“You Are Holy,” the closing track on Ian McIntosh’s new album has instantly become a personal favorite. Like most of the songs on his first CD, the lyrics and music facilitate an atmosphere of worship and prayer. The song’s only lyrical phrase is “You are holy… oh, so holy… You are holy, Lord of all,” repeated over and over and interspersed with musical progression for twelve minutes and fifty-three seconds.
I often bemoan excessive repetition in music as a lack of creativity, but a song like this fills me with a sort of rapture and joy that gushes out of me as I declare before God, “You are holy! Oh, so holy!” And I wonder if this is a small glimpse of what heaven must be like, where we will declare God’s holiness and glorify him forevermore. When I consider the eternalness of eternity from intellectual grounds it honestly frightens me and I have to force myself to stop thinking about it, but when I get a glimpse of God’s glory in worship I only think, in that moment, at least, that this is awesome and I want to stay in this moment.
As the music change and builds between the lyrics, I use my own words to praise God… now thanking him for all of his blessings… now slipping into prayers for the loved ones around me… now joining Ian as he resumes his persistent declaration. I am unable to truly describe the joy that comes from knowing God’s goodness and faithfulness and love, whether it’s rooted in personal experiences or simply a reminder through an encouraging word or a heartfelt song, and I can only say that if you know what I’m talking about, then… you know.
The rest of the album isn’t quite as lovely for me. Instead of the simple declarations of God’s character that inspire me to give God glory and worship and prayers, most of the songs merely echo worshippy phrases typical of charismatic-leaning worship… stuff like “what does it sound like to hear heaven’s song?… come away with me, I’ll come away with you… the light of your face… open up the heavens…” Etc. I mean, it’s cool for people who can get into that and feel God’s presence or whatever, but those lines don’t strike a chord in my soul the same ways as lines from the first album like “you are so faithful, God, you are always good… I’ll always love you… I am his and he is mine, I am fully loved… you’re so holy, father.” Those lines I can sing from the bottom of my heart because I know that God is faithful and good and that I am loved because I have seen that in my life and in the lives of those around me, and reminding myself of those truths fills me with great joy. The other stuff… eh, I don’t know, that’s just where I’m at. But it’s all good.. I’ll just keep listening to that last track.