Throughout history, the saints have lifted their voices in praise. For centuries we have been branding truth on our hearts through communal singing. We were created to worship. We are all made to sing praises to our Father, His Son, and the Holy Spirit. To bring our voices together in worship is an act of reflection, of remembering the goodness, righteousness, holiness, and sovereignty of our Lord both in the past, our present, and in the days to come. These psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs are saturated with the kindness and mercy that our Father has shown us, the Gospel and the work that Jesus accomplished on our behalf, and the work of the living Spirit within us. It is beautifully and wholly Trinitarian.
Selected Notes on Original Songs and Arrangements:
Ben Haley: When my mother was in the final stages of her battle with cancer, I flew back to Kansas City to spend time with her. I knew it would be one of the last times we were together. Although she was very sick, she was still able to move around a bit, so we walked around the grocery store together. Walking back to the car, she stopped and closed her eyes to feel a breeze that she said reminded her of a place we used to vacation. She said she was going to miss that, miss a smell in the air that takes her mind to one of her favorite spots in Colorado, miss the opportunity to ride a horse on the beach. What will heaven be like, she wondered. Would she ever experience those kinds of subtle joys in heaven? Through tears, I told her I thought that she would.
We then sat in the car in the parking lot, and as she cried she began to tell me that she felt as though she had failed my sister and me. She and my dad had divorced 20 years prior, and as death approached my mother was broken over how her sin had hurt us. She expressed a sadness that she had not done more for Christ while she was alive. She felt like she had wasted so much time, lived selfishly, did not love others as deeply as she could have.
As I wept with her, I reassured her of my love and forgiveness…but greater than that, of the love and forgiveness of Jesus – who was so ready to welcome her home. Two months later, she went to heaven.
I read the Psalms a lot while my mom was dying, and read them a lot afterwards. Throughout the Psalms, the everlasting faithfulness of God and His eternal goodness were like a balm to my grieving heart. In Psalm 51, I have long been moved by David’s confession of his sin. In that Psalm, like so many others, David’s plea for mercy is based upon his unshakeable conviction of God’s steadfast love.
That day in the grocery store parking lot with my mom has stuck with me for a long time. Our conversation, and Psalm 51, are what birthed “Good to Me Forever.” The verses ask the deep heart questions that we all ask in this life. Questions that my mom asked before she died. The chorus is the answer to those questions. I am comforted to know that my mom, in spite of her earthly failures, is now forever experiencing the goodness and mercy of the Lord. Her sin has been covered. Who has done for us what He has done? Who has loved us like He has loved? How can we not sing of this never-failing love?! Someday I will see my mom again. And along with all the saints that have gone before us, we will join the chorus.
Sarah Anderson: I first encountered the lyrics of “O Christ Our Hope Our Hearts Desire” one evening when I was perusing the world wide web for ancient hymns. Written in the 7th or 8th century, the lyrics were originally in Latin and were not translated until 1837 by a young pastor for his small church in Whitley, England. Passionate about the ancient songs of worship he gathered a collection of 100 hymns together in a book for his congregation. This hymn was among those chosen. As I read through the words, the power of their simplicity and history struck me. Our forefathers of the faith wrote these truths. The voices of believers centuries before us exhorted each other with these words of worship. We join the chorus of the saints as we raise our voices and proclaim the Truth. May your mind and heart be renewed and transformed by these declarations as you lift your voice in worship to our Father, His Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Sarah Anderson – Vocals/Keys
Ray Berry – Bass Guitar
Ben Haley – Vocals/Electric Guitar
Adam Skatula – Drums
Jonathan Stockton – Aux Percussion
Kelly Wallenburg – Vocals/Acoustic Guitar
Chad Weigand – Vocals/Acoustic Guitar
Drake Zimmerman – Electric Guitar
All arrangements by the Calvary Church Englewood musicians. “Good To Me Forever” written by Ben Haley. Melody and original arrangement of “O Christ Our Hope Our Hearts Desire” by Sarah Anderson. Recorded live at Calvary Church in Englewood, CO on May 11th, 2018. Overdubs recorded in the Calvary Church Englewood studio, May/June 2018. Studio engineering and editing by Ben Haley. Live engineering by Christopher J. Bloom. Mixed and mastered by Christopher J. Bloom in Denver, CO.