Carolyn Wing Greenlee

How “The Message Is True” album came about

Remember the blackout  in New York a few decades ago? Remember what happened nine months later? A plethora of babies! I was wondering how many babies will be born around nine months from now simply because people are not rushing, exhausted, or out of touch with one another.
Well, I just birthed something unexpected that was engendered because of, not in spite of, this mandatory shelter in place. It’s a new album, a collection of my scripture songs and something I’ve been wanting to do for years.

I was actually charged with writing songs from the Word of God in 1978 when I spent Easter with Pauline Michael Mills, the first person to write a scripture song. It was “Thou Art Worthy,” and it started  something that persists to this day—songs of words of worship  from the Bible. But the charge Pauline gave me was not to write worship; it was to write music for scripture that was specifically to help the children of God through difficult times. Scriptures such as Psalm 91 that says “Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night or the arrow by day, nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness, nor for destruction that wasteth at noonday…” Little did I know that they would suddenly be needed more than ever before

I had made a couple of albums with my scripture songs, but mostly I just taught them to my beloved congregation at Kelseyville Presbyterian, content to know they were hiding the Word in their heart in the easiest possible way—through song.

But now we can’t meet together. Our pastor Steve puts his sermons online, but I can’t lead my church in singing scriptures that lift and strengthen their hearts. 

Then it came to me: record the songs with my iPhone. That’s what I did. I sat at my kitchen table with my guitar,  pushed the red Voice Memo button, and when I had a good take, I’d email it to Dan, who did some editing and audio sweetening. In about a week, we had 32 songs.

So the album is finished, birthed out of the need to remind my brothers and sisters what they have in Jesus—His name, His sacrifice, His peace and vigilant care. And then I thought maybe others would benefit from learning these scriptures in song. It’s a very simple production—nothing fancy—just me and my guitar. Some of the songs were written with parts because I love it when the church sings different parts together. It not only sounds wonderful, it symbolizes how we fit together to create something more than we are by ourselves. 

At first I regretted not being able to include the parts, but the women who sing with me have to stay home too, so I had to forego that joy. Dan said maybe people will want to harmonize, making up their own parts. Or maybe they’ll sense the echoes and sing along that way.  It’s definitely a time to be creative and out of the box.

My hope is that you will be filled with the depth and scope of encouragement that is embedded in the Word of God as you hear these songs and the scriptures get into your very being. They are life and light because they are God’s Word, and He, Himself, is the Word. In Him was light and the light was the life of … well, everything.

And the Light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overwhelm it.

I bless you  With God’s  shalom shalom, His perfect peace, as you hear these songs and sing along. I bless you with His perfect love that casts out all fear. And with the joy of the Lord that is your strength. May you emerge from this time of ensconcement richer in the Word, more deeply grounded and secure, and closer to Him as you synchronize with His heart. May He give you the treasures He has hidden for you in the darkest places, as He works all things together for your good, who love Him and are called according to His purposes for your individually designed and crafted masterpiece of a life. Shalom.