HTBB Church (Holy Trinity Bukit Bintang) is located right in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. With 2021 marking our seventh year as a church, we decided that this would be the year that we’d release our first ever collection of worship songs!
The plotting stages of the project saw Malaysian COVID-19 cases on the rise and eventually hitting all-time highs.
In the midst of lockdowns and a lot of restrictions, we kept asking: How will we record and produce this music if we can’t meet up or see each other!?
We were tempted to push pause on this project many times, but there was a still, small voice that just kept saying: “Now is the time”.
So amidst the pandemic’s heights of anxiety and uncertainty, amidst friends losing loved ones, losing their income, having what once was secure feel like it was crumbling away — we prayed.
We prayed that in this season, the worship of our church community would shift our focus from fear to faith.
More than ever, it was essential that we reorientate our perspective towards the eternal God who never fails. This was the starting point for our writing.
The Spirit behind our songs
There were so many passages of Scripture which guided us in the writing process, but the overarching one was Psalm 71:15-16:
“I’ll daily add praise to praise. I’ll write the book on your righteousness, I’ll talk up your salvation all the day long, I’ll never run out of good things to write or say.”
I’ve often heard people ask: Why write another song when there are so many written already?
The beauty is, however, that there will never be enough books, there will never be enough works of art, never enough words, never enough songs written to express how good God is.
“Come Close” was the first song that emerged from a personal time of worship sitting at the piano in my apartment.
It’s a prayer, a cry to God, and in some ways, a modern day psalm of lament.
What I love about the Psalms is that so often they capture the vastness and transcendence of God but also His closeness and imminence.
In His presence, we find peace and we find rest. When we cry out to him, He hears us, He comes close to us and He will save us.
In a time of uncertainty, this was the promise that I was personally holding on to.
The song climaxes with the verse, Romans 10:13: “all who call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
The simplicity yet power of that verse cut through everything I was anxious about: If we call, He will respond.
Joining an eternal chorus
As we kept worshipping and writing throughout the months of 2020, the idea of eternity kept emerging and would come to frame our whole EP project.
The hope of heaven became more real when the earth we live on was being so shaken.
I found so much comfort in the book of Revelation. All I could think about was the greatest depiction of corporate worship – the throne room of heaven.
This is where the title track of our EP was born — “Heaven’s Anthem”. I love the idea that when we begin to worship on earth, we aren’t “starting” worship, we are “entering into” worship.
The sound of heaven rings from the beginning of time, to the end of time and into all eternity.
We are simply joining in.
We are joining with all of those who have gone before and all those who will come after. We are joining with a million angels in heaven and with every fibre of creation on earth.
It is in this eternal song where we find our belonging. And the reason we can enter into it is because of Jesus, the Lamb who was slain.
Truth be told, the lockdown made for a logistical nightmare.
For instance: The writing process was kicked off exclusively virtually — even our demos were recorded entirely from home!
However, after more than three months, restrictions finally began to ease and we were allowed to meet to record all the live elements. This was a massive answer to prayer.
It was really only when we went into the studio together, that the songs came to life and we were able to enjoy them in corporate worship — albeit only a few of us, and socially distanced, of course!
We ultimately recorded and released five songs, which are almost like an eclectic snapshot of what God is doing in our church in this season.
“Heaven’s Anthem” and “Gospel of Grace” are corporate worship songs for the gathered church. “Come Close” is an intimate cry of desperation.
“Follow” is a gospel-inspired celebration of God’s faithfulness based on Psalm 23, and “Open Heaven” is our first ever Mandarin to English translation that declares the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
- Which was your favourite song in the album?
- Put on any song from “Heaven’s Anthem” and just worship God.
- Ask the Lord to bring someone to mind. Share a song or lyrics with him or her and be a blessing right now!