Canada and Bermuda Territory
Like many others in the Salvation Army, I was born into music. Somewhere along the way, I learned to play guitar and began leading people in sung worship in various contexts. These experiences introduced me to the importance of worship as a primary means of formation in our spiritual journey. In the good times and the bad times, worship in this form remained an anchor for me. It wasn’t long before I began to feel the need to capture the songs of my own heart in worship. I started a long journey of song writing that has opened doors to various opportunities, including being involved in various recording projects. Today, I live in rural Nova Scotia while studying theology and have had the immense privilege to be immersed in traditional forms of Christian worship. Through participation in high liturgy, I have been exposed to new ways of understanding worship which has challenged and informed my own faith journey as I continue to see God’s leading in my life.
The early church took to heart the idea that the way we worship informs and influences what we believe. It has been a powerful experience and blessing to see the modern-day church seek new expressions of worship. In my personal journey however, I started to wonder about what we might be leaving behind. How are the ways we worship today influencing or even changing what we believe? As Salvationists, we have a rich tradition of worship which heavily informed and influenced Salvationist beliefs and personal formation. I was seeking to explore this when I pulled the book The Beauty of Jesus off my shelf. It is a compilation of General Albert Orsborn’s songs and poetry. I began to use this in daily prayer and over time, I gravitated toward particular songs and poems. Of course, I am not the first to seek to revive traditional songs, but in this case, I was, in a sense, actively seeking to join in worship with those who came before as a means of informing my own belief today.
In the Secret of Thy Presence is a classic Salvation Army song and one of transcendent beauty, with an immense depth of theology. It holds significant truth about the experience of worship. It was with this in mind that I first sat down at the piano, and it was one of those songs that just sort of happened. I can only pray that by publishing this song in Salvation Worship that others might find themselves joining in worship with our forebears and in turn, will recognize the value of our own tradition and the way the Spirit can continue to move through it which allows us to be informed, influenced, and formed by it.