Echoes, the newest studio record from Matt Maher (Essential/Sony) is a collection of declarations in the midst of dealing with human suffering. After writing most of the songs for the record, Maher lost his father, and ΓÇ£EchoesΓÇ¥ took on a whole new personal dimension for the artist. ΓÇ£Worship music paints with broad strokes for large groups of people, that stem from intimate stories and experiences; the challenge, as a creator, is to somehow let the former come out of the latter.ΓÇ¥ In his own moment of loss, Maher found himself processing his grief from the truths and declarations in the new songs. ΓÇ£Jesus chose to respond to death by embracing it. By embracing it, He destroyed it. This record became, for me, my response to sin and suffering. I had to formulate my own echo. I had to decide if I was going to echo the message of the cross back to the world, or my own narrow view of suffering.ΓÇ¥
The title ΓÇ£EchoesΓÇ¥ comes from the idea of passing on what weΓÇÖve heard. As children, we learn how to communicate from what we see and hear. If ΓÇÿfaith comes by hearing,ΓÇÖ (Romans 10:17) as St. Paul says, ΓÇ£then what we choose to echo back into the world from what we hear is vital.ΓÇ¥ Spiritually, itΓÇÖs about how you transmit your faith back into the world. In modern society, people can become satisfied amplifying someone elseΓÇÖs ideas. We read a post or see an image and think, ΓÇÿYes, thatΓÇÖs how I feel.ΓÇÖ But without true contemplation, it can ring hollow. ΓÇ£I believe the people who should be most mindful and most thoughtful about what they say and how they respond are Christians,ΓÇ¥ shares Maher. ΓÇ£That is the main message of this album – asking the question, ΓÇÿHow do we echo our faith?ΓÇÖ”
The record beautifully showcases the tension of worship in the midst of suffering while still being able to speak and sing of the glory of God. For all of its focus on the human condition of suffering, ΓÇ£EchoesΓÇ¥ is not a sad record. ThereΓÇÖs joy weaved throughout, a joy that can only be found in knowing and being known. GodΓÇÖs grace is enough. ItΓÇÖs a running theme on ΓÇ£Echoes,” marrying praise with suffering, adoration with sorrow, joy with loss.
Maher is no stranger to songs that connect to the heart of the human condition, having penned numerous No. 1 hits and performed around the world, including at an intimate meeting with Pope Francis. With ΓÇ£Echoes,ΓÇ¥ he digs a bit deeper, exposing the raw nerve of love and loss and piercing it with truth.