Hillsong, in all their varying manifestations, has provided us with more worship songs than Charles Wesley at this point (or so it seems). And just like his many hymns, some hits have made their way into our continued collective worship consciousness, songs like Shout to the Lord. Others, like like Salvation is Here, have faded from most of our memories. So when I read this title I was skeptical that it would even make our current top lists let alone have the type of impact that held potential for staying power. I mean, what type of number is 100 Billion anyways?
But I was so wrong…
Why does this song belong on your playlist?
At first glance, the immediate answer is obvious: it’s a creation song. We have very few of those. More often, creation is drawn upon in a metaphorical sense to communicate larger theologies in our music. And even when we have a creation song about creation itself, it leans towards pure marvel at what God has created. A song like one of my favorite childhood hymns, All Things Bright and Beautiful, which sings about flowers and birds and mountains and winds. It is a sweet song that I still treasure in singing.
This song sits in a slightly different category. We are not only literally singing about science (how often does that happen?), but the arc of this song moves from Creation to the Cross in a way that deeply connects us to both and everything in between. Its imagery moves us from simply singing about the beauty that takes our breath away to recognizing our place within creation.
We are challenged to sing about how the vapors of Breath that formed the planets are caught within our own chests. It is that very breath that gives us power to form those words. This sheer size comparisons breaks into our self-absorption and reminds us that we are a part of something much larger than ourselves. Creation that was made to praise and obey includes us.
God of Your promise
You don’t speak in vain no syllable empty or void
For once You have spoken
All nature and science
Follow the sound of Your voice (vs.2)
God spoke and continues to speak into and through creation. Our communal journey with all of the universe sets up the heart of the first parts of this song. However it does not remain here but evolves to include truth about the salvation.
We are not only connected to creation but the Word leaves us trails to follow, uniquely setting us apart as we are united to Christ. Words of failure, pursuit, and forgiveness culminate in the proclamation: “If You left the grave behind you, so will I.”
This move does not departs from creation but celebrates how salvation is integrated into it, connected to the very fire of the stars. It proclaims that we can see God’s heart within creation, within us. The Triune nature of God is deeply represented here because the Creator of all things and the Breath that fills our lungs is the same Word that saves.
This song belongs on your playlist not only because creation is often underrepresented, but because this song moves to connect us with this creation through the infinite power of the Triune God. It invites us to profoundly join in with the salvific hum of creation.
And frankly, if we sang about creation a bit more, realizing the vital intricacies and interconnectivity, if we allowed our hearts to explore the ways salvation is a part of this creation, we might care about it more deeply.