NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Contemporary Christian musician Michael W. Smith has ministered before thousands of people in large arenas and stadiums, on national television broadcasts and even before presidents and world leaders. But on Sept. 11, Smith chose to minister closer to home — at a local church.
Hours after terrorists had attacked the nation, Smith, seated at a grand piano, led hundreds of worshipers in a musical cry to God at The Peoples Church in Franklin, Tenn.
Smith played simple worship melodies and choruses as worshipers prayed, cried and hugged one another.
“What a week it has been,” Smith said. “I hope and pray that God has been your strength through this difficult time. I urge you to continue to pray for President Bush and his advisers regarding the tough decisions that they will have to make in the weeks and months ahead.”
Smith, like many of his colleagues in the Christian music industry, are helping the nation heal through music. The award-winning songwriter and musician has just completed an instrumental arrangement called “Freedom.” The stirring song features voice-overs from President Bush and evangelist Billy Graham. Smith has also recorded an arrangement of “The Star Spangled Banner.”
Dove award winners Third Day have released the title single of their upcoming compilation, “Come Together,” slated for release in November.
The song, which calls for unity during troubled times, has already been released to radio.
Among other Christian artists:
— Amy Grant has appeared in television ads promoting the American Red Cross, encouraging Americans to donate blood and funds to the Red Cross relief efforts in New York and Washington.
— Skillet lead singer John Cooper has dedicated his song, “You are My Hope,” to the families of those killed in the terrorist attacks.
— Festival Con Dios has partnered with the Salvation Army to help raise money for the families of fallen New York City police officers, firefighters and emergency personnel. Festival Con Dios features a number of alternative Christian bands including the Newsboys.
— It had been widely reported that members of the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir were missing in the World Trade Center. However, a spokesperson for Brooklyn Tabernacle told Baptist Press that all choir members were safe.
Four members of the congregation remain missing, however, including a New York City police officer and firefighter.
— In Nashville, New York native Kathy Troccoli urged women at the Heritage Keepers rally to humble themselves before God.
“May we as Christian humble ourselves under his mighty hand so that the whole nation will benefit from how we conduct ourselves during this terrible time,” Troccoli said. “We do have a divine confidence, and we can trust him beyond our human reasoning.”
— Contemporary artist Crystal Lewis felt compelled to write a new song after the tragedy. The song, “When God’s People Pray,” can be downloaded at www.crystallewis.com.
Lewis, according to CCM, said the inspiration for the lyric originated from Philippians 4:4-8, which emphasizes the importance of prayer in anxious times. When she first learned about the tragedies, Lewis said she and her children brought their fears to God.
“I was in my car driving my kids to school on Tuesday morning and my husband called and said, ‘You’ve got to get home. I think it’s okay for the kids to stay in school, but you need to come home right away,'” she said. “We prayed in the care. I tried to encourage them, saying, ‘Don’t worry. You both already accepted Jesus in your heart. If anything bad happens, we’ll go to heaven.'”