7 Songs from PCS Chapel That Could Change Your Life (And Your Day!)
by Kasi Bachelder
“Because He lives, I can face tomorrow!
Because He lives, all fear is gone.
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living just because He lives.”
Do you have any vivid memories from when you were three years old? If you are like me, you probably have very few. One distinctive memory I do have, however, is standing next to my mother in church while she and other members sang this song which was so endeared to their hearts. My grandmother had a special affinity for this song as well. Years later, it now takes up residence in my own mind and spirit. It almost feels as though this song is permanently lodged in the very marrow of my bones. So much more than melody and lyrics, songs like “Because He Lives” hold a beautiful and mysterious power to transform our lives.
As our community here at PCS has reoriented to this school year of cautious return to our typical customs, the joy of coming together for chapel has been reinstated after its long absence. The Wednesday morning liturgies which honor God with scripture, song, and thoughtful messages offer meaningful opportunities for students and staff to be encouraged while gathering in unity. The PCS Worship Team learned a valuable lesson last year as they continued to rehearse even without a congregation to lead. They discovered that worship through music will beckon thoughts which are good, lovely, and right even during difficult times. Not only can these kinds of thoughts change the orientation of minds and hearts over a lifetime, but they can miraculously re-route the course of a day. Worship in song, especially when joined with others, can make bad days better by bringing to mind God’s truth. As worship leaders, our team’s hope this year for our worship gatherings has been that participants would submit themselves fully in worship and that the Spirit would continue to transform them as a result.
In the Grammar stage, classical education often emphasizes the use of songs to reinforce learning. Moreover, scripture itself encourages believers to employ music and singing to teach, to build each other up, and to direct hearts’ affections towards the Lord. Colossians 3:16 instructs, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”
The following songs and hymns have been particularly significant to our PCS community as they have been offered as sacrifices of praise in our chapel services so far this year.
This great hymn, our official school hymn, is sung faithfully by our community all throughout the school year. The lyrics originated as an Irish poem and were written into verse in 1912. They have served as poignant reminders of God’s sufficiency to work in and through generations of Christ-followers.
Hymn writer Fanny Crosby and Lyricist Phoebe Knapp composed this classic hymn in 1873. The themes of the hymn emphasize the assurance of heaven and our confidence in God’s restoration of all things through Jesus. Crosby was blind when she penned the lyrics, which include the lines, “Perfect submission, perfect delight, visions of rapture now burst from my sight,” to illustrate her hope for the future.
Psalm 23:6 says, “Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” This song mirrors the sentiments in this and many other scripture passages which describe characteristics of God’s goodness. Songwriter Jenn Johnson was inspired to write this song in 2018 as a response to God’s faithfulness and guidance in the adoption process of her and her husband’s fourth child.
4. Heal Us
The gospel version of this PCS favorite is adapted from the hymn, “Heal Us, Emmanuel Here We Stand.” Late 18th-century hymn writer William Cowper composed the powerful lyrics to this song, which was included in a book of hymns compiled in collaboration with his pastor, John Newton (author of Amazing Grace). Cowper suffered greatly from depression for most of his life, which gives deeper intensity to the urgency expressed in lines like, “Our faith is feeble, we confess. We faintly trust Thy word; but will you pity us the less? Be that far from you, Lord!”
Australian worship group, City Alight, composed this song with simple, yet profound lyrics to remind worshipers that they should turn to Jesus no matter what their circumstances. Jesus is strong and kind, and can therefore easily and lovingly carry our burdens. In a beautiful and subtle change of pattern in the lyrics, the last verse emphasizes that Jesus will come to us when we are lost and that He has proved this by His work on the cross.
Hymnwriter Robert Robinson wrote this well-known hymn in 1758, after a dramatic conversion to Christianity under the influence of the preaching of George Whitfield. Interestingly, this song was originally written with a little-known fourth stanza that has been omitted from most hymnals. It reads:
“O that Day when freed from sinning,
I shall see thy lovely Face;
Clothed then in blood-washed Linnen [sic]
How I’ll sing thy sovereign grace;
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry,
Take my ransom’d Soul away;
Send thine Angels now to carry
Me to realms of endless Day.”
7. Living Hope
Modern songwriters Phil Wickham and Brian Johnson collaborated to create “Living Hope” in 2017. Wickham spoke of the song’s meaningfulness to him in a “Behind the Song” video, saying, “God has rescued us from a place that we could never have rescued ourselves. Our future was death, but Jesus came in and brought life – a living hope – into our souls and into our lives.”
What a precious gift it is to pass along these treasured songs to our students to bless them and to train their affections towards their Creator. May the songs that reside in the marrow of our bones continue to hold the same power to change lives (and days) for generations to come!
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord.
About the Author:
Kasi Bachelder teaches 6th grade and directs the Providence Classical School Worship Team as they lead our weekly chapel gatherings. Kasi holds a Bachelor of Science degree with double majors in theology and psychology from Houston Baptist University. Prior to coming to PCS, she taught special education in public schools and spent 10 years as a missionary with Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ). This is her fourth year on the PCS faculty. Kasi and her husband, Chip, have four children enrolled at PCS — Sam, Sara, Susanna, and Louie. Kasi loves to sing and helps lead worship at Houston Northwest Church.