why you need Rising Tide, a song that covers the cross to the second coming

by Bobby Gilles

in Exhortations And Musings,Songwriting/Hymn Workshop,Worship Leading

Reproduction of the Sistine Chapel's "The Last Judgment" by MichelangeloFew contemporary praise & worship songs deal with the Last Days, and even fewer tell the epic story of Christ and His Church, from First Advent to Second. Yet it’s important for us to remember our place in this grand story. We also must continuously remind ourselves of the preeminent place of the Cross in that story. No matter how Satan rages, no matter how this world groans under the weight of sin, Jesus Christ has assured our victory and has promised to return.

For this reason Kristen and I wrote the modern hymn Rising Tide. You and your church will have fun singing this one. Like an old folk ballad, “Rising Tide” tells a linear story that, in effect, unites the singers in their shared experience.

In our first verse “God entered time/came as a babe.” Then we sing about Jesus growing up and casting Satan down “like lightning” (Luke 10:18). We explore the irony that the means of Satan’s defeat was the very thing that he thought was victory — the cross, in which Jesus crushed Satan’s head (Genesis 3:15) and canceled our sin debt (Colossians 2:13-15).

Then we sing of his resurrection, in which he took the sting out of death (1 Corinthians 15:44), then His ascension (Acts 1:6-10), followed by:

“Then sent His Spirit, like the wind,
To draw us in, to lead us home”
— Acts 2, day of Pentecost

But as we know, the story doesn’t end there. We have our own part in it, as has every Christian who has ever lived. Christ is plundering Satan’s stronghold, saving lives and transforming hearts today (Luke 11:20-22, Mark 4:30-34). The body of Christ grows ever larger because we have the gift of eternal life. Christians die, then go to heaven to await our return with him, while new souls are continuously added here on earth (Hebrews 12:18-24, 1 Thessalonians 4:14-16).

“No force can stop the spreading Church,
No foe can stem the rising tide
Of those alive in Second Birth
Through Him who lives, though crucified”

In the final verse, we sing of the culmination — the inevitable end of the forces of darkness, the triumph of the saints, and the invincible might of Christ. From the middle of this verse:

“When trumpet sounds, He’ll bring His Church,
Stamp out each desperate trace of sin,”
— Matthew 24:30-31, Zechariah 14:4, Revelation 19:11-21

And we end with a picture of the new heaven and new earth (Revelation 21-22), the final, lasting proof that Jesus has delivered us from darkness and transferred us to the Kingdom (Colossians 1:13).

Kristen and I wrote the “Rising Tide” verses in “Long Meter,” (lines of 8 syllables each), one of the three most common meters, and one particularly suited to epic storytelling and grand themes. (for you “metric nerds” like me, I will say that I chopped a syllable off of each verse’s final line — it creates a sharpened, dramatic effect that builds well toward the chorus). Then we gave it a melody that is memorable and easy to sing.

The verses give way to a simple refrain, which we repeat twice:

Oh rising tide of righteousness —
The Kingdom is at hand!

And for you friends of our church’s worship ministry Sojourn Music, we were honored to have Brooks Ritter join Kristen on vocals. We’re excited to share this worship song with you next week, when we’ll release it for free as part of the new Kristen Gilles EP The Whole Big Story. You’ll be able to download it for free right here on My Song In The Night or Noisetrade.com/kristengilles.

Get the chord sheet and watch Kristen demonstrate how to play Rising Tide on guitar, here.

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