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Loved, No Matter What
Posted September 06, 2016
By KevinDavis_NRT, Staff Reviewer


Citizens & Saints hooked me with their unique brand of gourmet alternative rock-infused worship with their stirring debut Citizens, which released while they were part of Mars Hill Music in Seattle. That project, the song "Made Alive" and the band name are all based on Ephesians 2. That type of bold exclamation about the truth of the grace of Jesus can be found in each of their albums, with "You Brought Me Back to Life" and "The Mighty Hand of God" keeping that vibe going in their sophomore release Join the Triumph, one of my top 10 worship albums of 2014.

I didn't think this incredibly talented band could take it up another notch until I heard the infectious electronic musical hook and passionate lyrics of "Faith" from their new third release, A Mirror Dimly. The song is a beautiful depiction of the biblical concept of "walking by faith and not by sight," with lead singer Zach Bolen passionately singing "I'm putting faith in someone I can't see / this is the promise of my hope, that I am loved as one of His own... / faith is true sight, see with new eyes, taste of His life!"

After enduring the dissolution of Mars Hill church in Seattle, the band has truly been living in faith and trusting in God to help them see His plans through the fog of "a mirror dimly" reflecting. The song "Relent" captures this profession of faith with the refrain "I relent, You can have it all / this life is not my own / I surrender all I have to follow You."

"Day by Day" is the middle track and ties the songs together, professing "bought with blood paid on a tree, I am not who I was, now I am who I am, a sinner saved, a stumbling saint." That applies to each of us who are citizens and saints of Heaven when we remember the gift of His grace, that as followers of Jesus we are a sinner saved... day by day. It is a great reminder of what's most important. 

Our identity as God's "Kids" is poetically described as Zach sings out, "He raised us up when we were dead in our graves, He bought us with the blood of His Son / He washed us clean, He's claimed us as His daughters and sons... we are kids of grace." That's what living in grace is all about, reverently celebrating grace: God's Riches at Christ's Expense. 

Closing Thoughts:
For me, this is easily the top worship album of the year. We were all created to worship, and this album gives us several creative and biblically-based expressions. As sung in "How Majestic," we can conclude together in Christ "all is well, mercies are new this day, oh Lord our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth."

From the truth of "Your ways are not my ways" in "Madness" to "rejoice and be glad in Him" in "My Joy Complete," this album is loaded with prayerful language that will encourage you and lift high the majestic name of Jesus. While we can't see everything in our fallen world through life's mirror dimly obscuring grace and truth, this album will remind you we are God's "Kids" and "loved no matter what" to help you overcome your "Doubting Doubts."

Song to Download Now:
"Relent" (Get it on iTunes here.)

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