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Musicians on the search for worship songs about climate change

by Cara Bentley

The project is set up by Resound Worship, a group of British worship songwriters who want to equip the local church with lyrics that talk about caring for the planet.

Joel Payne, a songwriter and co-ordinator of Resound Worship, told Premier why they want to do it: "You only have to switch on the news these days for ten minutes to realise there's a big crisis in our world in terms of the environment and as a group of songwriters we're always looking at what we sing in church - the kind of language, the kind of themes and so on because they reflect quite a lot what's important to us - and we've been really aware that we don't have a lot to say in worship language, especially contemporary worship language in church, so we thought we'd better get onto it and try to write a collection of new songs which cover these kind of themes."

Anyone can submit a song idea for £5 (maximum two songs) by Friday 18th October, by filling out an online form with the song title, lyrics, chord chart or mp3 file, or a note saying that the lyrics are to the tune of a traditional hymn.

Advice on the website guides entrants to make it sound like it could seamlessly be used in a church service and gives some suggestions of places in the Bible to go to for ideas, such as Psalm 104, Genesis 2:15 and Ezekiel 34:18, about enjoying creation without ruining it.

Mr Payne added that there may be some well-known Christian songwriters also having a go: "We do know that there are some one or two notable songwriters who said they'll have a go but we also want songs from people we've never heard of who maybe have never really tried before, but you never know might have a hidden talent."

When asked about the songs that already exist that praise God's creation, he replied: "Well we do have some songs about God's creation...probably the most popular one we sing at the moment is the hymn O Lord My God When I In Awesome Wonder - it's all about surveying the creation but, interestingly, it finishes with a verse which is all about us being taken home, being taken away from the earth, and in more recent years, there's been a lot of kind of rethinking and recognising that the biblical story is not that we're all taken away from the earth, but God's plan is to restore and renew the whole creation.

"So it's quite a good example of how there are songs out there but actually some of the implicit theological messages in them aren't helping in this question about why should we as Christians be standing up and taking responsibility for this creation that God's made?"

The project is called doxecology, a portmanteau of doxology (praise) and ecology. 

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