“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed planted in a field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of garden plants and grows into a tree where birds can come and find shelter in its branches.
When anger fills your heart, when in your pain and hurt you find the strength to stop, you bless instead of curse. When doubting floods your soul, when all things feel unjust, you open up your heart, you find a way to trust. That’s a little stone, that’s a little mortar. That’s a little seed, that’s a little water. In the hearts of the sons and daughters this kingdom’s coming. —Kingdom Comes, Sara Groves from Add to the Beauty
After completing The Other Side of Something, Sara Groves says she told her husband Troy “the next album is going to be about the kingdom of God.”
Add to the Beauty, Sara Groves’ newest collection of songs, follows through on that vision, though I’m inclined to say that all of Sara’s music is about the kingdom of God, and that’s what makes her so special.
First-century Israel was an occupied nation, subdued by Rome and kept in line by heavily-armed soldiers and iron-fisted governors. In that context, Jesus’ parables about the kingdom of God are surprising. They aren’t promises of a far off time when things will be better. They call us to live today, right now, in the presence of God, smack in the midst of the harshness of life.
The kingdom of God is a kingdom of now. It embraces us in the daily boredom of the factory floor and the monotony of the classroom. It touches our brokenness. It heals our grief. It lifts us up when life has knocked us down.
Add to the Beauty is a beautiful collection of music about living a redeemed life, a life that isn’t always pretty, but is always washed over by the miracle of God’s grace.
When it was over and they could talk about it
She said there’s just one thing I’ve got to know.
What in that moment when you were running so hard and fast
made you stop and turn for home?
He said I always knew you loved me even though I’d broken your heart.
I always knew there’d be a place for me to make a brand new start.
O love wash over a multitude of things,
Love wash over a multitude of things,
Love wash over a multitude of things and make me whole. —Sara Groves, When it was over
Sara Groves writes with touching honesty about her life and her faith. She doesn’t pull punches, but you don’t come away from her music feeling bruised. Quite the opposite. As I listen to her music, I experience lots of “yeah, me too” moments, and I come away more convinced than ever that God’s hand is on my life.
The authentic Christian life is not an experience of floating above the fray on a fluffy cloud, never soiled by life. It’s about redemption, failing and trying again, walking everywhere through every experience with the knowledge that the living Christ walks beside us and lives through us.
Sara Groves’ songs are little narrative slices of God’s work in her life. There’s an authenticity here that illustrates Ephesians 2:10: we are each God’s very own urban renewal projects, under construction, being transformed to better serve Him in a suffering world.
Add to the beauty was produced by Brown Bannister, and every piece shows his talent for finding the heart and soul of a song. The musical arrangements perfectly complement the intelligent poetry of Sara’s lyrics. There’s great depth here. Every time I listen to this album, I hear something new.
Once upon a time, Sara Groves was a school teacher, but God called her to music. She’s still teaching, but perhaps in a better way, by living an authentic faith and talking about what it means to be redeemed by Christ. Add to the beauty is a storybook about living in the kingdom of God.