Give Us Rest or (A Requiem Mass in C [The Happiest of All Keys])
For more than a decade, David Crowder and the long list of musicians who've been a part of his band have been a creative force in the world of worship music, blending such disparate musical influences as bluegrass, rap, rock and electronica. It's no surprise, then, that the group's swan song, Give Us Rest or (A Requiem Mass in C [The Happiest of All Keys]), covers all that territory and more. This two-disc, 34-song effort borrows its musical and theological structure from the Catholic requiem mass, an elaborate liturgical undertaking often performed at the funeral of a beloved and devout believer.
Accordingly, Crowder's spiritual musings fixate upon the promise of new life—a promise we begin to experience here and now but will only taste in full when we are in Christ's physical presence.
Quite a few of these songs are instrumentals, given context by neighboring lyrics exuding the longing of someone who's drunk deeply at the fount of grace but who nevertheless understands his own brokenness and desperate need for a Savior. "Fall on Your Knees" observes, "He spoke, and my heart burst to life." Our only proper response? "Fall on your knees/Forgiven and clean/Forgiven and free/Oh, my God; oh, my God/It's too wonderful/ … To feel this grace rescuing/Lifting us up, washing our feet."
Then, "This place is trying to break my believe," Crowder sings on "Let Me Feel You Shine. "What I need is redemption/What I need is for You to put me back on my feet/ … I swear I'm trying to give you everything." And on "Oh My God," he prays, "King of Glory, oh, my Jesus Christ/Free me from what keeps me from Your life."
Several songs look forward to the glory of heaven and the hope of it we find in Christ. "Blessedness of Everlasting Light" imagines a place where there's "no more pain, no more night." Likewise, "Come Find Me" rejoices, "Today is the day of glory/Today is the day I'm home/oh day, what a day/Oh day, I'm Yours/Oh day of resurrection."
Crowder also exclaims, "I bow low with all my heart" (on "Sequence 6"), petitioning God for mercy on "Sequence 7": "When all is done/Judgment comes/And we will stand/Right in front of Him/Spare us, oh God/ … Have mercy, oh God." Similarly profound thoughts permeate "There Is a Sound." We hear, "Behold the Lamb of God/Who takes away our sin/Behold the Lamb of God/Who makes us whole again/Have mercy/He alone is holy/He alone is most high/To God be the glory."
To say that this is a massive effort is a massive understatement. It's hard to wrap your head around the breadth and scope of what David Crowder and his famously asterisked band have accomplished here, both musically and theologically. Christianity Today reviewer Ron Augustine hyperbolically summed it up by saying, "The overzealousness of Give Us Rest is comparable to watching all three Lord of the Rings films in one sitting. It's epic, inspiring, breathtaking."
For all that, and its long-winded title too, Give Us Rest or (A Requiem Mass in C [The Happiest of All Keys]) never feels self-absorbed. It's certainly not shallow. Nor is it emotionally deficient. Crowder's lyrics are achingly honest and earnest and spiritually sound, bringing to mind the work of Switchfoot's Jon Foreman and the fiery songs of late Christian troubadours Rich Mullins and Keith Green.