The Heaven’s-Eye View of Finding Favour’s New Album
On Sunday mornings as the worship from church services rises up around the world in one time zone after another — like an offering to God that slowly burns over a 24-hour period — I like to imagine the scene from Heaven’s perspective. I imagine God sees the earth on Sunday mornings and sees pillars of incense, that sweet smelling incense of hearts burning for Him with joy and adoration, rising up like little pillars of smoke, one after another — millions of them — slowly around the world as the sun leisurely illuminates each time zone.
It’s that same kind of Heaven’s-eye view that I perceive in Finding Favour’s new album “Reborn.” But it’s not just some theoretical vantage point. These musicians have been through the fire of the most painful grief that life can bring, as seen in the heartbreaking, moving, but ultimately inspiring testimony of the band’s drummer, Jeff Duckworth. (I have included his testimony, as explained in his words, at the end of my review. It is extremely moving and worth reading.)
But through all of the pain, God has been faithful, and this truth shines like a lighthouse throughout the album. And that Heaven’s-eye view vantage point presides over every track.
The first song, “Refuge,” sets the tone: “My soul it sings to You, / Oh God You are my refuge, / I will cling, I will cling to You.” The clarion clear tone of the lead guitar in the chorus stirs comparisons with U2’s “City of Blinding Lights,” and its pentatonic intervals (also in the chorus) add a subtle sound that’s reminiscent of classical Chinese music. All of it — the power anthem of the chorus hook with the guitars — give the song a feeling of altitude.
Even the music sounds like it’s looking down from Heaven at the earth and all its cares. And that’s the altitude — and the attitude — that we need.
My favorite song is “Hallelujah One More Time,” which really brought to mind that picture of the global church worshiping on a Sunday morning. It’s track 10 on the album, and it surrenders smoothly to the final track, a stirring, contemplative version of their hit single “Say Amen,” with this album’s “Say Amen (Reprise).”
Other tracks like “I’ll Find You” (with its exhilarating Irish-esque, perhaps Coldplay “Every Teardrop is a Waterfall”-esque sixteenth-note guitar work) that creates a sense of running at full speed to reach somebody you’ve been looking for a long time, captures the burning heart we feel on earth once we adopt the eternal perspective of a Heaven’s-eye view.
Other songs like “Reborn,” “Til Your Kingdom Comes,” and the single “Cast My Cares,” which declares “When fear feels bigger than my faith…I’ll trade the troubles of this world for Your peace inside my soul!” all continues the string of massive rock/pop anthems that keep the elevation, the eternal perspective of the album, above the clouds.
But then the album comes down to earth in a surprisingly endearing, affecting way that — and this is the most surprising, interesting part — doesn’t feel out of place with the rest of the high-spirited, worship anthem-style tracks.
“Feels Like The First Time” is a solid country/pop-style love song, complete with banjo and a country song-style narration where the singer tells a story about the love of his life and how it’s possible for romance and marriage to stay fresh and full of vitality.
“Be Like You” is a moving ballad told from the perspective of a Dad thinking about his kids, doting over them, thanking God for them, and asking God for help in raising them.
“Tiny Town” talks about family and life in a small town, how quickly time goes by, how the best of times slip by so easily, and wonderful lines like “fly fishin’ out at Grandma’s house” — an especially moving song if you grew up in a small town (as I did).
It’s impressive to see a Christian rock/pop album capture such a persuasive faith vantage point — that Heaven’s-eye view of the eternal perspective — while simultaneously capturing a convincing, earnest life-on-the-ground view point that’s stock full of odes to wives, children, family, humble churches, and small towns.
“Reborn” is a reflection of reality: we live our lives here on earth as best we can — with strong ties, joys, and sorrows along the way — but ultimately our true home is in Heaven.
And here is the powerful, heartbreaking-but-inspiring testimony of the band’s drummer Josh Duckworth:
As the only son, I grew up in a household of two younger sisters. My youngest sister, Jenna, was born when I was eight. All I can really remember about her birth was that it was a difficult time for my family. Jenna was born with many complications. Brain damage, heart failure and deafness were just a few complications to name. I remember as a child that she always had to have some kind medical attention. Because of the special attention she needed, my family never had the freedom to “do” what we pleased. She always needed special attention.
As Jenna grew a little older more medical problems occurred, such as stomach failure and seizures. She needed a colostomy bag, and also even needed stomach tubing in order to eat.
Two years ago, as I was on a tour in the northern part of America, I received a phone call early in the morning from my dad in Texas. I answered the phone. He was weeping. He was weeping so much so that I could hardly understand what he was saying. When he was able to compose himself, he said, “Jenna passed away last night.” It was a horrific scene on that night to say the least. They tried everything to resuscitate her but it was God¹s time for her to go.
Jenna was almost nineteen when she passed. At her birth, doctors pronounced that she would never be normal. They said she¹d never walk, eat normal or do anything normal in general. They were wrong! Jenna, through the power of prayer, proved them wrong. Even with her complications, she lived a life full of joy. She was happy and did 99% of what doctors said she’d never do.
I could write a book on her and her living testimony of who she was to me, what she taught me and so many others. I live everyday with her in my heart. Jenna was and still is a shining light in my heart. I truly believe she was one of the greatest gifts God ever placed in my life. She taught me, through the grace of God, what it means to live, what it means to have and so much more.
I got married last year to my beautiful wife, Nicole. We¹ve been married now for almost ten months. It’s been the best ten months of my life and I’m so thankful for her.
Just six months into our marriage, Nicole and I found out we were expecting. Though this was unexpected, we were extremely overwhelmed and joyful from the news! I couldn’t beli
eve I would be a father and she couldn¹t believe she would be a mother. We called family and friends to announce the amazing news.
Three months into the pregnancy we had tests that included a sonogram. On the evening after the visit, Nicole received a phone call from our doctor. She had a “disappointed” tone in her voice. Nicole knew something wasn¹t right.
We found out that Nicole would have a miscarriage. I was at a rehearsal with the band that evening and when I heard the news I rushed home to comfort my wife. Our hearts were broken.
The hardest part about this is that I had to leave on tour a couple of days after we found out the news. It was one of the hardest moments in my life. I did not want to leave her. It was extremely tough to be out at that time knowing she’d be home having to endure the pain without me at her side.
God’s taught me so much through what many would see as just trial and tribulation. These moments in time have been a test of my faith, and although I grieve and hurt just like any normal human being, I’ve grown in my walk with Jesus. I know Jesus more through His passionate love, grace and His understanding. I¹ve never felt His peace as much. I see His beauty through it all. Even in my grieving, I see Him more.
I continue to want to know Him more. There’s always redemption, believing and knowing God has everything in His hands. I know this isn’t the end but only the beginning.