A Stirring Celebration| Posted August 11, 2014
I'm eternally grateful to the music of Jars of Clay for helping bring me to Christ. From the opening notes of "Flood" and then my continual listening of "Liquid," "Worlds Apart" and "Love Song for a Savior" from their self-titled debut, they quickly became my favorite band. A few years later, I became immersed in Christian music and gave my life to Christ in 1999 thanks to Christian music leading me to the truth of the Gospel: I'll never be good enough to earn eternal life. Jesus paid that price on my behalf and died for my sins and wants me to call on Him to be my Savior and "take my world apart."
With the fresh new acoustic and string-backed recordings of "Fade to Grey" and "Worlds Apart" that opens this fan selected twenty song collection celebrating twenty years of Jars of Clay making music, it's clear that the theme of the old Irish proverb "It is in the shelter of each other that the people live" runs throughout this excellent album.
If you've always loved this band like me, this album will have you hooked right from the opening notes of this gorgeous new recording of "Worlds Apart." As Christians, we can all relate to the vulnerable and sincere crying out in the bridge "Did You really have to die for me / All I am for all You are because what I need / And what I believe are worlds apart / And I pray, Take my world apart."
"Boys" is a powerful and moving song. At a concert, Dan Haseltine shared, "Four of us have kids, and our boys are always asking questions about things that matter. Sadly, we're a generation that cares deeply about things that don't matter. So we wrote this song to our boys." Dan achingly sings "I've been where you're going and it's not that far. You'll get there in time."
"Dead Man" sings "I'm just a dead man lying on the carpet / can't find a heartbeat / I want to be a new man / tired of the old plan." The message is a great one for Christians, that we are all new in Christ.
"Oh My God" is one of my favorite songs from Good Monsters and really brings me to my knees in prayer of adoration to my Savior. The song really connects with me, as sometimes I feel lost and confused regarding what God's will is in my life and when I look at the world, I know our suffering is temporal and we need to live for heaven and cry out to God, and He'll hear us.
"Safe to Land," which the band calls "our fighting song," is a poignant relationship song that sings "I guess forgiveness hasn't happened yet, is it safe to land? The long fall back to earth is the hardest part." It is truly an honest and transparent love song, and having been married 20 years, the song really speaks to me personally and reminds me of the commandment from Colossians 3:13 (NIV): "Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you."
Another standout song is "Love in Hard Times," where Dan affectionately sings "sometimes I just want to feel your hand in mine, still love in the hard times." The musical bed on these recordings is very layered and ambient, which allows listeners to really focus on these poignant and relevant words.
I get choked up when I pray along with "Love Song," my all-time favorite song by Jars of Clay, especially when Dan sings "Someday we'll trust Him and learn how to see Him. I want to fall in love with You." I credit that song and "Worlds Apart" for leading me to seek a personal relationship with Jesus. I am eternally grateful to their music ministry for speaking Truth into my life and drawing me to my Savior. I can't think of a better way to cap off this incredible album.
For the past twenty years, Jars of Clay have consistently released great quality songs and never forsake message as they craft amazing melodies. Every song is powerful and moving, a fitting tribute to their stellar and influential career. There is something for everyone on this brilliant and stirring collection of songs. They will move you emotionally with their songs "Worlds Apart," "Silence," "No One Loves Me Like You," "Jealous Kind" and "Love Song." They will move you physically with their great anthems "Collide," "God Will Lift Up Your Head," "Trouble Is" and "Dead Man." Something I love most about Jars of Clay is how they'll make you think about your relationships with people, especially with "If You Love Her," "Safe to Land," "Boys," "Inland" and "Love in Hard Times." After all, Jesus commands us to "love one another." This album challenges me to love God and people well.