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Divine Invitation - Click to view!I've driven the California highway that holds the white windmills spanning endlessly across the brown landscape. The arms blur, morphing into each other with no distinction. But the cover of Divine Invitation shows the arms bending, transforming into ribbons, and breaking the straight mold. The band Something Like Silas is the ribbon arms of worship music. They're unexpected and almost bizarre in musical style, yet their strangeness is a welcomed diversion from the average worship project.

Something Like Silas finds inspiration in creating worship from bands like delirious? and The Violet Burning. Divine Invitation incorporates heavy guitars that soar one moment in airy acoustics only to plunge into deep distortion several measures later. Malina Owyoung's Fender Rhodes keyboard adds fillers within each movement to give that extra sparkle. Her husband Eric leads the band toward a unified and passionate expression of praise.

The title track offers a perfect example of this band's range. Beginning soft like whispers, Eric and Malina duet with keyboard and piano. Then the guitars, bass and drums arrive, and Eric jumps to his falsetto, singing, "In this divine invitation we find Your embrace / and in our deep adoration see the light of Your face / In this divine invitation we all find the place / For our souls, where the longings were born long ago." It's only in answering the Divine call that we find rest for our wandering spirits.

This theme of invitation saturates much of this recording. In "Words that You Say," the band invites God to make His presence manifest so He can speak deep into their hearts: "I await the words that You say / I open my life / I am longing just to hear these words / that You say, that You say." There's also an invitation to be sent out and fulfill the Great Commission: "Can I be a channel of Your love / a reflection of Your light?" These words are framed by a pulsing yet delicate beat. The invitation to be brought into the throne room of God appears in their cover of Matt Redman's classic, "Better is One Day." While I normally dislike hearing songs that have been over-recorded through covers (see Passion: Better is One Day and Passion: One Day Live), Something Like Silas takes this song to renewed heights. The tune "Please" asks God to draw near and remind the seeker of His omnipresence: "Please tell me in this holy fear that You are near me / in silence I will know that You will hear me, Lord." Invitations on this level require a degree of openness, and Something Like Silas allows itself to be transparent within this recording. The band is unafraid to question, unafraid to reveal a dependence on God, unafraid to hurt.

"In the Burning"—the most reckless, power-driven cut on the album—shows how fearless this band is in seeking the fire of God. The chorus rings, "In the burning / I have the feeling my senses are far too small to contain Your fire / You are so beautiful like no other / I am burning for You." After the musical chaos settles to relative calm, Malina repeats, as a mantra, "In the fire, I will find You." The truth of this lyric is profound: it's often in the moment of crisis when the truth of one's character shines bright. When the road stretches smooth it's often easy to claim dependence on God. But when the road turns rocky, do we have the strength to forego self and stand in this unseen entity called faith…and remain standing? Are we able to sing, "In the fire, I will find You"?

Something Like Silas manages to find God in every circumstance, in every road, and Divine Invitation is the documentation of these discoveries. Experimental in both music and lyrics, Something Like Silas is a gem that should remain visible if record executives want the bland state of worship music to change. If you've written off worship albums as cliché and overcooked, Divine Invitation will re-ignite your hunger. The next time you take a turn down your road, make sure this album drives along with you.
- Hollie Stewart
September 2004
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