Yet Another Wayfaring Stranger

Not too long ago I posted our arrangement of Wayfaring Stranger. Here’s another version that I recently came across. I’ve really enjoyed Matthew Smith’s music for many years. The thing I really like about this song is that it is elegant in it’s simplicity. Very sparse bass and drums, simple rhythm guitar, tasty acoustic guitar solo section. No complicated harmonies. In some ways, this type of arrangement is more difficult to do than something like the version we do. For me, the real sign of maturity in a musician (and a Christian for that matter) is someone who can say, “I’m not hear to show off my gifts. I want to add to the song and be a part of the group.” A simple part may be “boring” for someone who can play blazing fast lead parts on their instrument of choice, but if it is what the song calls for, so be it. It’s about being a part of something bigger than ourselves. As Christians, we are called to be a part of the Body of Christ. Sometimes we may see our part as boring or simple. That doesn’t mean it’s not necessary. We need to be faithful to the One who has called us and not get hung up on our self importance.

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.
(Rom 12:3-8 ESV)

Phil Keaggy

You might watch this video and say to yourself, “hey, that’s not a worship song!” In a sense, you would be right: it’s not a song we would do for the “corporate worship” portion of our Sunday service. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not worship.

Let me try to explain. “Worship” is giving God worth. He alone is worthy of our “worth-ship”. Singing songs together on a Sunday morning is one way we can “worship”, but it’s not the only way. More important than singing a few songs on a Sunday is how we live our lives the rest of the week, how we do our jobs, how we treat others: family, friends, strangers, enemies. If we do these things unto the Lord, they are worship.

So you might ask, “what does this have to do with Phil Keaggy?” As far as I know, Phil has never written a congregational worship song. He hasn’t written a “Here I Am to Worship or “God of Wonders” or “Holy is the Lord.” What he has done, is dedicated his life and his music to the Lord. From his early days in Glass Harp in the early 1970’s to today, you can see his faith displayed in the music he writes. The song “Follow Me Up” on this video was from an album released in 1978 called “The Master and the Musician”. Hopefully, it’s obvious who the Master is. Every article I read or video interview I see, Phil’s faith is being displayed with grace and humility. I really like that. Phil is an inspiration to me both as a musician and as a follower of Jesus Christ. He shares the gospel in a very unique way and reaches people who might not otherwise hear the message.

If you like this song, I would encourage you to explore more of Phil’s work. He covers an amazing variety of styles with both acoustic and electric guitars. If you ever have an opportunity to see him live, jump on it! Truly an amazing musician who loves the Lord!