WORDSLINGERS EDITOR’S NOTE: Michael Davis has the unique pleasure to serve year round at Falls Creek Baptist Conference Centers, near Davis, Okla., as Falls Creek’s multimedia coordinator. During the summer, Falls Creek hosts what has been acclaimed by many as the “world’s largest Christian youth encampment,” as more than 5,000 students come each week over an eight-week period to attend youth camp. This summer, Falls Creek celebrates its 100th anniversary of hosting summer camp in the Arbuckle Mountains in southern Oklahoma.
Each year at Falls Creek, there are several songs that stand out as anthems of the summer. Songs from years past, such as Blessed Be Your Name, Our God, Everlasting God and The Stand served to further contemporary worship in connecting modern audiences with the act of corporately worshiping our God.
This year, The Lion And The Lamb (CCLI# 7038281) worked its way to the top of Falls Creek’s most-played song list at twenty-one plays. In fact, The Lion And The Lamb was the only song to be played every single week this summer! I asked Cody Dunbar, worship pastor at Bethany, Council Road – who has led worship many weeks of Falls Creek – what it is that makes this song so popular today. His response:
“The Lion And The Lamb is one of my favorite new worship songs. It is rare today to find a solid upbeat song that has an easy melody and rich theology portrayed in lyric, while also filling the appetite of a modern musician. This song does all of those things. It’s a great song to put in the front of a worship set as a call to worship. You can lead it in a camp setting or on a Sunday morning, and it seems to translate and engage in both settings.”
I want to focus on three aspects that make this song not only a popular choice, but a good choice.
Easy: A Song All Can Sing
Dunbar mentioned above that The Lion And The Lamb has an easy melody, and he went on to say that it is an “easy song to modulate into different keys so the worship leader can be in his or her ‘wheelhouse’ vocally while not getting outside of what the congregation can handle in terms of pitch.”
As soon as those first notes are played, there is a consistent energy, from week to week, that overwhelms the Tabernacle. Students rise, and with excitement join together in proclaiming this rich anthem. With hands lifted high and smiles on faces, the sight of thousands of students proclaiming truth together is so extremely powerful, encouraging and important.
True: Theologically Rich
In addition to an easy melody, Dunbar mentioned that this song has a “rich theology portrayed in lyric.” The majority of songs our churches sing today are certainly theologically sound, but not always are they theologically rich. When I think of theologically-rich songs, I think of hymns and how they have shaped my theology today. Sadly, there are many songs that are taught and led in churches today that are catchy and fun, but incredibly shallow.
As I began dissecting lines and ideas from The Lion And The Lamb, I immediately noticed the theological richness of its composition. From the first line, “He’s coming on the clouds” (Mark 13:26, Rev. 1:7), to the truth found in the chorus that our God fights for us (Hos. 11:10, Rev. 5:5), each phrase and declaration echoes Biblical truth.
Hopeful: Our Savior Is Coming Back
The theological richness of The Lion And The Lamb allows the worshiper to declare truths of Christ’s return and His power over the enemy. As sinful creatures placing our hope in a Savior who not only promises that He will save those who call upon Him, but also One who fulfills His promises, the words of this song remind our deceitful hearts of the hope to come!
The Son of Man will return on clouds (Mark 13:26), king and kingdoms will bow down before Him (Phil. 2:9-11), our bondage will break (Rom. 6:6), and we declare His praise (Rev. 5:13), and no one can stop Him (Job 42:2)!
Our God is the Lion of the tribe of Judah (Rev. 5:5) who roars with power (Hos. 11:10) and fights for us (Ex. 14:14)! Every knee will bow before Him (Phil. 2:10). Our God is the worthy Lamb who was slain to take away the sins of the world (John 1:29, Rev. 5:12), and His blood breaks the chains cause by that sin (Psalm 107:14, Rom. 6:6)!
Open up the gates and prepare a way for the King of kings (Psalm 24:9, Isa. 40:3) because our God who comes to save (Luke 19:10) is here to set free those who are held captive by sin (Luke 4:18), and no one can stop Him (Job 42:2)!
Let us be ever thankful for songs that continue to edify the body of Christ through outward praise and inward hope.