Higher Than I #5: Great Is Your Love

Higher Than I

Great Is Your Love is the fourth track of the Clayton Church worship album, Higher Than I, which was officially launched on Sunday 1 May.

Album Tracks/Index

  1. Praise to the Lord Almighty
  2. Higher Than I
  3. Blessed Assurance
  4. Great is Your Love (This article)
  5. You Are 
  6. How Majestic
  7. I Desire
  8. Breathe on Me
  9. What A Friend We Have In Jesus
  10. Wonderful Cross
  11. Summary / One Month Review

Official Links

Song Background & Lyric Analysis

This song was written in reflection of how much God loves and cares for us. It was thrown out at first but then at the last minute we pulled it out of the bin! It is now one of our favourite songs. Written by our church worship director, the first reiteration of the song struggled to sound right partly because the flow of the song was a little different to the final version we now appreciate.

After concentrating on other songs, a fresh look at this song was attempted by the female vocalists who were inspired to try and sing it. In part the ambience of the whole worship environment and presence of God that the other songs had led to helped us adjust and calibrate the whole feel of the song. With a change in approach led by the girls, the song took the more familiar path and style that we now know as the song:

Verse
Your love Lord
Satisfies my needs
What greatness awaits when we meet
You’re far above anything that I’ve ever loved
And I can never doubt Your love for us

Chorus
How great is Your love
How wide is Your love
How deep is Your love, O God
Your marvellous deeds
Exceed every need
How great is Your love

Great is Your love

The song itself is a very simple arrangement and composition, made up of a single verse and chorus. It is in this simplicity that space and freedom of worship emerges. One of the great features of this song is just that – the space and openness of the song and chord progression. The melody of the song is fairly intuitive once the first words “Your love Lord” are sung. This opening bar also sets the slow to medium pace of the song, since the worshipper is given all the time to declare back to God that His Love satisfies our need. Indeed, Psalm 90:14 states:

Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.

Having meditated on the fact of His unfailing love indeed is all we really need to give us purpose and meaning in this life, then next thought that this song guides us through is that when we next meet God, there is a promise of greatness and goodness of being in His presence. The Lord our God is far above anything that we have ever loved. This is also a biblical truth that Paul’s letter to the Ephesians espouses:

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.

Having pondered the greatness of God and His Holiness should be a reassurance for our faith, helping us to avoid and not fall into moments of doubting that God loves us. Lamentations 3:19-26 shows that when we experience doubt this is a very human experience and part of the answer is to be reminded of God’s unfailing love for us:

The thought of my pain and my homelessness is bitter poison. I think of it constantly, and my spirit is depressed. Yet hope returns when I remember this one thing: The Lord’s unfailing love and mercy still continue, fresh as the morning, as sure as the sunrise. The Lord is all I have, so in him I put my hope.

Indeed, Great Is Your Love is a song on the restorative nature of God’s love which brings about hope and peace. When our lives fall apart, the tendency is to focus and give oxygen to the pain and source of stress. Whilst this is our base human instinct at work, the challenge that Jeremiah issues through Lamentations is to turn our eyes onto God and His love. Even in times of despair or even being upset with God, we need to remind ourselves that He loves us. Remembering that His love is unconditional and that we cannot change this should help to restore our faith and hope. Even if we complain, yell or scream at God, He will still love us for eternity. At the start of the Lamentation verse above, Jeremiah’s initial focus is on his pain and homelessness. He even recognises that the constant thought of it and depressed spirit was a bitter poison that was consuming him.

Jeremiah then flicks the mental switch to change his thoughts. It is often said that if we want to change our lives, we need to change our thoughts. This is explicitly articulated in the verse: “Yet hope returns when I remember this one thing: The Lord’s unfailing love and mercy still continue, fresh as the morning, as sure as the sunrise. The Lord is all I have, so in him I put my hope.” We will not realise that God is all we need until He is all we end up with. The truism here is that when we recognise and step into the position of realisation that God is all we need, it also gets better because God promises to take care of us. Whenever we start to doubt God’s love invariably there are silly mistakes and decisions we have made. It gets dangerous when we start to explore the whole thought process “I know better than God, and I amm going to start choosing my way to do things rather than following God’s way of doing things.” The key to breaking out of the cyclic thought process is to remember Lamentations 3:31-33:

The Lord is merciful and will not reject us forever. He may bring us sorrow, but his love for us is sure and strong. He takes no pleasure in causing us grief and pain.

God loves us. He is neither the strict parent that we cannot please, or the imperfect parent with weaknesses and faults who messed up. He is the eternal, all-knowing, infallible God who created us – He promises to love us and never leave us. Great Is Your Love is a good worship song to assist with this journey. By the time we have sung the verse and contemplated the impact of the lyrics, we should have prepared ourselves for the mindset that the lyrics of the chorus first half then break into as rhetorical questions:

How great is Your love?
How wide is Your love?
How deep is Your love, O God!

The second half of the chorus then focus on the truth that God’s marvellous deeds have exceeded our every need. Indeed, His love is marvellously great and glorious. The final repetition of the lyric “How great is Your love” brings the song to a conclusion.

In the following original song arrangement, it is highly intentional to call out the instances of instrumental playing because of the nature of the song:

  1. Introductory instrumental
  2. Verse
  3. Instrumental
  4. Verse
  5. Chorus
  6. Chorus
  7. Instrumental (Last Line)
  8. Chorus
  9. Last Line

 

Comments