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Song of the Day: Jill Phillips

It’s getting close to Easter. I spent the day tweaking last year’s slideshow for the Resurrection Letters tour, removing adjectives here, clarifying ideas there, adding a new song for good measure. I turned on the stereo and listened to the songs while I collated the lyric sheets in a three-ring binder. I dusted off the bouzouki so I could relearn the part to a Jill Phillips song.

Right now my living room looks nothing like it would look if Jamie and the kids were home. There’s an empty pizza box on the table; my luggage is in the middle of the floor where I plopped it when I got home three days ago; guitar cases lie open and the guitars that go with them are leaning against chairs and walls. The piano light is on, the bench is pulled back just enough to be welcoming. Today, my house is not a place for homeschooling and piano lessons. It’s a place for preparation.

All this fuss, because Saturday night eight of us will have traveled hundreds of miles to stand on a stage before the saints and sing to them of glory. We’ll sing to them of the dark day when Jesus died, and the bright morning when he took up his life again, and that is not something we take lightly. Yes, we’ll laugh plenty, we’ll watch movies on the bus, we’ll debate the lasting relevance of Wilco versus Debussy (that actually happened on the last trip), and we’ll stress over soundcheck. But when it comes to the concert itself, we hope to do more than just play a set. We hope to create an opportunity for us all to encounter the Resurrection story. I hope you’ll shiver at Judas’s treachery and come out of your seat at Christ’s victory. I hope you’ll leave with a renewed awe for Jesus of Nazareth and what he did, and what he is doing.

I missed the Song of the Day this week, so I wanted to post one of my favorites from the RL tour. This arrangement of an old hymn text was written by Andy Gullahorn, sung by Jill Phillips on her album Kingdom Come. The musical lift after the bridge, when Jill sings, “Praise the Lord,” gets me every time. It’s called “Man of Sorrows.”

MAN OF SORROWS Man of Sorrows! what a name For the Son of God, Who came Ruined sinners to reclaim. Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Bearing shame and scoffing rude, In my place condemned He stood; Sealed my pardon with His blood. Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Guilty, vile, and helpless we; Spotless Lamb of God was He; Full atonement can it be? Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Lifted up was He to die; “It is finished!” was His cry; Now in heaven exalted high. Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!

When He comes, our glorious King, All His ransomed home to bring, Then anew His song we’ll sing: Hallelujah! What a Savior!

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