From Integrity Music
When the pieces seem too shattered to gather off the floor; and all that seems to matter is that I can’t feel you anymore…I need a reason to sing.
If we’re honest, it’s a lot easier to talk about and fully embrace the seasons when God’s goodness feels so real, those proverbial spiritual mountaintops where faith is effortless and life’s little circumstances are easily explained.
But when life is hard and heartache and confusion inevitably reign, what do we do with those moments, and how do we actually worship God in the midst of them? This uncomfortable tension is precisely what fuels the latest release from All Sons & Daughters, the duo who penned the congregational favorite “All the Poor & Powerless.”
Born out of what’s happening with their unique community of believers at The Journey Church in Franklin, Tenn., worship leaders David Leonard and Leslie Jordan have written songs they hope will give people permission to not only ask questions, but to express their pain in the midst of it.
“I think that’s one of the biggest problems in the modern church right now. We don’t always give people permission to feel these things,” David says. “When things are going wrong, we tell them ‘It’s okay, God’s taking care of it.’ But if you read the Psalms, David is never afraid to express exactly what he’s feeling, so that gave us the freedom to be honest and transparent.”
To wit, the album’s affecting title track comes from a very personal place. “A lot of it stemmed from a conversation I had with my sister who was struggling to conceive,” Leslie shares. “They’d tried for four years, and she was completely broken from wondering why in the world this wasn’t happening for her.”
Adding another layer of resonance was David and his wife’s own struggles with becoming parents. “It had gotten to the point where we simply accepted that it wasn’t going to happen,” David adds. “And when we were writing this song, emotions were swirling in the room–just the question of ‘why?’. Luckily, I can say now that my wife and I have a little girl. But this is the kind of struggle that countless people are going through every day with varying results. And it’s the kind of issue that leaves us with questions.”
In this spirit of transparency, David and Leslie wanted Reason to Sing to strip away the layers of guilt and shame so that we can begin to accept God’s grace. Posing the question of whether God can love us, in spite of us, tracks like “Oh Our Lord,” “All Praise to You” and “Spirit Speaks” point listeners to the One who’s always drawing us to Himself, even when we have questions and life fails to make sense.
Adding to that reassurance is “Buried in the Grave,” a song inspired by an article David and Leslie read in Relevant magazine. “In the Easter story, we focus on the death and the resurrection but not always the waiting period in between and what that means to us as believers about being patient and obedient,” Leslie says. “I liked how the writer focused on the Saturday that comes between Friday and Sunday, which is exactly the season we feel like we’re walking through.”
Grace was in the tension of everything we’d lost,
Standing empty handed, shattered by the cross
All we had, all we had was a promise like a thread
Holding us, keeping us, oh from fraying at the edge
Produced by Paul Mabury (Hillsong, Brooke Fraser, One Sonic Society), whom David refers to as the “third member of All Sons & Daughters,” it was equally important to create an accompanying soundtrack that was stripped of pretense.
“Rather than looking at aesthetics or serving the emotion of the moment, Paul was driving us to look at our church, at the lyrics and the movement of the music and how it all relates to our community,” says David. And whether they’re ministering at their home church or at congregations across the globe, the one thing that keeps them grounded is community.
“For us, it’s an intangible,” Leslie shares. “In this past year, we’ve realized just how much we need our community. It’s life-giving and makes such a difference. Plus, as worship leaders, you’re not going to know the songs your body needs to sing if you don’t know your body. So that’s why it’s so incredibly important to dig into life with your church.”