The Time of Singing Has Come
Sis. Juliana K. Anderson, a lifelong lover of music and prolific composer of spiritual music, shares the stories behind some of her original songs.
Levi Gelineau conducted the following interview for WCF’s podcast, “A Little Faith.” In it, Sis. Juliana K. Anderson, a lifelong lover of music and prolific composer of spiritual music, shares the stories behind some of her original songs that have now been compiled to form an easily accessible album, The Time of Singing Has Come. Whether these songs are old favorites or you have not yet encountered them, I think you’ll be thankful for this collection.
Levi: We will talk about an upcoming music release you are putting out on Spotify and other streaming channels with WCF (Williamsburg Christadelphian Foundation). The name is The Time of Singing Has Come. What inspired this release?
Julie: I was at the Great Lakes Bible School last summer, my second time attending. My son Bro. Grant, who has attended several times, wanted to go, so I took him. I was asked to do the children’s and the adult music that year, which I was very excited about. I used a lot of my own music. After hearing about the final programs, Bro. Paul Elliott and Bro. Mark Drabenstott asked if I would be interested in getting my music out there and suggested that WCF could help.
Levi: I’m really happy that you’ve gone through with this project. It was fun for me to listen to these songs. These are all recordings from other times, right?
Julie: Yes. We thought we could get it up and running faster that way, so I got permission from all the people who originally made the CDs to put an album together of my already pre-recorded songs. LORD willing, going forward, we are going to work on getting some other more recent songs done in a professional way.
Levi: Music has been important to you for a long time. Do you have a number of how many songs you’ve written?
Julie: My daughters and I made a list because we’re going to try to make a book of all the music put together so that I don’t have to look under the piano or in a box! We counted about 120 songs, between children’s and adult songs. A lot more than I thought when we put them all together!
Levi: Let’s talk about the songs on the album!
Julie: I am going to go in order of the year I wrote them rather than the order on the album. “Hannah’s Song,” I wrote in 1990. The lyrics come from 1 Samuel 2, where we read Hannah’s prayer after she gives her son Samuel to Eli. Hannah is my daughter’s name, so you can tell I really liked the story of Hannah.
God lifts up those who are low
Interestingly, Mary repeats a lot of the words of Hannah. When you think about it, it appears that Hannah was praying for a son, for the Messiah. In this particular song, she’s rejoicing because God lifts up those who are low, and Mary says the same words. They were both looking for a Messiah.
The next set of songs on this album are from 1992. I wrote a cantata called “The Greatest of These is Love,” that I used at Shippensburg Bible School and at what was Hanover Bible School at the time. The song “Love is Patient” is from 1 Corinthians 13. Everybody knows these verses are very well-loved because they’re about love! God provided me with music when I read those verses, so I wrote that one.
It’s beautiful because it shows how love is an action. Love is something that we do. The other is “Let Yours Not Be the Outward Adorning,” which talks about how it’s not what we put on or what we have on the outside that matters. It’s what comes out of the inside of your heart. Through Christ and through training our hearts, we can have the qualities of love.
“Let Yours Not Be the Outward Adorning” was put on the Thy Kingdom Come CD by the South Australia Christadelphian Youth Choir. And “Love is Patient” was on the Our Blessed Hope CD from South Australia. I know people don’t use CDs so much anymore, but for those of us who remember them, they were used quite a bit.
Levi: When I listened to the music before this interview, I remembered “Love is Patient” because my mom would play Our Blessed Hope a bunch. I would have been a kid in the mid-nineties. I’ve heard that song many times, and I immediately recognized that one when I listened to the album.
Julie: Aww! That’s really nice. Yeah, I was very excited when these got recorded. There’s a special feeling when you’ve put notes together, and you can hear how they’re supposed to sound in your head. But until the voices come in and sing them, you really don’t know what they’re going to sound like. It’s great to hear the song come alive with many voices. We played all these CDs for my kids too. I think my older kids are about your age.
The next group of songs are from the year 1994. The theme for the Bible Schools I was doing that summer was “May His Glory Fill the Whole Earth.” One of the songs is called “Lift Up Your Eyes,” and it’s from Genesis 13. I wanted verses that talked about the land being inherited, that the reward will be on earth, and that God’s earth will be filled with His glory. So I used Genesis 13:14-17, which is when Abraham is promised the land. “Lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are northward and southward, eastward and westward. For all the land that you see, I will give to you and to your seed forever.”
Musically, I was really excited about this song because it has a little bit of a Jewish sound to it, and a marching, upbeat style. When we take on the name of Christ, we become the seed of Abraham and march to the Kingdom with him.
Also from 1994 are the songs “The Time of Singing Has Come,” which is what we named the album after, and “Behold, He’s Coming Soon.”
“The Time of Singing Has Come” is actually on this new album twice. The recording on the Shalom CD from British Columbia has a gorgeous male solo voice, and then the choir comes in. It’s just a beautiful rendition of the song. The other song recording on the “One Faith, One Hope” CD from South Australia has the men come in first, the ladies come in, and the entire choir sings together. And that version has a descant, which I wrote later, and it just lends a different sound to the whole song.
