Worship Review: Ghost Ship // Costly
Ghost Ship is Seattle based band with a unique folk/ambient/Seattle rock sound that is all their own. There is no confusing Ghost Ship with anyone else out there. Ghost Ship’s music was made popular through their ministry at Mars Hill Church which dissolved in 2014. They had 3 albums released under the Mars Hill Label, River With No End EP, Ghost Ship Live EP, and their full length The Good King. Ghost Ship is releasing their second full-length album Costly on August 28, 2015 though BEC records. A distinctive of Ghost Ship is the focus they put on pointing to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and Costly does not deviate from that one bit throughout all 14 of their tracks.
Their album kicks off with the song Invitation which is just that, an invitation for weary sinners to come to Jesus who has paid our ransom. There is no question that rest, freedom, and relief from the pangs of sin and death are found in Jesus through the lyrics in this song, definitely a great call to worship and call to come to Christ.
The next three songs flow together perfectly; all retelling of the work of Christ in the calling of people to himself. All of these songs have a very corporate feel and I believe could find their way into worship sets easily.
Adoption continues to tell of the work of the Gospel, telling how we’ve been be brought into the family of God through Jesus Christ’s work. The chorus exclaims joyfully, “You adopted us in, and you made us your own! You adopted us in, and you gave us a home!”
Scarlet keeps with the same mold tells of the God’s perfect and unconditional love. This is a celebration that the love we receive from God is nothing of our doing but that “You [God] have loved me, when I did nothing to deserve it, You give freely the one thing I cannot afford.”
Look What God has Done is great mix of looking at the work of God on our behalf and calling us to respond. “To God be glory, through Christ our Savior’s church through all generations. To God be glory, through Christ our Savior’s work forever and ever.” That’s exactly what our worship should be, seeing the goodness and greatness of God and responding in giving him glory.
Heavy as the Sea takes a look at the grandeur of God’s love. This very piano driven song is full of analogies to paint for us a picture of the “love of Christ that surpasses knowledge.” (Ephesians 3:14-19) “Like a mighty mountain towering above us, wide as the horizon. Deeper than a canyon, as heavy as the sea. Like a mighty forest stretching out before us, higher than the stars reach. Broader than the sky is, the love You’ve given me.”
The next track is very familiar. It is a new drum driven take on the classic When I Survey The Wondrous Cross with added chorus and bridge. At first listen the juxtaposition of the hymn we all know and the music seems at odds with each other but without a doubt it will grow on you. This one may be a good version to toss into your Good Friday services.
The next two tracks are the 2 most personal tracks on the album. I’m not sure if these would be fitting in a corporate setting (just in my option). But for personal reflection Peace and Provision are excellent. Both songs are an open and honest, almost as to say, “its ok to not understand what God is doing right now, but trust in Him to work things out.” From a musical stand point Ghost Ship nailed the matching of music to lyrics. Each of these 2 songs has a very folk/blues feel.
If the previous 2 tracks tell of questioning in hard times, The Way is the answer. Look to the Gospel, look to Jesus. Ghost Ship does a great job of integrating scripture into their songs, and the chorus proclaims John 14:6. This is a great song for the church to sing together, reminding all of us to look to Jesus at all times…He is the way.
Fear and Love tells precisely that…our fear in this life can be combated through the greater love found in Christ. This may be tough for congregations to sing corporately but a great song none the less. This has a strong folk/country sound with the steel guitar.
You Loved Us First is an upbeat celebration and rehearsing of 1 John 4:19, “We love because he first loved us.” This may depend on the congregation, but it could be do-able in some congregational settings for sure.
Poverty nor Riches brings the dynamics back down to a quieter more reserved feel, but with some drive at the end. The crux of this song is finding our satisfaction in Christ alone, “This world has nothing for me…You are all I need.”
Ghost Ship brought back a song originally found on their “River With No End” EP, The Revelation of Jesus Christ. This song is a reflection on Revelation 21 and 22 and the hope we have in one day dwelling with God on the New Heaven and New Earth.
The album concludes with a very ambient and soft reflection on the steadfast, loving-kindness of God, or in the Hebrew, Hesed as the track is titled. In its album form this may not work for many congregations due to all the effects, but the chorus is written in such a way that it could definitely be sung with even voices and an acoustic guitar. “Your loving-kindness, Your long-suffering, And your faithfulness, In your love for me Unconditional, steadfast, loyal, true You are faithful In your love for me.”
Ghost Ship is a fantastic band to listen to if your looking for unique and creative songs that point explicitly and unapologetically to the Gospel. Head over to iTunes and pre-order a copy of Costly. You’ll receive Adoption, Scarlet, Look What God has Done, and Hesed for immediate download. Or if you’re reading this after August 28th, just buy it and listen to it right away!