Devotional album’s Scripture-based songs shine
Lost and Found by Cory Alstad is a melodious journey on themes of hope, love and trust. The album is comprised of songs the experienced worship leader has written over the last years.
As a pastor of both worship and youth, I jumped at the opportunity to review Lost and Found with one of my students. Cynthia, a Grade 11 student, has been an active volunteer in our worship ministry for more than five years and I was excited to learn from her perspective. I also looked forward to seeing what Alstad would offer as a product of his many years in worship ministry, most recently at North Langley (B.C.) Community Church.
Cynthia found the title track, “Lost and Found” to be a powerful encouragement in its theme of looking back on one’s journey of faith. Other songs that offer a very personal perspective on faith and doubt include “14/12” and “Near.” In “Patience Love,” the lyrics sing the words with which God may respond to us.
Of Alstad’s songs based directly on Scripture passages, “As Your Kingdom Comes” stood out to both Cynthia and me as a beautiful take on the Beatitudes. In Cynthia’s words, the song “offers hope for those who come sad or longing.”
“I Will Trust You,” drawing from the images in Psalm 139, stands out as a song that would serve well in corporate worship. It has an easy-to-sing melody and a universal theme of trusting God and growing deeper in relationship with Him.
“Psalm 121” is also a strong interpretation of a passage of Scripture, highly suitable for corporate worship with an easy-to-follow melody. One personal critique of this song is that I am not a fan of Whoa-oh-oh’s in songs in general. (Cynthia did not offer the same objection.)
Particularly interesting in this album is the inclusion of a piano interlude as the second-to-last track before Alstad’s version of the old hymn “O the Deep Deep Love of Jesus.” The interlude seems designed to tie the album together. Cynthia found it a striking aid to reflection on the themes explored in the album as she pondered, “What is God saying to us?”
This closing hymn has a strong musical hook that immediately grabs the listener’s attention, then leads into a softer presentation of the lyrics that allow the listener to hear an old song in a new way – “an overall strength,” according to Cynthia. On this well-produced album featuring robust musicianship, this song stood out to me as the strongest for the same reasons.
Overall, this is a beautiful, well-crafted album, one that Cynthia feel in love with almost immediately. Alstad demonstrates a gift of translating Scripture into lyrics that draw the listener into the story. His meditative songs naturally serve as a prelude to personal devotionals.
As worship leaders, Cynthia and I appreciated Alstad’s instrumental creativity and vocal harmonies, never finding them overwhelming or detrimental to the message of each song. If you are like Cynthia, however, you may find yourself adding your own harmonies as you allow this album to lead you in worship.
Ben Harapiak is the pastor of worship and middle years youth at North Kildonan MB Church, Winnipeg. Cynthia Froese is a Grade 11 student who has been active in the worship ministry at NKMB as a vocalist since she was 12 years old.