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Song Story: O Praise The Name (Anástasis)

Oct 6 2015

This was the song that almost never existed.

One day Dean Ussher, Ben Hastings, and myself were writing and trying to come up with a song that really resonated and we got stuck. We took a break and grabbed a bite to eat at a place called ‘The Trinity’ (ironically). While we were there we began talking about the hymns and their timelessness, and how powerful many of those older songs are. How Great Thou Art, Amazing Grace (among others) were mentioned and we set out to write something which would be (as we say) ‘a tip of the hat’ to those inspirational songs.

We crafted the melody almost line by line, and tried to pay attention to the nuances of what the melody was doing as a whole once the lines were placed together as one stanza. We looked at the clock after what seemed like only minutes, and our time was up. One whole day, one verse melody. Not the greatest output for three competent songwriters!

Dean lives interstate, so Ben and I set up another day to write some lyrics around this newly-crafted melody. We got as far as thematically setting out the redemption story across multiple verses, beginning with Christ’s crucifixion and ending in His resurrection. We tried to dig deeper for detail to expose the reality of the story of Christ’s most important hours. Once again time escaped us too quickly and we left the song for another day.

SEE ALSO: O Praise the Name (Anástasis): Easter Song Study

Time had passed long enough for us to put the song in the ‘may not finish’ basket, when Cass Langton messaged to ask whether I had any ideas for an Easter song. I said I would check and I rediscovered the hymn idea. I spent the rest of the day engrossed in the narrative of the crucifixion and resurrection and the moments surrounding it. The verses took in more of the detail that Ben and I had placed, and with Easter approaching the song took on a new meaning. I knew the song needed a Chorus and the most fitting idea seemed like a simple response of praise to the gravity of Christ’s defining moment on Earth — the moment we hinge our eternal futures upon.

The contrast between the emotional humanity of the narrative and the eternal significance of it upon us today still impacts me. It is a timeless message and I pray that its significance is reflected appropriately in this song, O Praise The Name (Anástasis).