The Crowder Requiem Review: Sanctus and Benediction

It started raining about ten seconds before I arrived at work today. Like a true Phoenician, I was surprised to see the small wet spots on the ground— water is falling from the sky??– and I shared my surprise with the girl whose desk shift I was taking over. Even though I’m supposed to be sitting at a desk, I stepped outside at the start of my shift to just watch the rain. Rain is one of the things I actually miss about Michigan, and it never lasts long here. We don’t get long, soaking days of steady rain in Phoenix.

As simple as rain is, it reminds me of God’s greatness, the way the ocean does. Standing in the rain is like soaking in God’s power and love.

Today is the Sanctus and Benediction of the David Crowder* Band’s Give Us Rest. “Sanctus” means “holy” in Latin. The original text is short, so I’ll post the translation here:

Holy, holy, holy
Lord God of hosts!
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest!

 

These words are adapted from Revelation 4:8 and Matthew 21:9. The text is encapsulated in the song “After All (Holy)”. Piano, guitar, synthesized and live percussion, and the simple, beautiful repetition of “Holy, Holy, Holy” in the chorus mark this song. It’s pure worship and adoration. The Band mixes words and larger phrases from the Sanctus and Benediction with their own text, reflecting God’s holiness and glory.

 

Holiness is an important attribute of God’s character. The English word has the same roots as the word “whole”– God is complete, undefiled, perfect. It also describes everything we cannot be without Him, and everything that He makes us when we turn to Him.

 

“After All (Holy)” is followed by “The Great Amen,” and the title does not disappoint. The song is one giant crescendo, a single, minor chord, sung by what sounds like a huge chorus. Their voices cover octaves of range to give a sense of magnitude, of height and depth. At first only the men sing, and two “amen”s later the women join in the upper registers. They sing “amen” eleven times, and each time is louder than the last, creating an increasing sense of awe.

 

The word “amen” is not Latin, nor is it Greek: it is Hebrew. It derives from the verb “aman,” meaning to strengthen or confirm. It confirms or strengthens the words which follow or precede it; we end prayers with it, or in liturgical churches confirm the words of the priest by saying “amen.” Its dramatic inclusion here is interesting, because to my knowledge “amen” is not generally included after the Benediction. “The Great Amen” instead confirms the holiness of God celebrated in “After All,” and reminds us of the liturgical origins of the album’s structure.

 

The brick sidewalk outside is almost dry by now. I may live in a desert, but God does not desert my heart. It’s raining in there.


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