Saturday, May 16, 2015

We Will Glorify -- Twila Paris

She had a new career, a direction she had considered, so she must have had a few thoughts about an overarching strategy for this plan. Perhaps it was something she wanted to be the overriding theme of her latest project, her second album as a 20-something. “We Will Glorify” was a declaration that Twila Paris made early in her career as a singer-songwriter, as a 24-year old who probably wanted to convey not just a brief message about her own intentions. She evidently thought of this as her life’s approach, and sought to bring others along for the journey. I can glorify, but what’s it like when others join in (like the picture here by Charles Sprague Pearce suggests)?   

Twila Paris’ message would not have been a surprise to anyone who’d witnessed her life up until her 24th year, one bathed in Christian examples and habits that she continued to draw upon for her musical influence. She was an active part of her family’s evangelistic life, even as a child who before the age of 10 had recorded her first album that included hymns her father’s ministry used in his messages. She was accustomed to the group experience as a Christian believer, and must have heard God’s various names repeatedly. What would one expect to hear from Twila Paris on an album she was making in 1982 with the title Keepin’ My Eyes on You? Twila hasn’t shared exactly what made “We Will Glorify” spring from her consciousness that year, perhaps because it’s pretty obvious what motivated her. She was thinking of the various names, the multiple roles that God played in the life she’d led up to that point. ‘King of kings’, ‘lamb’, ‘Lord of lords’, and ‘Great I Am’ are just the ones she called out in the first verse. The Lord’s position as Jehovah, and as overseer of every created being above, below, and in the universe beyond was also on Twila’s mind. Could He be any larger or more omnipotent than how she describes Him in the song’s four verses? How can one believer acclaim His being even more? Maybe this song is Twila’s answer, as she uses ‘we’ to express the multiplicity of those who call out to Him. The way to magnify my joy at praising Him is to draw, to invite, others to do the same.

I can thank Him for taking care of me personally, but to see His hand on so many others around me is also reason to exclaim, to pump my fists in jubilation. Twila’s experience as a worshipper, among, inside, and around others must have made it very easy for her to think others would want to worship, to glorify Him. And, not just as a one-time ‘thank you’, either. ‘How does one keep her eyes on someone like God?’, Twila may have quizzed herself in 1982. He has so many names, it just makes a lot of spiritual sense to use them all and remind myself and others just how vast His being is. He has lots of names, perhaps because there are so many of us who need Him in so many ways.

Check out the following links to read about the composer:

See the book“Our God Reigns: The Stories behind Your Favorite Praise and Worship Songs”, by Phil Christensen and Shari MacDonald, Kregel Publications, 2000, for further background on the composer.

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