Calvin College Chimes

Wendell Kimbrough worships with Calvin through the Psalms

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Wendell Kimbrough, a contemporary hymn writer, led Calvin’s Friday Songfest chapel by singing some of his original songs. Kimbrough started the service with “Rejoice In All Of Your Works,” a song of praise and thanksgiving based on Psalm 104. Following that song, he invited the crowd to sit down and enter into a time for lament. He cited Psalm 50 in which the Lord rejects the help of man and asks humanity instead to lean on him.

“In church, you’re allowed to be joyful and to confess sin, and that’s about it,” Kimbrough said. The Psalms present to him a whole range of emotions that he and the church can use to be more emotionally honest with God.

After singing lament, the rest of the service focused on assurance from God of the Church’s security in Christ and gratitude following salvation. Kimbrough concluded with his song, “Oh Give Thanks,” which is based on Psalm 107.

In addition to his focus on the Psalms, Kimbrough stressed writing song that entire congregations can sing, not just worship leaders. He expressed disappointment in how the decrease of public singing in American culture has restricted music to just the leaders on stage.

“There’s an encouragement I get from hearing the whole body singing. People need to hear their brothers and sisters [in Christ] singing the truth. It’s biblical,” emphasized Kimbrough.

Kimbrough draws inspiration from both secular and sacred sources. Randy Newman and Paul Simon’s lyricism particularly inspire him. Growing up in North Carolina, his church sang hymns which still impacts his work today.

Kimbrough also expressed thankfulness to God and to Calvin for listening to his music sung in a corporate setting. He stated that he enjoys playing at Calvin and likes to stand back and listen to the students worship.

Wendell Kimbrough’s music and upcoming tour dates are available on his website:

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