NEW MUSIC: “BLESSED ASSURANCE” – THE MARRIAGE OF CONTENTMENT AND HOPE (pt. 1)

Today I released an updated version of the hymn “Blessed Assurance.” (Click the player to the right to stream the track.) The hymn was written in the late 1800s by a blind hymn-writer named Fanny Crosby. Though I was familiar with the original tune from my childhood, this new melody was written by some friends of mine, Ben and Jess Newell.

I actually recorded two different versions of this song before landing on this arrangement. The first version was way too happy. It was an upbeat acoustic song, and it confirmed my wife’s philosophy that “anything that’s up-tempo and acoustic with handclaps automatically sounds like John Mellancamp.” So that was a bust. The second version was way slow and emo. The lyrics say “watching and waiting…” My second version sounded more like it was “waiting and dying.”

Both of my first two attempts failed to capture the heart of Crosby’s lyrics. The words of the hymn are simple, but it’s implications are not. If you read between the lines a bit, you can see that the lyrics imply a strange depth to Crosby’s relationship to Christ. There is a certain sense of present contentment coupled with the future hope of Christ’s return.

The balance of these two seems to be near-impossible. I admit that I tend to neglect one or the other, and neither extreme is healthy.

My buddy Brandon Andress recently wrote about how Christians getting caught up in “the End Times” can be dangerous. Without remaining grounded in the present, Christians can easily get wrapped up in the post-apocalyptic bizarro-world where Kirk Cameron is actually a respectable actor. Pretty soon you’re making video games that murder non-Christians and hiding out in a bomb shelter drinking Kool-Aid with Joel Osteen. Scary.

But the other side of the coin is obsessing over the responsibilities of our lives. We stop trusting that God has our backs. When we get wrapped up in our worries, it’s easy to become so concerned with this life that we forget about the return of Jesus and the Kingdom of Heaven. Most of us get more excited about the series finale of “The Office” than we do about Christ’s second coming, do we not? A lot of us express more concern that Starbucks screwed up our order than we do for our friends or family that don’t know the phenomenal love of God, right?

When we lose the balance of present contentment and future hope, we get wacky. Our priorities get really screwed up. Both extremes are bad. But how do we maintain the proper balance? I believe- and Franny Crosby believed- that the balance lies in “abiding in Christ.” Stay tuned for more on what the heck “abiding” means…

Let me know your thoughts on the new track in the comments section.

Comments (10)
  1. Greg Watts December 7, 2012 at 4:58 am

    Nice arrangements. Of course, I’m interested in hearing the other two versions :-) !!! Really enjoy the delayed/echo on the vocals (sounds like you did two vocals for the effect and not digitally?). Of course the bass really captures the “feel” of the song. Overall, I like the dynamics throughout. Very Cool.

    • nickmorrowmusic December 7, 2012 at 12:25 pm

      Thanks Greg. The other two arrangements will never see the light of day! Actually, I never finished them completely- they only live as fragments on my computer…

  2. robert watts December 7, 2012 at 5:00 am

    So whats wrong with a Mellencamp sound?

  3. LouAnn Morrow December 7, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    Nick
    Fanny Crosby would be so happy that her music is living on in such a current, beautiful arrangement. Love, Love, Love listening to it! Proud of you!
    love mamalou :)

  4. Susan Swinford December 7, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    Awesome arraignment!

  5. Carrie Joslin December 7, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    So when do we get to sing this at church?? Love your heart and the depth of insight you bring to so many things, Nick!

    • nickmorrowmusic December 9, 2012 at 2:18 pm

      Thanks Carrie, that is super encouraging! Speaking of singing at church, one of my goals/hopes in the next couple of months is to gather a group of willing vocalists at church to do a group vocal recording of a new song :)

  6. Mike December 24, 2012 at 8:58 am

    I’d much rather listen to this at work. ;) Think they’ll compromise?

  7. Celine Outlet April 8, 2013 at 8:08 am

    Thank you for some other wonderful post. Where else may just anybody get that kind of info in such a perfect means of writing? I have a presentation next week, and I am at the look for such info.

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