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The book of Jeremiah doesn’t seem to be an obvious place to look for the inspiration for an album of contemporary music. But when Rachel Wilhelm, a singer-songwriter from Knoxville, TN, was asked to lead a retreat for church musicians on Jeremiah, she was inspired to express the message of the prophet in songs.

The resulting album, simply called Jeremiah, carefully and thoughtfully expresses Jeremiah’s words of warning, as in “Turn to Me,” where she sings, “My people, my children, they do not know me.” Or as Jeremiah turns to lament, Wilhelm joins him in “My Heart is Faint” by singing, “I’d weep the day and night / for the hard heart of my people.” By listening carefully to this album, one gets an outline of the entire book.

Even the upbeat setting of Jeremiah 29, “I Know the Plans,” a passage often taken out of context and used merely to encourage, contains Jeremiah’s charge to the people: “build houses and settle down / plant your garden and eat what you sow.” It puts the encouragement in the original setting: “Though you wait, in a place that is not your home / I am there in the waiting, my promise sure.”

Jeremiah can serve as a template for how to build a cohesive album that gives the listener new insights into Scripture. Rachel Wilhelm has given us a gift with this album. (Rachel Wilhelm Music)

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