Written by: Laura Chambers (11/28/2016)

To be bereft of all hope does not require one to have suffered a jarring tragedy. Rather, like wind gradually eroding a rock face, we can lose our faith little by little. Every word of rejection, failure, feeling of abandonment gradually accumulates, destroying our peace and replacing confidence with doubt. Eventually, we grow cold and cease to care, our hearts dull and numbed, unwilling to believe again. Just as water has the potential to give life to a seed that has been buried in the ground, so hope can make us live again. Roots begin to form and a tender shoot springs forth, blossoming and flourishing. The Rock Music rejoices with the sprouting of this new life in Awakened By Hope. Biblical passages are woven throughout the album, some as simple patterns and other more intricate poetry.

They’re off and running from the beginning with “Running After Your Heart”, a swift track that rhetorically questions how we could cease chasing God’s love, given His goodness and beauty. We have been forgiven and rescued; we invite Him to speak to us as we worship before Him. “The Beautiful One” emphatically surrenders all pride, selfishness, and desire for control over our destinies to God. One by one, self-serving attitudes are laid down in favor of servanthood. More than raising praises and sacrifices to Him, this song seems to push it upwards with the strength that comes from humility. “Your Beauty” longs to hear God speak and be able to respond with the praises that had been absent until that moment. His Word blazes within us, creating a passion that releases our love in song. “Sing Your Praise” encourages us to sing of Him, as everything else can’t help but do. He does so many wonderful things for us, upholding us throughout our lives. The chorus stretches out like a rubber band, as if to prove how strong our desire to praise Him is. “Break On Me” condenses the gospel and the sinner’s prayer into one urgent song, telling of our need for the light of truth and new birth. It’s songs like these that make me realize anew the power of lyrics to express profound concepts with simple words. The audience become participants in the chorus, confessing it themselves rather than simply offering passive assent.

“Mighty” reassures us that we can rest in God’s strength, love, and faithfulness, should we find ourselves in peril. For these reasons and more, we will come before Him and give Him our worship.  It‘s got one of those choruses where you never really know when to stop repeating it. In “Home”, it’s the prodigal son and his father that take center stage; the son longs for home, despite being aware of his unworthiness, while the father has been waiting eagerly and can’t help running towards his child in welcome. The Father’s love is greater than our sins. He doesn’t care who we are now; He only sees what can be. “Your Love Is Unfailing”, while simply expressed, shows the essence of our joy at having been captured by the Lord. We could not imagine leaving now, nor will He drop us. We can trust in his love to never let us down. “Dare To Hope” bows to a sovereign God in our brokenness, hoping in Him nonetheless. Though He has both revived us and humbled us, we can recall His mercy on us. Whoever the lead singer is on this track, she reminds me of Sarah MacLachlan a little bit. “Awaken” evokes images of Lazarus coming back to life and out of the tomb at Christ’s command. The desire to “unwrap these grave worn clothes” (that is, remove the bindings of sin and death) leads to the realization that His words and the hope he offers is the only thing that can wake us from our sleep of spiritual death.

“Rescue Me” looks to the Lord for aid and provision, knowing He is the only consistent source. We belong to Him and are cherished by Him. “God Proved His Love” distills John 3:16 into clear-cut evidence that God truly loves us. He came while we were still lost and gave Himself to give us lasting life. Could have used a bridge to drive the message home, maybe personalize it a bit more, but maybe that’s just me. “Sings My Soul” finds God in the beauty of His creations and ours, as well as joy at the thought of being loved. It borrows from the first two lines of the chorus of “How Great Thou Art” for its chorus, to show that these gifts are appreciated and elicit a grateful response. “Come Fill Me Up” compares God to powerful forces evident in the natural world, pleading for an infilling of His presence that more than satisfies. Like the flow of water, His Spirit seeks out and invades every empty place. “Running Home” closes out with a blessing that draws us homeward and a prayer asking Him to uphold us all the way there. It’s interesting that this album begins and ends with running, as though we come full circle from our initial passion for the pursuit of God to its ultimate end; Himself.

What can make the dead live and the distraught believe? Our hope springs from Christ. It is He who restores life to the barren places by illustrating our true nature and providing both contrast and remedy. Arise, all who sleep in their sin and ignorance! Be Awakened By Hope and walk in the newness of life, the light of freedom. The Rock Music confronts us with our hunger for Christ and His all-sufficiency, drawing praise from our hearts. Longing for holiness and more of God permeates every track from start to finish. (And, yes, as a lyricist, I have a weakness for some of their awkward or slightly odd ways of phrasing things.)


Released: 12/2/16

Label: Dream Worship

Track Listing:

  1. Running After Your Heart (3:22)
  2. The Beautiful One (5:31)
  3. Your Beauty (5:38)
  4. Sing Your Praise (5:05)
  5. Break On Me (5:13)
  6. Mighty (5:25)
  7. Home (3:41)
  8. Your Love Is Unfailing (5:30)
  9. Dare To Hope (4:49)
  10. Awaken (4:29)
  11. Rescue Me (4:54)
  12. God Proved His Love (4:45)
  13. Sings My Soul (4:04)
  14. Come Fill Me Up (4:07)
  15. Running Home (3:46)

15 Tracks, 70:00

Buy on iTunes

More from The Rock Music:

  • Promises (2009)
  • Rise EP (2013)
  • Gather EP (2013)
  • Sow EP (2013)
  • Rejoices: Christmas EP (2013)
  • Knowing Jesus: These Are Written (2014)
  • Old Soul Volume I + II (2015)
  • Dwelling EP (2015)
  • Knowing Jesus: So That You May Believe (2015)
  • Awakened By Hope (2016)
  • All Creatures (2017)

Links for The Rock Music:

Official Site