Most of the finest were written a couple of decades (or more) ago.

For instance, “A Strange Way to Save the World,” by the Christian group 4Him, came out during the ’80s.  Here, the singer marvels that God has chosen lowly Mary, a manger, etc. as a means to establishing the greatest thing the world could ever receive.  The lead vocal is likable and mild-mannered, the music spare in parts and lovely, while the lyrics are intelligent.  “Strange Way” is considered a Christmas song but it’s no more or less than a Christian song, and a great one at that.

The Twila Paris number, “We Bow Down,” also from the ’80s, is one of the most melodic worship songs to come down the pike.  Impossible to tell which is more delicate—Paris’s voice or the music. . .  A quasi-rock song—plenty of synthesizer here—Petra’s “Love” is a shimmering delight.  John Schlitt’s singing is carefree and upper register-friendly.  As for the words, they’re only fair but the melody shines.

The heartfelt ballad, “Just Because You Are,” by Phillip Sandifer, is nigh beautiful.  It’s about the believer’s duty to love & worship God simply because HE IS.  The tune never builds into anything schmaltzy or overripe, and the vocals are down-to-earth and enticing.  Good show. . . Like the 4Him song, Chris Rice’s “Smile” is a small masterpiece, released during the Aughts.  Bongos introduce the song and there’s a slow tempo until the happy chorus.  Nothing original is being said–Chris is waiting to see Christ’s smile in Heaven–but something catchy and meaningful obtains.

For all the pop-ditty limitations, this is music of light.  It can all be heard on YouTube.

The members of Petra before the band retired i...

The members of Petra before the band retired in 2006 (l-r): Paul Simmons, John Schlitt, Bob Hartman, Greg Bailey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)