I just returned from the 28th General Assembly of The Church of the Nazarene, the quadrennial gathering of my denomination. I heard several people comment that during our corporate worship services, we never sang the (unofficial) anthem of our church, Leila Morris’s 113-yr-old tune “Holiness Unto the Lord.” In some ways this is unsurprising, as the original musical setting is very “marchlike” and feels quite dated today.
A couple years ago now, I set out to rewrite this song, cherished by so many Nazarenes (though virtually unknown outside of our tribe), in a more modern musical style that could work with today’s more guitar-driven worship style. I wanted to stay as true to the original lyric and tune as possible, but the chorus, I felt, needed to be altered significantly. I wasn’t sure what to do – I didn’t want to write an entirely new and different chorus – but then I realized that just reversing the order of each couplet and tweaking the melody a bit could make it much more singable.
The finished product has caught on well in my congregation, and I know a few other churches have tried it as well. Feel free to give it a whirl; I thought I’d share the “stripped down” acoustic version rather than a full band arrangement so you have a bit more of a blank slate to imagine how it might work in your context!