The global phenomenon that started with one church in Sydney Australia continues to touch thousands of lives.
Hillsong Church’s 21st live album Cornerstone has arrived. I asked songwriter and worship leader Reuben Morgan what led up to it.
“In November 2011 we gathered the Sydney campuses of our church together as one. We recorded the majority of the album that made up Cornerstone, but it wasn’t until the song Cornerstone had found legs and lungs in the lives of our congregation at church, that we decided we really needed to incorporate it on this album.”
Christ alone: Cornerstone
The title track, born in the aftermath of Norway’s deadly terrorist attack, focuses on Christ being the solid rock and firm foundation.
Reuben admits, “to some it might seem odd to reach for a guitar when tears are falling on scuffed up shoes, but I really don’t know any other way of being.”
Reuben had flown into Norway as Anders Brevik's attacks were taking place. “As the city closed in, I met with some friends. We shared in the sense of shock, felt some of the pain and fear and listened as melody and words began to rise.”
When we are pushed to our limit - even to the point of death itself - there is only source of hope, there is only one cornerstone: Christ alone.
“With all the storms and struggles that we face, with the threats and fears that stack up, there is only one thing in which we can put our trust. When we are pushed to our limit - even to the point of death itself - there is only source of hope, there is only one cornerstone: Christ alone.”
How would the songwriter sum up the album?
“It’s our church coming together to bring the message of Hope in an uncertain world and one that is often filled with tragedy. The song is really an album of hope. A reminder that Christ is our Cornerstone. He is our sure foundation.”
I Will Rise
Over the years, the Hillsong team have written songs on a variety of subjects. From crying out to God in difficult times (Desert Song) to exuberant praise (My Redeemer Lives), the church has written songs that have gone global.
But one area where much of the modern worship movement has been silent is baptism. While churches have sung about the Holy Spirit, the cross and communion, there haven’t been many songs on baptism.
It was an issue Scott Ligertwood had been thinking about for some time. After hearing Brian Houston speak about having a special baptism service, Scott decided to finish his song Beneath The Waters (I Will Rise).
“In its essence, this song is about rising to the new life Romans 6:4 speaks of as well as acknowledging the submission to Christ's Lordship that baptism represents. In a broader sense, however, it has become a powerful confession of faith and salvation that has found a place across the life of our church, not just in a baptism setting.
Music with a purpose
The songs are new and the angle is fresh. As usual, the creative team at the Church have given it their all. But two things never change. The subject: Christ, and the aim of the recording.
“We would really hope and pray that those that hear it, come into a knowledge of the hope there is in Christ and reinforce their dependence on Him as their Cornerstone. Both in their church, and in their lives.”
It's this desire to see God move through their music that has meant the team have included a prayer of repentance as part of each CD's booklet. Testimonys will undoubtedly roll in to the church's Sydney office as people are impacted by the music on Cornerstone.
As a church, Hillsong’s influence on what the evangelical church have been singing for the past 21 years is unparalleled and ultimately incomparable. As usual, it’s the sound of just one church many thousands of miles away from these shores. But thanks to modern technology, thousands of Christians around the world can listen to and benefit from Cornerstone.
September 6th, 2012 - Posted & Written by Sam Hailes