Monday Melody – Before the Throne of God Above

Song/Album:  “Before the Throne of God Above” by Selah on the album Hiding Place.

Why it made the cut:  The haunting alto of Nicol Smith-Sponberg, paired with her brother Todd Smith’s crystal clear tenor and the extraordinary skills of pianist Allan Hall, capture listeners’ hearts as they interpret this precious Celtic hymn.

Charitie Lees Smith, the author of the hymn, titled it “The Advocate” when it was first published in 1863.  The hymn draws heavily on scripture and paints a portrait of Jesus as our advocate, standing before the Father on our behalf and serving as the bridge between us and God.  

I hear in this hymn tremendous comfort for believers as we increase our faith in the One who daily stands in the gap for us.  What a blessing!

Artist:  Selah’s gift to the church has been that of breathing new life into treasured hymns.  The original lineup from 1997 to 2004 featured siblings Nicol Smith-Sponberg and Todd Smith of Detroit, Michigan, and Allan Hall of Knoxville, Tennessee.  Nicol left the group in 2004 after the group had recorded four albums and was replaced by Amy Perry.

The group’s tight harmonies and beautiful arrangements of familiar hymns have won them five Dove Awards and numerous Dove Award nominations. 

The Smiths come from a musical family and began singing at a very young age.  They spent their formative years in the Democratic Republic of Congo as missionaries, and much of their music is influenced by their experiences in Africa.  Allan Hall also developed a keen interest in music at a very young child and was nurtured in that gift by his parents.

I was able to see Selah sing live at a small venue several years ago and was blown away by their talent.  All three group members are very engaging performers and formidable singers.

Favorite lyrics:
One with Himself I cannot die
My soul is purchased by His blood
My life is hid with Christ on high
With Christ my Savior and my God
With Christ my Savior and my God
Sweet spots:  The very beginning, when Nicol breathes the first few lines of the song; the harmony at 1:28 between her and Todd; and the elevation at 1:51.  

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