I was blessed to attend St. Timothy Catholic Church in Tempe, Arizona for a short time when Matt Maher served as the Worship Leader (?). He is one of the only people that I have come across that somehow can combine rocking out and reverently worshiping God at a Mass. I really prefer traditional music at Mass, but would never turn down a Mass where Matt Maher was in charge of the music.
Below are my four favorite Matt Maher songs and a video that shares more about why I think Matt Maher is great.
1. Christ Is Risen
One of my favorite things about Matt Maher are his lyrics. He is able to bring the words of Jesus and the Apostles to live in his music.
Let no one caught in sin remain
Inside the lie of inward shame
We fix our eyes upon the cross
And run to him who showed great love
And bled for us
Freely you bled, for us
The song starts out with the lyrics above. The remind me of the reason for Jesus’ suffering and death. I do not need to be or to stay stuck wallowing in my shame or worried about my sins and transgressions. Christ bled to release me from the shame and death that occurs as a result of sin!
Oh death! Where is your sting?
Oh hell! Where is your victory?
Oh Church! Come stand in the light!
Our God is not dead, he’s alive! he’s alive!
I love to turn up the music as a loud as I can when these lyrics come on. I feel like I am saying take that death…take that hell…take that sin, my God is bigger than all of you. So there!!!
I love to play this song on Easter…after Reconcilliation…when I am feeling grateful…and even when I need a little inspiration to turn to God and fix my eyes on the Cross.
2. Rise Up
Thorough the lyrics below and throughout the song Matt is able to paint a picture of the despair and despondence one feels when you are lost in addiction or other struggles.
When you see the road ahead
That you’ve been down before
When you’re halfway to nowhere
And you can’t pay the toll
You’re hanging onto mercy
Withered on the vine
With your feet on the ground, your head in the clouds
And your heart on the line
And then after encouraging the encouragement to “rise up” and “look up” towards God he exclaims with great power the result of rising up and turning your life over to God.
And all the lambs roar like lions
And all the prisoners breaking their chains
And all the poor find their treasure
Cause heaven is coming this way.
What he says in this Behind The Scenes video about the song is almost as powerful as the song itself. I have included a few of my favorite quotes below:
“The line between an addict and a mystic is so unbelievable close….addiction is just a distorted hunger for God.”
“God wants you to rise above it…God wants a breakthrough for you.”
“When the Church does this together corporately we will see lambs roar like lions, not because of what they have done, but because of what God will be able to do through them.”
3. Lord I Need You
He sang this song at World Youth Day with Pope Francis! You can see a video about his experience here.
Where sin runs deep Your grace is more
Where grace is found is where You are
And where You are, Lord, I am free
Holiness is Christ in me
For me this song, especially the lyrics above, remind me of the freedom that comes through my relationship with God. It is so easy to be weight down by my own sin…but God’s grace is always more than my sin, and the only way to freedom and holiness.
4. Hold Us Together
“And love will hold us together
Make us a shelter to weather the storm
And I’ll be my brother’s keeper
So the whole world would know that we’re not alone”
While I love the entire song, the above lyrics are the ones that remind me of the gift that I was given when I was lead to Maggie’s Place. Love truly holds Maggie’s Place together and continues to bind all who are a part of the community together. Formally Maggie’s Place as an organization provides hospitality to pregnant women and offer them and their children ” a shelter from the storm.” I have been blessed to be a part of the Maggie’s Place community for over ten years, with only some of those being formally a part of the staff. I have and know I will continue to be bound together with the rest of the community by love. Though many of us are scattered around the country I know that I can always call about someone in the Maggie’s Place community in good times and in bad.
St. Mary Magdalene, pray for us.
5. Songwriter/Musician Matt Maher – Pensado’s Place #154
Pensando’s Place is hosted by Dave Pensando. He is a Grammy Award-winning mix engineer. He hosts a weekly show called Pensado’s Place. The show is about engineering techniques and interviews a guest Mixer, Producer or Artist each episode. The interview with Matt starts at about 12:47.
There are parts of it that are above my head, as I do not know anything about the technical side of music. However it is really his knowledge of music, the Bible and the Church that makes his music work for me!