A Narrative Accompaniment
By Garry D. Nation
© 2000 Garry D. Nation. All rights reserved.
This poem/narrative script was written as an accompaniment to be read during a one-time performance of the contemporary oratorio Saviour created by Greg Nelson and Bob Farrell (c. 1994 Warner Bros. Records, Inc.)
Disclaimer: This script is not related to or dependent upon the above mentioned work except as regards the occasion which prompted its writing, and is altogether the composition of Garry D. Nation, who is solely responsible for its content and arrangement. Musical cues are of the author's own conception and offered as a suggestion to the reader. Neither the composers nor producers of either the book or the recording of the oratorio Saviour have given any input or approval to what is written here. The ideas, words, and selections and arrangements of Scripture are the author's own and represent his own understanding of the music of the oratorio and the theology implicit in it. This narrative accompaniment is not intended to reflect the understanding or intentions of the composers or producers of the Oratorio. (Although I hope that it does.)
The author recommends that the reader procure his own copy of the recording or book, because this composition simply would not exist without the melodious and richly nuanced songs and lyrics of Greg Nelson and Bob Farrell along with the sweeping arrangements and orchestrations of David Hamilton and Ron Huff—not to mention the outstanding performances of the star vocalists and choir along with the London Orchestra.
I love this music. There is not a weak song in the stack.
I don't know that there is any song I have ever enjoyed singing more than the duet, "My Heart Belongs to You." I have sung this several times together with Mark Taylor, a marvelous tenor, and the song never gets old. It's always fresh, always a challenge, musically rich, lyrically profound. It is also one of the most vocally demanding songs I've sung. I will forever remember the first time Mark and I performed it publicly, because on that day I was still suffering from the effects of a severe cold, and my voice had not at all healed sufficiently even to talk. Yet I was enabled to sing the song twice that morning, and only my wife (who had heard me trying to vocalize in the shower with a toneless noise) would believe that I did not "have it" that day. The song will always be a testimony to me of God's power to lift me beyond what I am able (and unable) to do. (Click to see and hear a performance of - sung when my voice was healthy.)
Of all the songs, however, the one that still moves me the most is "Kings of the Earth," inspired by Psalm 2 (with a powerful orchestral string prelude clearly inspired by Beethoven's Sonata No. 8 "Pathetique"—oh yeah!). While it encompasses a Judgment Day theme, it is not so much about the wrath of God as it is about His sovereign majesty, the glory of His name, and His loving and protective regard for His people. In the midst of this thunderous song appears a recitative chorus of sublime blessings sung in quiet confidence:
At this point the song explodes into a doxology as thrilling as any that has ever been written into music. It's one of those songs that can bring you into The Presence and draw you up in adoration.
I love this music!
Here is my offering alongside it—theology in non-prose, I suppose. I pray you might find something here also that may bring you into The Presence and draw you up in adoration. (If you want to read just the narrative without the musical cues,
Blessed are His children,
Blessed are His covenants,
Blessed is His mighty kingdom,
And blessed is the name of the Lord.
Before music begins
Before anything ever was, before there was time or space,
God was there—
Eternally Three: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit;
Eternally One: perfect, self-sufficient, needing nothing,
Happy in Himself.
Yet by His own will, by His Word,
He interrupted His eternal peace
And called into being the heavens and the earth.
The answer is found in a story—a love story
That begins in the eternal heart
[Overture; “In the Beginning”]
The Lover and the Beloved
Begin narration measure 63, continue through segue to “My Heart Belongs to You”
Spirit, Light, Life, Love,
The Eternal One.
Yet even in His perfection, the eternal Lover
Seeks to expand the circle of His love—
For it is love’s glory to be given freely to the Beloved,
And freely returned to the Lover.
So He said, “Let us make man
In Our image, and after Our likeness,”
So that he also may know My love,
And enjoy Me
Begin narration at measure 1, “Where…”.
A beautiful life.
But the Lover has a rival.
True love is shadowed by a counterfeit,
And this new circle of love is too soon shattered…
By a lie.
[“Where Are You, Adam?”]
Recite narration after “Where Are You” and before music begins “Promised Land”
The consequences are terrible.
With sin comes guilt, shame,
These follow man through the ages
In a train of ruin, violence, and despair.
Yet the Eternal Lover remains faithful.
He chooses one man of faith
Through whom the Saviour will one day come.
He leads the man's descendents into Egypt
To preserve them.
There God makes them a great nation.
And then the world turns against them,
And there they are enslaved.
Why Do the Nations Rage?
Begin narration at measure 1 of Interlude to “Kings…”
[Sternly, with fierce indignation]
Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket,
They are counted as no more than dust on the scales.
He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth,
And its people are like grasshoppers.
He brings the princes to naught,
And reduces the rulers of the world to nothing.
He blows on them and they wither,
And a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff.*
*Isaiah 40:15,22,23,24 (NIV)
[“Kings of the Earth”]
The Father’s Beloved Son
Begin narration after “Kings,” before music begins “Rose of Sharon”
Yes, His kingdom will prevail.
But it is not through force of might that the world must be won,
But rather through a power more awesome, more sublime—
The power of His unending love.
Begin score, “Rose of Sharon”
In the fullness of time, God sent forth His Son,
His beloved Son, from His own bosom.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us,
And we beheld His glory,
The glory of the only begotten of the Father,
Full of grace and truth.*
[“Rose of Sharon”]
Begin first stanza of narration under score, “Rose of Sharon” at measure 101
See My Servant whom I have chosen,
My beloved in whom my soul delights.
He will not quarrel nor cry out.
A bruised reed he will not break,
And a smoldering wick he will not quench,
And in his name will the nations trust.*
*Isaiah 42:1-3,4; Matthew 12:18-21
Begin second stanza of narration under score, “Rose of Sharon” at measure 126, following “Heart” Reprise.
He was in the world, and the world was made through Him,
But the world did not know Him.
He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.*
[“We Need a Savior”]
[“Man of Sorrows” & “We need a Savior” (Reprise)]
The Suffering Servant
Begin narration before music, “Cross of Love”
We have never been kind toward those who disappoint us.
We turned our backs on our eternal Lover,
And turned in hatred toward His beloved Son.
We took Him and lifted Him up on a cross of torture and death.
How is it then that He said,
“No one takes my life—I give it away”?
What did He mean when he declared,
“If I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto me”?
Begin score, “Cross of Love”
What kind of man is this?
What kind of love is this?
[“Cross of Love”]
Love Is Stronger than Death
Begin narration after “Cross,” before music begins “So Shall We Live.” Start trumpet solo (measure 1) as Narrator begins line “Even so all who are in Christ….”
Love’s redeeming work is nearly done.
Only one barrier remains between man and eternal life,
Between us sinners and the love that saves us:
A tomb with a stone rolled across the entrance.
It is no match for Him.
Love is stronger than Death.
Crucified Love arose.
It was not possible for Death to hold him in its power.
He is the resurrection and the life.
Whoever believes in Him, though he die, yet he shall live.
For just as all who are in Adam die,
Even so all who are in Christ shall be made alive.
[“So Shall We Live”]
His Love Is for You
Begin narration after “So Shall,” before music begins “For All These Things”
Our story is done, but His love goes on.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son,
That whoever believes in Him should not perish,
But have eternal life.*
His love is for you.
Will you now believe in Him, and receive the gift of His love,
Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift.**
*John 3:16 **2 Corinthians 9:15
[“For All These Things”]
A Narrative Accompaniment
with musical cues