The Porter’s Gate Worship Project

Occasionally on social media, I come across something truly delightful, which was the case earlier this week. The Porter’s Gate Worship Project is ‘a creative movement aimed at reimagining and recreating worship that welcomes, reflects and impacts both community and the Church’. Their debut album is ‘Work Songs’: 14 modern hymns centered on affirming vocation as an integral part of a life of worship. Stuart Townend described how ‘we need more songs that help us shape who we are in our daily lives.’

As Dan Wunderlich (director of Defining Grace) enthusiastically commented, “A culturally diverse and ecumenical gathering of artists, pastors, and scholars who want to create worship music that reaches out, reminds the Church of our identity and task, and explores sounds and themes beyond what we sing every Sunday? YES. PLEASE.”

I do a lot of reading and thinking about the diversity of the church, so this project connects with me on that level, as well as it just being an incredible album to worship along to. I love what Musician, Sarah Hart, had to say.

I’m also so excited to see such an ecumenical event, I think it says a lot that so many people from so many different denominations have been invited, it gives me great hope and great joy.

It felt very ancient and new and I think that to me is when the church is this beautiful picture of wholeness, when we embrace what was and what is.

I’ve been think that this project is an example of ‘ecumenism as community, not committee’ which is what I am speaking on in Canberra for the Receptive Ecumenism Conference.

You can listen to the album on iTunes or on Spotify below.

The standout is ‘Wood and Nails’ sung by Audrey Assad and Josh Garrells. The lyrics are just beautiful. The song was originally submitted to their songwriting contest by Keith Watts with additional lyrics and melody by Isaac Wardell and Madison Cunningham.

Wood and Nails

[Verse 1]
O humble carpenter, down on Your hands and knees
Look on Your handiwork and build a house
So You may dwell in me
So You may dwell in me

[Chorus 1]
The work was done with nothing but
Wood and nails in Your scar-borne hands
O show me how to work and praise
Trusting that I am Your instrument

[Verse 2]
O loving laborer with the sweat upon Your face
Oh, build a table that I may too may join You
In the Father’s place
Oh, in the Father’s place

[Chorus 1]
The work was done with nothing but
Wood and nails in Your scar-borne hands
O show me how to work and praise
Trusting that I am Your instrument

[Interlude]

[Chorus 2]
The kingdom’s come and built upon
Wood and nails gripped with joyfulness
So send me out, within Your ways
Knowing that the task is finished
The dead will rise and give You praise
Wood and nails will not hold them down
These wooden tombs, we’ll break them soon
And fashion them into flower beds
The curse is done, the battle won
Swords bent down into plowshares
Your scar-borne hands, we’ll join with them
Serving at the table You’ve prepared

[Interlude]

[Outro]
O humble carpenter

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