by Kevin Burton
Before the bombast came the basics. There is a lot to be said for the basics.
I love some, but not all of the directions in which contemporary Christian music has moved since the early 80s.
In the years just before that, Christine Wyrtzen began to produce records notable for the good music and solid gospel message.
My spell check doesn’t like “Wyrtzen” but I do. This is album challenge post number 12, a tribute to “My Best To You” a greatest hits collection.
Bottom line, Christine Wyrtzen wants you to see Jesus. I remember her music in the 70s being very basic. The set is an uncluttered invitation to Jesus.
Here’s the message on the front page of her website, www.daughtersofpromise.org: “This ministry exists to reveal the good news of the Gospel with passion and artistry, bringing the implications of the new birth to center stage.”
It’s that kind of focus that produces songs such as “The Reason I Sing” with the lyric,“You are the reason I sing, You who taught all bells of Heaven to ring…”
The sentiment is reinforced in “Jesus Is My Sunshine” including, “Jesus is the sunshine of my soul. To please Him daily is my highest goal. I’ve perfect peace when He is in control..”
Wyrtzen’s music soothes and encourages. It says so on her website it’s the truth. It sounded just the right note for me as a new Christian.
My Christian music collection includes recordings by artists who feature loud guitar solos, Beatle-esque bass patterns and driving percussion. I’m not speaking against that.
But that sort of thing does open those artists to the question, “Is it a ministry or is it entertainment?” To me it should be both, but the ministry part must come first. That makes the real question, does the song originate from a desire to give glory to God and point people to Him?
I don’t believe heavy orchestration is bad per se. But it is nice to be able to reach for music such as “My Best To You” where the ministry/entertainment question is removed altogether. If you want a straight gospel message and don’t want the musicality getting in the way, I would pick this record.
The Bible tells Christians to share the good news and Wyrtzen is eager to do that. One of the songs on side one is called “Just Gotta Share It.” That same sharing message is in the lyrics of “The Lord Makes Me Happy.”
I have a framed sign that reads “Well done?” with a question mark. It’s a good reminder from Matthew 25:21 that God is evaluating my choices. “ His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’” (NKJV).
That’s the spirit of “What Will I Hear My Master Say?” The song has a one-note introduction and gets straight to the point. That same point is central to “I’m Satisfied With Jesus,” a song that asks, “Is the Savior satisfied with me?”
The most interesting song to me is “Let The Children Come.” It is two songs in one with two related messages. The beginning and ending speak to Jesus instructing the disciples not to deny children access to Him.
The middle section is a prayer from Wyrtzen that God will “make me like a child again.” It is like a sigh of relief, that we can release all cares to Jesus.
She prays to be “simple and trusting, gentle and loving.”
“Gather me in your arms again, and the pain I’ve been hiding,” she sings. “Forsaking all our pride and our arrogance we must come in humility, just like the children come to Jesus.”
The Bible puts it this way:
“Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” Mark 10:14-15 NKJV).