Be Still

Posted by Mark Tedder on 8 April 2015

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The news today is full of stories of the persecution of Christians. Yet far away from Middle Eastern mountainsides and remote African villages are thousands of communities of believers spread throughout China, where authorities are adding increasing pressure in an attempt to stop the spread of the Gospel. Mark Tedder was there recently, and found that in the midst of persecution, the Church is singing louder than ever...

15 miles from our apartment, on the other side of Beijing, Wang Shi - a Chinese friend who I had been mentoring - invited me to meet some of his muso friends.  So we left the little 27th floor apartment in the Lido District of the city, made our way through the daily spaghetti junction of traffic and the mass of people in this sprawling city of 23 million people.

We arrived at the small apartment and I was introduced. The four musicians were all Christians, all with a passion for worship, and holding traditional Chinese instruments. We talked a while, played for a bit and then I played them a very rough demo of a song I had just written called Be Still.

It seems ironic really, that in such a loud city as Beijing such a quiet thought would come to me. Yet Psalm 46:10 says ‘be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted among the earth.’ 

I played them the song because I didn’t want to keep it to myself. When I was writing it I had heard (in my head) a collection of Chinese voices and instruments singing and playing this song. I wanted to keep it simple yet maintain the integrity of the scripture. And because we were living in Beijing, I wanted to attempt something that had never been tried before – a ‘live’ worship recording in the heart of the People’s Republic of China. I wanted something that would allow us freedom to express our worship to God in a closed society, something that would continue singing long after we left that amazing, life changing country. 

And so the concept for ‘The Door – a live worship project from Beijing, China’ was born. We were told by the authorities that we could NOT under any circumstances record a video of the concert. Yet, with much discussion and prayer we went ahead with capturing the essence of several thousand people, from 70 nations, all worshiping together in the 21st Century Theatre in Beijing.

We recorded Be Still with Wang Shi, the young worship leader I’d been working alongside. We both entered the song in our own way, in our own cultural context, but the Spirit of God infused that day in worship before a few thousand people as they let their voices ring out. In total freedom they sang ‘the nations know your matchless name, the earth resounds with thunderous praise, the rocks and trees declare that you are God…’

It was a very, very special moment. We were in the heart of China witnessing the first-ever ‘live’ worship event at the International Church of Beijing being recorded to audio and video. Even today we are still receiving messages from all over China of how they got a copy of the worship project. Long after we left that life-changing nation the impact is still being felt.

God is the God of the impossible. He makes something from nothing. He calls dry bones to walk and breathe again. He opens and shuts doors that seem impossible to us. He opens blind eyes, He makes the lame to walk again, and He provided a door, a window of opportunity for us to let His glory be seen in the heart of communist China.

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