NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Wednesday, April 5th.
Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day.
Good morning. I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard.
Coming next on The World and Everything in It: With His wounds we are healed.
Those words from Isaiah 53 will be spoken and sung around the world this week, as we turn our attention to the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.
EICHER: Well, our friend and cohost Myrna Brown met a singer/songwriter who put that entire passage to music.
REICHARD: Yeah, let’s listen!
ADAM WRIGHT: When I think about the Word, the Bible has always been around in my life. My parents, we’d read it together when I was a kid. It was present in our church growing up.
MYRNA BROWN, CORRESPONDENT: But as a music major in college, Adam Wright says he never considered adding crescendos, chords and choirs to God’s Word. That all changed in 20-13. Wright was working as a worship director for a church in his hometown of Birmingham, Alabama.
WRIGHT: I had the idea. I was like, I wonder if anyone had done this before. And I found a few things and wasn’t super impressed. It really didn’t resonate with me and I said, I’m going to sit down and try to do this in my own style and see what happens.
Ten years and eight albums later, Wright is still putting passages from the Bible to music. Wright uses the ESV or the English Standard Version as his translation source. His album, With His Wounds We Are Healed, divides the end of Isaiah 52 and all of 53 into five songs or Movements that foretell the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus.
WRIGHT: You think about the beatings, the insults, being nailed to a cross and suffocating just the immense torture that he endured for his people. And so there’s a balance of mourning his suffering, but also rejoicing in the fact that it is finished.
Wright’s handling of that delicate balance is what makes this project one of the most well done and memorable Easter albums you’ll likely hear this year. Its strength hinges on the instruments Wright has curated for the project. For instance, Movement One covers the last three verses in Isaiah 52. The string instruments are vibrant and upbeat, almost dancing as the scripture reveal what Jehovah’s Servant has accomplished.
MUSIC: [Movement One: Behold my servant shall prosper. He shall be high and lifted up and shall be exalted.]
MUSIC: [MOVEMENT TWO INTRO]
In Movement Two, Wright uses swells of strings, piano flourishes, along with the mandolin and upright bass to support the first three agonizing verses of Isaiah 53.
MUSIC: [Movement Two: Who has believed what he has heard from us and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?]
MUSIC: [Movement Three: He was pierced for our transgressions.]
If you are an admirer of the cello and its deep, rich sound, you won’t be disappointed with Movement Three, which covers verses 4 - 7 of Isaiah 53. Wright’s strong harmonies are also worth noting. And he seems to instinctively know which parts of scripture to accentuate or, in musical terms, tag.
MUSIC: [Movement Three: And with his wounds we are healed. And with his wounds we are healed.]
If you’re wondering why you haven’t heard of Adam Wright or his Corner Room ministry, it’s likely because he’s an independent artist who actually records his Scripture songs at his church in a tiny corner room.
WRIGHT: I have an old shell of a piano that I converted into a desk. I’ve got my recording equipment. I’ve got a handful of microphones and a keyboard. And I think it’s been really helpful to not think too large, but just faithfully on a very small level.
Wright says he doesn’t need to seek a bigger spotlight. He’s already seen God enlarge his territory.
SPENCER MOREAU: In about 20 minutes or so we’re going to begin a five movement musical project based on Isaiah 53.
More than 650 miles east of Birmingham, a worship band in Coppell, Texas is planning its 20-23 Good Friday service. Wright’s music will once again be featured.
GRACEPOINT CHURCH: By oppression and judgment he has taken.
This is audio from last year’s service. Worship leader Spencer Moreau says every man, woman and child at that service was engaged.
MOREAU: Everyone was leaning in. People had their Bibles opened. There was definitely this kind of gasp in the room like, "Woe!"
MUSIC: [MOVEMENT FIVE INTRO]
Well said! Both Movements Four and Five are hauntingly beautiful. Movement Five covers the final three verses of Isaiah 53 with piano, strings, percussion, and a choir. Wright uses all of it to paint a vivid picture of Christ’s atoning work on the cross.
There really isn’t anything to dislike about these Scripture songs. I do think, however, the five additional instrumental versions of the songs are probably unnecessary. Don’t get me wrong, the music is every bit of excellent, but the music without the inspired Word of God is like, well, a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
Bottom line: Don’t miss Adam Wright’s With His Wounds We Are Healed. This is music you’ll go back to beyond Easter weekend.
SOUND: [BELLS TOLL OVER WRIGHT SINGING: Behold my servant shall prosper, he shall be high and lifted up and shall be exalted.]
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