Rejoice, by Dustin Kensrue and Stuart Townend, takes a heavy load of scripture through a toe-tapping, hand-clapping course of driving yet basic rhythms, punctuating the text with delightfully memorable melody lines, ultimately declaring to all listeners, "Rejoice!"
Consider the following as a structure and theme for the song:
- The First Verse sets the scene by reminding us who God is, using language of His power, His character, His glory.
- The Second Verse reminds us of who we are as God views us.
"We are children of the promise (Rom 9.8 - NIV)...".
- The Third Verse and adjoining Chorus concludes the trio by reminding us of our Blessed Hope.
"...so take heart and stand amazed... Rejoice..He will wipe away your tears (Rev 21.4 - NIV)".
At each juncture, we are called to Rejoice. "But how," you might ask, "does God expect me to rejoice...in the midst of ...(fill in the blank)?", or "Why, oh God, am I going through all of this?"
Scripture, not avoiding this reality, addresses our angst in full. The story and reality of Christ, the crux of the Gospel, is that Christ came to be amongst us. He lived as one of us. And more so, He bore our stripes "up the hill..(Matt 27.33 - ESV)." as the song recalls. He has never left us.
Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God.
Psalm 42.11 (NIV)
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
1 John 3.1 (NIV)
The Chorus of this song speaks in a tone and voice much like that of the author of Psalm 42, calling his own heart to remember. Much like the text, this song calls us to declare that someone need raise their voice, and someone need lift their hands, for He is worthy!
But to whom do we declare? We are all, indeed, sinners, and our near and available hope is that we might be grafted in to God's family! 1 John reminds us that even in a world wracked in relational baggage and split by selfish motives, our God calls out to us to be His very own children! With affection He desires to embrace and discipline us as the Good Father we may never have known.
Remember, you have a voice, You have hands, You have a choice! When this life tries to steal all of your control and blur your focus into forgetfulness, remember! Let us declare that we can Rejoice!
As you listen and praise through this song, sing for joy, but not just for your own joy. Sing for those that are near you, indeed sing to inspire in them the very hope you wish to stir. In so doing may your own joy be filled as you act in faith. Sing together to your King, and Rejoice!