There are fresh soundscapes and new encouragement in the latest music from Rend Collective, but throughout Choose to Worship, there’s the familiar invitation to joy. Some may wonder if singing joy-filled anthems in a year that’s been such a challenge is a form of denial. Rend’s pristine percussionist and bandleader Gareth Gilkeson offers his sincere rebuttal. It’s not denial. It’s defiance.
“Well we don’t sing praise & worship to God because life is going good. I think if we were waiting for life to be perfect before we praised God, I don’t know. We may be doing it like five percent of the time!”
“We have a song called ‘I Choose to Worship’, and one of the lines in the chorus really sums it up for me. It says, ‘You’re worthy in the valley. You’re good when life is not.’ And I think that’s something for all of us to remember. God is good whenever life is good, when things are going well. But when things are a struggle it doesn’t change who God is. It just means that we are in a different circumstance.”
Obviously, those are the circumstance so many of us find ourselves in today.
“We’re in a difficult time, so we’re raising up a song that says, ‘I may not feel like it right now, but God is worthy. When the enemy says I’m done, I’ll lift my praises.’ That’s kind of the motto that we’re going with right now. ‘When my world comes crashing down, I’ll lift my praises high.'”
“And that’s the place we’re in. That’s the difference between denial and defiance. Denial is pretending everything’s fine, and we’re being fake. God doesn’t want us to be fake with Him. He wants us to be real. He wants us to say we’re struggling. He wants us to come to Him in that place of doubt, and struggle, and lost-ness.”
Gareth backs that up by pointing to the evidence right in front of us in Psalms.
“As a matter of fact – if you read the Psalms, I think about, at least a third of them are David going, ‘Help! I’m lost! I don’t know what’s going on. Where are you God? This is terrible!'”
“God wants us to come in honesty – not in denial – but in honesty. And then that’s where we find our strength. The joy is the Lord is our strength – one of our favorite scriptures. And that’s what helps carry us through those seasons.”