One of the most underrated songs of the year| Posted October 18, 2017
Joel Buckner, one of the worship leaders at National Community Church in the Washington, D.C. area, has released a modern hymn with his new single, "Sanctuary."
The worship leader, who has ministered in a number of different cultural, liturgical and stylistic environments, has parlayed his varied experience into creating a song that, at once, carries elements of modern worship, classic hymns and gospel.
Musically speaking, the arrangement and instrumentation are fairly simple, with electric guitar elements supporting acoustic guitar, piano and drums (as well as some super subtle synth pad). Instead, the words and the controlled but passionate vocals drive the song.
Thematically, the song is one of devotion, expressing Buckner's undeniable desire and commitment to worshipping the One created him and saved him. The first verse talks about how as His creations, we were made to praise: "We were created in your image / Made in the likeness of who you are / We're joined with the angels and all of creation / Singing as one to praise you, God."
The second verse talks about how God's love is present in every age, and how "We will respond with hearts abandoned / Releasing praise to your great name."
I particularly love the repeated bridge that builds in intensity and power: "Every breath, every step I'll pour out / On an altar of praise my life is found."
We get hints of Buckner's full range and power, which he largely keeps under wraps, save for a few moments surrounding the bridge when he flies around vocally for a second, before getting back to the melody--further evidence that Buckner is far more interested in having the congregation sing along than to have them admire his obvious vocal prowess. It takes a lot of humility and a ministry focus to take that position.
The Bottom Line:
"Sanctuary" is probably one of the most underrated worship songs of the year, as it is a clear winner in all phases of its production, and has the ability to be a song that transcends many barriers between churches.