By Roxanne Smith and Jeff Greunke
Jeff Greunke taught us a new song yesterday. It’s called “The Sound of Grace,” and it’s written by Kip Fox, a contemporary Lutheran composer and worship leader from Phoenix.
Never ending, unrelenting, constant source of hope
Running down from lofty mountains into springs below
Oh I am soaked from head to toe in …
Grace Sweet grace
A fountain for my soul
Grace Sweet grace
A mighty waterfall
Drops of mercy all around
Everywhere the sound of Grace
All consuming shadows looming, valleys of distress.
Draining every strength within me ’til there’s nothing left
But I am endlessly refreshed in …(refrain)
The beauty of Kip’s song struck me. I could almost feel the grace washing over me as we sang it. Having just returned from the Smoky Mountains, I could easily picture a mighty waterfall of God’s grace. “Running down from lofty mountains into springs below,”– Kip had put it so creatively.
And grace is sweet. It’s free! We don’t have to earn it, or deserve it, or strive to attain it. God did all the striving for us. But I forget how God keeps pouring it out for me.
The bridge in the song reminded me.
It never stops Running over
This rushing water on my shoulders
After the service I asked Jeff, our director of Worship Arts, how he chose Kip’s song. He agreed to let me interview him.
Roxanne Smith: How and why did you choose this song for Sunday’s worship service?
Jeff Greunke: Last fall, several staff members attended the Wiki52 conference down in Katy, Texas. Pastor Justin was leading the preaching track there and he also preached the opening service. He shared the sermon that he had preached recently at all the sites about being filled and overflowing (Filled Up and Overflowing – June 8, 2014). Kip was the worship leader for the conference and he debuted this song following the message. It really struck home so we brought it back with us. It seemed like the right time to offer it to the worshiping community here as it tied in well with this past weekend’s theme.
I had the pleasure of meeting Kip at the WALI (Worship Arts Leadership Institute) conference last summer. We have also had a “storied” history at St. Luke with Kip’s music so it made sense to keep sharing his gifts with the Church. Read an interview with Kip about his song Written is the Story.
RS: What does grace mean to you?
JG: When I am at my worst, God gives me His best. (Kind of like Psalm 65:3)
RS: You have been our worship leader for 26 years. How have you seen God’s grace at work at St. Luke over the years? Does anything in particular stand out?
JG: There really are way too many stories out there; from me personally feeling like I’ve been run through the wringer (far too many times) and getting through those particular situations to countless stories from people with whom I’ve had the pleasure to serve over the years. Honestly, not all the stories have played out as well as I would have liked but I would like to think that God has used me, or more importantly, taught me more about grace than I had learned in the past.
RS: You and Kelly have six children. We admire you guys for doing the hard work of parenting! How has grace been at work in your family?
JG: With that many people and personalities to deal with, I’m thinking that that is an obvious question with an obvious response. Without grace, we would have imploded a long time ago. And we’re still learning how to deal with each other as everyone grows up into their own person.
RS: Thank you so much, Jeff. You and the worship team add such variety and thoughtfully chosen songs to our worship. You help bring us into God’s Presence. We are blessed to have you!
Read Pastor Matt Hein’s reflection of this song and the service it was used during in his post Is it Sunday Yet?