They’re both very good, which shows me that when we can all sing together, we can be singing the same song, but we can do it differently. It doesn’t mean that we’re not at one with each other. It just means we each have a different voice, and all our voices being put together is important and special. So, I really enjoyed having the two different versions of that song.
“Behold, He’s Coming Soon” is from Revelation 22. It was written in the program “May His Glory Fill the Whole Earth” and later recorded on the “Thy Kingdom Come” CD. It fits well with that theme because it talks about Christ coming back to the earth.
I had a lot more trouble with this one because, most of the time, when I write a song, I read the Scripture, and then the song comes to me. That time, I had a melody that I really liked, and I was trying and praying to get verses that would fit it. It took me a little while, but I finally came up with, “Behold, He’s coming soon. He will bring his reward to repay everyone for what he has done. He is the Alpha and the Omega, He is the first and the last, the beginning and end.”
That song changes keys as you go up, and the piano has these rolling swells; the sound is quite different from the other songs.
Then the final song that I haven’t yet talked about on the new album is quite emotional. I think you, Levi, will remember the story behind this, “A Prayer of Moses.” It was composed in 2007, and this recording is from the Manitoulin Youth Choir singing it. When I first wrote this song, I was at the piano at home in my music room and I had the words and melody.
“Satisfy in the morning with your steadfast love, that you may rejoice and be glad. Be glad all your days, make us glad as many days as thou afflicted us, and as many years as evil you have seen, or we have seen.” I really didn’t know how much that would affect me, and how much I would sing that song, and how much I needed that song until a little bit later, which I’ll share with you in a moment.
My son Grant, who was 20 years old at the time, came into the room, he heard this, and he was so excited. And he said, “Mom, that sounds like a spiritual! I want to arrange that.” Little did I know, but the Manitoulin Youth Conference was doing Moses that summer. And this song is from Psalms 91 and 92, which is the song of Moses.
Grant was working for a music director at a high school near us who had him put in all the keyboards and all the computer systems into a music lab there, fairly new at the time, for students to be able to write and do different things with music. So, Grant took what I had written to that lab. He made a beautiful arrangement, then he called me and said, “Mom, you have to come and listen.” He took me there around 11 PM. I listened with tears. It was beautiful. I was so, so excited. So was Grant!
“A Prayer of Moses” was put into the music program for the Youth Conference that year. But, as I said, little did we know what was coming. Grant couldn’t make it to the Friday night concert at Manitoulin that year because he had previous commitments, so he left the camp early.
I listened with tears. It was beautiful.
He got in a car accident on the way home and went into a coma. In fact, he was in a coma for about six weeks. During this time, the young people at the camp had to decide whether they would sing the song because it was so emotional and because Grant and I had written it. And they decided to go ahead and sing it. The recording that we have on the new album is from that performance. Some of the young people sang it again when they came to the Detroit hospital Grant was moved to.
Levi: Yes, I remember very well how emotional that time was at the camp, being there then. My wife, Sis. Jess and I were there at the camp, and Jess was performing in the choir. So her voice is in there somewhere. And performing that, knowing what we all knew, was a very emotional moment because, for so long, we didn’t know how it was going to work out with Grant.
Julie: Yeah, we didn’t know.
Levi: For such a long time. So, I’m glad we’re highlighting that and sharing that song again.
Julie: And we were very glad the camp sang it because we played it several times for Grant afterward, and, as I said, they sang it at the hospital. He didn’t get to hear it from his hospital room, but we heard it as a family, and it meant so much to us to know the support that we had and how the music and Grant touched people. So we are very grateful and thankful that it can be shared on this album.
Levi: Thank you. It’s amazing to have all those stories, and it really is a collection, right? Recordings from 1990 to 2007. Seven songs. Multiple countries, multiple choirs, all together. Definitely, very cool.
Julie: I wanted to add one more story, something else to show how much music works in the brain and how wonderful it is, and one of the reasons why God tells us to sing. Grant, when he first started waking up from the coma, could not remember writing this song, but he could remember the song, and he could remember all the words.
Praise God, he was able to have his memory come back later. It took almost a year to get his memory back for many of the events that happened before his accident, but the words and the music were there in his heart and mind the whole time. It’s quite amazing.
God is using me with music in a different way. And I’m very grateful.
Levi: That is absolutely stunning. There’s a mysterious, obviously spiritual thing around music. It has such power. Thank you so much for your time, Julie, and for sharing so much. I’m excited for more people to benefit from the album.
Julie: Yes, thank you. It’s been a pleasure. Music has been a big part of my life since I was young. I didn’t go into music because my father said it wasn’t very reliable as a source of income, but God is using me with music in a different way. And I’m very grateful.
Levi: I’m thankful that God has and is using your music to help so many other people. Thank you!
Simi Hills Ecclesia, CA
If you liked this article, you may be interested in reading or revisiting Sis. Julie’s article that was published in the January 2021 Tidings Magazine, titled “In Harmony”.
Listen to The Time of Singing Has Come: Songs of Encouragement and Exhortation on Spotify, YouTube, or any other major streaming platform under WCF Christadelphian Music.
The episode of the WCF podcast “A Little Faith” that this interview appears on was released on April 19, 2023.