Album: Masterplan – Ben Pakula

Masterplan - Ben PakulaBen Pakula’s new album – Masterplan – is available on iTunes and at the CEP Store. I love Ben’s work, and so do our kids. It’s a powerful rock style combined with words that teach profound truths about God, Jesus, humanity and the world. Often, when our kids ask us questions about Jesus or something in the Bible, we find ourselves answering simply with a quote from one of Ben’s songs. As soon as we quote Ben, the kids go, “ah, right, I get it”!

Ben’s latest album, Masterplan, is a “biblical-theology concept album” – i.e. “a musical presentation of the whole story of the Bible, focusing on the centrality of Jesus.” It’s especially good for early high schoolers, but it works for everyone. Here are some highlights for me.

The song “Saved by the blood of the lamb” tells the story of the Exodus of Israel from Egypt and how the Passover lamb prefigures Jesus’ death for our sins. I love what Ben has done with it musically. The “Egyptian rock” riff which recurs throughout is a nice touch. When Ben gets to singing about our slavery to sin, God’s judgment,  and Jesus’ death to rescue us from sin and judgment, the song seems to break down into chaotic syncopation and discord. But then the chaos comes to a climax and resolves in a way that proves he was in control all the time. What a fantastically creative musical rendition of the theological reality behind the death of Jesus and the salvation it brings!

The song “Teaching people for salvation” is one dear to my heart. The lyrics comprise a concise yet nuanced theology of the Law of Moses. In fact, Ben (a Jewish believer) has said in a short song what I spent more than 100,000 words trying to say in my PhD thesis:

On a day the Lord chose for his people
They were brought together in His sight
There they saw a terrifying darkness
There they heard a sound that left them trembling with fright
But from upon his mountain in the desert
Came the Law the God had cut in stone
And the word of God was given to his people
His good laws and decrees no other nation had known

God was teaching people for salvation
Showing them his ways so they know right from wrong
And his righteous laws still condemn our sinful hearts
So we might cling to his forgiveness, the righteousness revealed in his Son

Love the Lord with all that you can love him
Love your neighbour as you would yourself
Celebrate the day of rest he gives you
And only serve the Lord your God, put him before all else
Remember all the words the Lord has spoken
Words that point the way to righteousness
And they show us all that no-one is deserving
The only hope of rescue is the cross of his Christ

God is teaching people for salvation
Showing us his ways, so we know right from wrong
And his righteous laws still condemn our sinful hearts
So we might cling to his forgiveness, the righteousness revealed in his Son.

And in time, God’s final word was given
Jesus Christ the Word of God in flesh
And he came to show to us the Father
And he obeyed his Father to the point of his cruel death
And now his blood can rescue us from slavery
To the sin God’s law reveals in us
And the price he paid redeemed God’s chosen people
And it rescues all who put their trust in Christ and his cross

Where God is teaching people for salvation
Showing us his ways so we know right from wrong
And his righteous laws still condemn our sinful hearts
So we might cling to his forgiveness, the righteousness revealed in his Son.

The song, “Dead bones walking“, based on Ezekiel’s vision of the valley of dry bones, is currently my favourite. It’s fun and joyful – conjures up the image of dancing skeletons and makes our whole family want to dance along with it.

Try out the samples. Buy it for everyone you know. Here are the links again: