Marcus Hathcock: Led by The Neverclaim, "The Bridegroom" is "an anointed gem that has the power and majesty of Jennie Lee Riddle's 'Revelation Song' with the intimacy and individual touch of Matt Redman's 'Friend Forever.'"
As one of the worship leaders at my church, it’s no secret that I’m drawn to worship music. I really believe that the admonition in Psalms to "sing a new song unto the Lord" is a good one; that for whatever reason when we present Truth in a new way, there’s something powerfully resonant in our spirits. That’s not to say old songs don’t have power; there’s just something special about a new, anointed song.
In listening to Vineyard Music’s new release, Cultivation Generation: My Foundation, I discovered among the 12 tracks taken live from a youth movement in Vancouver, Wash. (just north of my home in Portland, Ore.) an anointed gem that has the power and majesty of Jennie Lee Riddle's "Revelation Song" with the intimacy and individual touch of Matt Redman's "Friend Forever." That track is "Bridegroom."
As soon as I learned that one of the Northwest’s best bands, The Neverclaim, led worship on the album, and was behind "Bridegroom," I quickly learned that there are two versions of the song. The live one on Cultivation Generation is more rock driven, while the studio version on The Neverclaim’s recent 2012 release, Revival, has a more eclectic, layered feel.
Both employ the deeply passionate vocals of lead singer Jeremiah Carlson delivering stirring and triumphant vocals about the appearance of Jesus the Bridegroom who will return for His Church—the Bride.
It was a song idea that came to Carlson about two years ago in the midst of his time alone with the Lord.
"I got a vision from the Lord, and in the picture I was seeing, it was like this wedding," Carlson said. "There was all this anticipation for the absolute consummation and redemption of mankind. It was so intense; it’s so hard to describe that sense of anticipation."
Carlson said he met his wife at age 15, though they didn’t marry until six years later.
"The day she came down the aisle, it was so emotional," he said. "It was like, man, I’ve spent like over a quarter of my life waiting to marry this woman. The emotions were indescribable. And with the vision (of the Bridegroom)… it was that feeling times a billion."
The verses are all about the beckoning of the Spirit and the longing we all have to be with the Lord, pictures that culminate in the powerful declaration: "Behold the Bridegroom / He’s dressed up in pure white / And His body bears the marks of an eternal love / On His hands, feet and His side / And we’re the Bride."
Regarding Christ’s scars, Carlson likened them to a wedding ring on Christ—visible proof of His covenant, despite having a new body after the Resurrection.
"When I look at my ring, it reminds me of the covenant I have with my wife," he said. “And no man has any say over that covenant." How much more that is true of Christ, Carlson said, as He displays the "marks of an eternal love."
The use of banjo isn’t by any means new to the Southern-influenced The Neverclaim, but it plays an emotional role in the medium-high-tempo song, lending to the passion of the climactic scene being portrayed.
Whether you’re looking for the live, rock-driven, youth friendly version of "The Bridegroom" on the Cultivation Generation album, or if you’re looking for the more melodic and peaceful Revival version, you’re sure to experience a powerful time of encounter with the Bridegroom.
"Worship is so emotional for so many, and we wonder why," Carlson muses. "But really, it’s the same kind of thing like when I saw my wife walk down the aisle. This is how it’s supposed to be. We were made for God. We were made to worship Him."
Posted June 19, 2012 | NRT Senior Editor Marcus Hathcock has been a newspaper reporter, an editor and now Community Life Director for East Hill Church in the Portland area. He's also been involved in opera, acappella, a CCM group and now is a songwriter and one of the worship leaders at East Hill. Follow his journey at www.mheternal.com.
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