Prime Cuts: We Stand As One (Greg Sykes), Brother (Brilliance), Boldly I Approach (Rend Collective)
The 20th Century was the bloodiest epoch of human history: more martyrs die in the last hundred years than the numbers who died over the course of church history combined. Yet, many of these martyrs die in ignominy. Their stories were never told. Their names were lost in the bloody rubbles. Nevertheless, things are about to change. The Voice of the Martyrs (VOM), a nonprofit that offers practical and spiritual help to persecuted Christians, has launched the "i am n" movement that has already generated over $5 million in aid for Christians who have been displaced by the self-proclaimed Islamic State known as ISIS. Now, VOM is partnering with Integrity Music and its parent organization, David C Cook, to help spread awareness of the plight of persecuted Christians around the world through a new i am n album releasing Feb. 12, and i am n book and curriculum releasing March 1.
The "i am n" movement takes its name from the symbol used by ISIS militants to target believers. It began when ISIS militants moved into northern Iraq and began identifying Christian-owned property by painting the Arabic letter ن or "n" on homes and churches. This single letter conveyed the accusation that the occupants were "Nazarenes"-followers of Jesus of Nazareth rather than Islam-giving them the ultimatum to convert to Islam and stay in the community, leave, or die. The music album features 11 formerly released worship numbers by Integrity Music artists such as All Sons & Daughters, The Brilliance, Lincoln Brewster, Paul Baloche, Travis Ryan, New Life Worship, WorshipMob, NCC Worship, Desperation Band, Rend Collective, and Israel and New Breed.
The album does feature a brand new song recorded by Greg Sykes "We Stand as One." Written by Don Poythress and Steve Merkel, "We Stand as One" is a moving worship ballad that appropriately speaks of Christ's abiding presence in the midst of our tribulations anchoring its authority in the promises of Holy Writ. The rest of the songs were chosen because they speak of themes relevant to the issue of martyrdom. A selection of songs cohere around the theme of God's mighty sovereignty even when extremists ruthlessly destroy God's people. In this context, Desperation Band's "Strong God," Lincoln Brewster's "There is Power" and Israel Houghton and Rare Breed's "Jesus at the Center" are particularly encouraging.
Another cluster of songs deal with the pressing need to stand in solidarity with these persecuted brothers and sisters. Most pedagogical in this regard is Brilliance's folky "Brother," the title cut from their album released last year. Reminding us that we shouldn't be mere spectators of martyrdom, Brilliance's words are particularly sobering: "To see the wounds that bind/All of humankind/May our shutter hearts/Greet the dawn of life/With charity and love." Nevertheless, the best way we can stand in solidarity with our persecuted church family is when we pray for them. Rend Collective's "Boldly I Approach (The Art of Celebration)" serves this lofty calling best. What greater comfort can we find than these gorgeously expressed words: "When condemnation grips my heart/And Satan tempts me to despair/I hear the voice that scatters fear/The Great I Am the Lord is here."
Tags : i am n i am n review i am n album review Paul Baloche Israel Houghton greg skyes desperation band ncc worship rend collective all sons & daughters NEEDTOBREATHE brilliance travis ryan New Life Worship worshipmob