The Songs of Zion

Sometimes not just any song will do. My soul longs to sing the songs of Zion, the songs of home, the songs of heaven.

Not about (search theme:) heaven, but the ones that give voice to the longing that we all have for a time and place where all things are made right.

​A place where God’s “nothing missing, nothing broken” shalom is present.

​And Jesus wouldn’t have wanted us to wait until we get to heaven to experience heaven on earth. After all, He taught us to pray that the Father’s will would be done “on earth (my address) as it is in heaven (his address).”

​A song like Sandra McCracken’s “We Will Feast In The House Of Zion” has been one of those for me. The chorus says:

We will feast in the house of Zion
We will sing with our hearts restored
“He has done great things!” we will say together
We will feast and weep no more

​But also are advent classics like this one:

​Come Thou long expected Jesus

Born to set Thy people free
From our fears and sins release us
Let us find our rest in Thee
Israel's strength and consolation
Hope of all the earth Thou art
Dear desire of every nation
Joy of every longing heart

​Even a song like Bethel’s Goodness of God captures it for me:

​I love You Lord

Oh Your mercy never fails me
All my days I've been held in Your hands
From the moment that I wake up
Until I lay my head
I will sing of the goodness of God

​All my life You have been faithful

All my life You have been so, so good
With every breath that I am able
I will sing of the goodness of God

​And the classic Mennonite hymn that Elisha Hoffman wrote back in 1902:

​Lord, I am fondly, earnestly longing

Into Thy holy likeness to grow,
Thirsting for more and deeper communion
Yearning Thy love more fully to know

​Open the wells of grace and salvation

Pour the rich streams deep into my heart
Cleanse and refine my thought and affection
Seal me and make me pure as Thou art.

​And this anthem has been belted by worshipers all over:

​You give life, You are love

You bring light to the darkness
You give hope, You restore every heart that is broken
And great are You, Lord

​It's Your breath in our lungs

So we pour out our praise
We pour out our praise
It's Your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise to You only

​And all the earth will shout Your praise

Our hearts will cry these bones will sing
“Great are You, Lord!”

​These songs may or may not express the longing of your hearts. But here’s why I’m sharing them with you.

  1. I don’t know what your process is for selecting songs is. Just make sure that you listen to your own soul now and again and choose a song that expresses your deepest desires. It can be a longing for nearness, a longing for shalom, a longing for exalting the LORD above all others, a longing for celebration, a longing for heaven. But choose a song that gives your longing its voice.
  2. Find out what those songs are for your congregation. Ask five people what song expresses a deep longing for them. It’s almost guaranteed that you might look over my list above and have a very “meh,” take-it-or-LEAVE-it reaction to them. And that’s ok! Lead yours yes, but lead your congregation’s too.

​Next time you’re strapping on your song-choosing glasses, pick one belter, one anthem, one “this is our song!” for your set.

-  Dave

​Ps. Song info for the above songs:
We Will Feast In The House Of Zion Joshua Moore | Sandra McCracken © 2015 Drink Your Tea Music; joshmooreownsthismusic CCLI Song # 7041364
Come Thou Long Expected Jesus Charles Wesley | Rowland Hugh Prichard © 1744 Public Domain CCLI Song # 31999
Goodness of God Ben Fielding | Brian Johnson | Ed Cash | Jason Ingram | Jenn Johnson © 2018 Alletrop Music | SHOUT! Music Publishing Australia | Fellow Ships Music | So Essential Tunes | Bethel Music Publishing CCLI Song # 7117726
Lord I Am Fondly Elisha A. Hoffman © 1902 Public Domain
Great Are You Lord David Leonard | Jason Ingram | Leslie Jordan © 2012 Integrity's Alleluia! Music | Integrity's Praise! Music | Open Hands Music | So Essential Tunes CCLI Song # 6460220