God in his sanctuary;
    praise him in his mighty heavens!
Praise him for his acts of power;
    praise him for his surpassing greatness!
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
    praise him with the harp and lyre!
Praise him with tambourine and dancing,
    praise him with the strings and pipe!
Praise him with the clash of cymbals,
    praise him with resounding cymbals!
6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord!

Psalm 150:1–6

Some of the churches planted through 20schemes barely have one musician to lead or accompany congregational singing, most of us (when there isn’t a pandemic on) make do with a guitarist or keyboard. And of course this is normal for most churches.   

Nevertheless, I couldn’t help but be inspired by these words in Psalm 150. I’ve been thinking recently about how we as local churches might sing to better express the joy and passion found in the songs of Scripture. Psalm 150 speaks of lavish praise, with seemingly as many musical instruments as we can get our hands on, in order that we might praise and magnify the Lord.

A Gospel Worth Singing About

The gospel itself is a narrative of how the Holy God lavishes His grace on us—the undeserving sinner when He sent us His only son, Jesus Christ, to bear our iniquity and to conquer death, to break the curse of sin, to restore us to a relationship with God Himself, through Christ’s righteousness and perfect, final sacrifice on the cross and three days later, His triumphant resurrection and following ascension to heaven where He sits at the Father’s right hand, interceding for us.

This calls for a massive Symphony Orchestra and, sadly, we don’t have one in 20schemes. However, I don’t see why a little detail like that should stop us using a massive symphony orchestra!

The Lord in His kindness has given me the privilege of writing big instrumental pieces in the past. Orchestrating and scoring out large scale compositions for performances in concert halls and venues by large symphonic ensembles during my time in the band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines.

It’s been a while now since I’ve worked on this kind of thing, but with some really good orchestral samples (I use EastWest sounds for any nerds out there), I have attempted here in this new orchestration of This Is Grace to capture something of the colour, drama, depth, dynamics, and excitement of the exhilarating gospel story using the vast tonal spectrum of the orchestra. With its woodwind, brass, strings, and percussion, I want to communicate to the single parents, the addicts, those suffering with mental health issues, the poor, the struggling, the broken, the young, the old, the believers in the schemes and their unbelieving family and friends, something of God’s grace that is so lavishly on offer to all who will believe.  

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord.  

Psalm 150:6
Music Video

Lord, I used to think that I was strong
I thought that I could make it on my own
I have wasted time chasing after dreams
Blindly trying to find my own way home

In Your anger, God remember mercy
You are holy, I’m the guilty one
I’m on my knees repenting of my sin
Your arms reached out and I was welcomed in

This is grace undeserved
Grace is free
Amazing grace, I don’t deserve
Given to me

Jesus paid in full for my forgiveness,
He was beaten mocked and hung upon a tree.
Willingly He took my shame upon Him,
The King of kings crucified instead of me.

But the chains of hell had no power to hold Him,
And on the third day, Jesus rose again
Now He sits in power and victory
He’s alive, and He offers life for free
To all who will believe

Hallelujah! Jesus saved my soul!
Hallelujah! Jesus made me whole!
Sin has lost its grip on me
Jesus is the reason that I’m free

Give me strength for every passing day
When temptation comes to me again
When I’m in the middle of the storm
You are there, guiding me on

Lord help me live a life that honours You
Abide with me, do not let me go
Finish what You’ve started in me
Change me that the whole world will see

This is grace undeserved
Grace is free
Amazing grace, I don’t deserve
Given to me

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