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RISE UP (2004)
Rise Up - Click to view!You might think that Rita Springer, a worship leader who ministers specifically to women, would have a sweet, calm, floating voice, something like Leigh Nash. Or maybe you would remember that her conference, "Fragrant Oil", occurs worldwide throughout the year, and that it takes a tough woman to construct such a project. I can't imagine a delicate flower of a woman leading this task. Rita Springer is tough, there's no question about that. She sings with a chick-rock, Janis Joplin feel, reminding the listener more of a boot-camp commander than a blond-haired pretty girl. Her vocals reflect her passionate—no, frantic—chase of God. Rita Springer is not your typical song leader. She's more concerned with digging her feet into the dirt, digging beyond music fluff to touch the bare bones of true worship.

Entering into God's presence is simple with Springer's newest recording, Rise Up, which was recorded live from five days of ministry in New Mexico. It's simple to reach God because the album showcases her honesty with Him. Springer is not concerned with capturing the perfect audio recording. She'd rather scream, "I want the joy of the Lord in my life" and pound the piano keys ("I Want the Joy"). She'd rather plead with God, "More of You and less of me" in "Lily of the Valley." She takes the hymn "In Christ Alone" and gives it life with raw vocals. Don't think this is a choppy B-grade recording, however. Springer's band cooks with rock-jazz intensity in songs like "Rise Up." I'm not exaggerating when I say this is one of the best worship bands I have ever heard. Rise Up puts other worship albums to shame. And the fact that she produced the CD demonstrates her gifted musical ear.

Songs like "Deep Calls to Deep," "Come All Ye Who Are Weary," and "You Give Me Life" contain delicious piano ballads, and Springer's vocals lighten to match the delicate instrumentation. Yet she retains the passion. She cries, "Deep calls to deep in the roar of Your waterfall / Let Your deep speak to my deep in Your roar of Your waterfalls" ("Deep Calls to Deep"). In most of these tracks, she breaks into times of ministry when she sings spontaneous praise to God and exhorts the women in attendance. "Put your hope in this glorious King," she sings in "Deep Calls to Deep." In "You Give Me Life" she sings, "If I'm going to say 'send me', I want to mean it / Teach me how to worship You / Don't let these just be words." The raw intimacy of such lines attracts something deep inside of me. With choruses that ring "You are my hero" in both simplicity and grandeur, I can't help but shake my head in amazement. In "You Still Have My Heart," we hear a lover's exchange: "Oh, I sigh, at Your wonders / Oh, I labor for breath at Your creation / Your majesty has my attention / Your sovereignty has my devotion / and You still have my heart." This song wraps the recording to completion in a delicate embrace.

Rise Up is a soundtrack for true intimacy with Christ. Rita Springer is a music minister, not just a woman making music. This anointing of God saturates her songs and vocals in a way I seldom see in praise and worship. I wish all worship leaders could experience this recording—experience the rough, the raw, the simple and imperfect and glorious all wrapped into one CD. If we could all learn to be this honest with God, we would watch our times of worship shift for the better. We would come even closer to His heart.
- Hollie Stewart
May 2004
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