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BEHIND THE SONG WITH KEVIN DAVIS
#1147 - "Let It Roll" by Rend Collective
The lead singer Chris Llewellyn and drummer Gareth Gilkeson get real about the band's recent song
 


BEHIND THE SONG WITH KEVIN DAVIS, #1147 -
Posted: December 01, 2022 | By: KevinDavis_NRT
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Irish folk band Rend Collective is one of Christian music’s most influential international bands. They've achieved success with their unique and catchy folk-style sound, inspirational lyrics, and engaging live performances. Rend Collective’s name is based on scripture Joel 2:13: "Rend your hearts, not your garments." 

Rend Collective has released several successful albums: The Art of Celebration (featuring "My Lighthouse),"As Family We Go (featuring "Every Giant Will Fall)," Good News (featuring "Rescuer (Good News),” and Choose To Worship (featuring "Your Name is Power)." 

In 2022, the Irish worship band dropped their recent album, Whosoever. I spoke with Rend Collective’s lead singer Chris Llewellyn and drummer Gareth Gilkeson before their concert with contemporary band MercyMe in Reading, Pennsylvania about “Let it Roll” (This is the 12th devotional we’ve done together).
 

Please tell me the personal story behind this song.
 
Chris: Worship and justice are connected. The things we sing, speak about, and how we live our lives are connected. It’s all supposed to be integrated. We’ve never said it out loud in a song before. It’s in the first line: “Let worship and justice march hand in hand with the righteous hand of change.” As prayers, yes, and with our actions that relate to our prayers and worship.
 
Gareth: Going back to our song “Build Your Kingdom Here,” we’ve had the idea of writing worship songs that are connected to justice. That’s not typically a topic that we write about in worship songs or love talking about in the church or worship.
 
Which Bible verses connect to the song's message?
 
2 Corinthians 5:16-19 (NIV): "So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here. All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people's sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation."

Philippians 2:14-16 (NIV): "Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing."
 
Amos 5:24 (NIV): "But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!"
 
Romans 8:28 (VOICE): “We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan.”

Romans 12:2 (VOICE): "Do not allow this world to mold you in its own image. Instead, be transformed from the inside out by renewing your mind. As a result, you will be able to discern what God wills and whatever God finds good, pleasing, and complete."
 
What is the takeaway message?
 
Gareth: Worship isn’t just music, but it’s also action. We did an outreach mission week in Dublin years ago. Every night, we led worship (it was on fire), and, during the day, we served others. This process took worship to a whole new level. The early church was always on a mission. Being mission-minded is biblical and it’s a form of worship, and our worship reflects the mission of serving others. People don’t like the word justice in the U.S. because of political reasons. For us, being kind isn’t a political stance or ideology that one side or the other owns, it’s something in the Bible for all of us to live out as God’s children. In the song, we’d like people to hear the Amos 5 reference of letting justice roll on like a river. That’s how we want to live out the words of the song.
 
Chris: We don’t often connect worship and justice in songs. We usually ask people to do something. Don’t just sing about it, go and do it. I prefer the term biblical justice. Whenever you hear the term righteousness, it’s something we embody. I’d like people to move to a version of worship that leads to building God’s kingdom. In a way, it’s an extension of “Build Your Kingdom Here.”
 
Lyrics
 
Let worship and justice
March hand in hand with the righteous tide of change
And the sound of breaking chains
Let the sound of our praises
Be one and the same as jubilee reclaimed
To the sound of breaking chains
 
Let it roll roll
Roll like a river
Let it roll roll
Roll on forever
Let it roll roll
Like a stone from the mouth of the grave
 
Let hymns with a mission
Rise up against oppression
Like protest is our praise
It's the sound of breaking chains
 
We'll sing now with passion
The soundtrack to action
That sound that pharaoh hates
It's the sound of breaking chains
 
Let it roll roll
Roll like a river
Let it roll roll
Roll on forever
Let it roll roll
Like a stone from the mouth of the grave
 
Now let it roll roll
Roll like a river
Let it roll roll
Roll on forever
Let it roll roll
Like a stone from the mouth of the grave
 
Roll roll
Roll roll
Roll roll
 
Let my people go
Said let my people go
Let my people go
Said let my people go
Let my people go
Said let my people go
Let my people go
Said let my people go
Let my people go
Said let my people go
Let my people go
Said let my people go
Let my people go
Said let my people go
Said let my people go
Said let my people go
 
Let it roll roll
Roll like a river
Let it roll roll
Roll on forever
Let it roll roll
Like a stone from the mouth of the grave
 
Let it roll roll
Roll like a river
Let it roll roll
Roll on forever
Let it roll roll
Like a stone from the mouth of the grave
 
Closing Thoughts
 
Rend Collective’s “Let it Roll” has an upbeat hook and infectious melody. I can’t get enough of the song’s vibe and biblical message—especially the Amos 5:24-inspired lyrics: “Let it roll, roll, roll like a river/Let it roll, roll, roll on forever/Let it roll, roll like a stone from the mouth of the grave.”

Many times, we keep our faith to ourselves. We might just talk about the love of Jesus with fellow Christians. If the spirit of love is a basic element in the Christian faith, then the expression of love is an integral part of it. The expression of love is faith in action. It's important as believers that others around us see the light of Jesus reflected in our lives: words, actions, behaviors, and thoughts. James 2:17 (NIV) says, "Thus also, faith by itself if it does not have works, is dead.”
 
As Christians, we're called to speak out about injustice. We often mistake staying quiet about issues as turning the other cheek. In Matthew 21:12-13, Jesus flipped over the tables in the temple when He saw injustice. In Micah 6:8, we’re told, "He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?"
 
Look at injustice in the world through God's eyes, and you can't help but be moved to act. Worship is a heart condition and an emotional connection to the words that we lift to God. Our worship is an offering, but God is the one who made the way for us to be with Him. God wants to hear from us. He wants us to approach the throne of mercy and grace to receive what we need from Him. We were dead in our sins, and, by grace, we were saved and made alive in Christ.
 
“Let it Roll” reminds us to be more intentional about everything we do. The Amos 5 passage in scripture urges us to "let justice roll" from our lives, to keep our eyes open to the needs of others. I connected with the song’s message, as it relates to my life verse, Isaiah 6:8 (NLT): “Then I heard the Lord asking, ‘Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?’ I said, ‘Here I am. Send me.’” I have adopted the anthem as my daily prayer: “Let hymns with a mission rise up against oppression/Like protest is our praise, it's the sound of breakin' chains/We'll sing now with passion, the soundtrack to action.” The song is a call to action for Christians, for a time such as this. Amen to that.

NRT lead contributor Kevin Davis is a longtime fan of Christian music, and an avid music collector. He credits the message of Christian music for leading him to Christ. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and three daughters.

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