It is tough to be in a bad mood when you finish listening to a Rend Collective song. The Northern Irish hit makers have found a way to lift us up and fill our hearts. But beyond a fresh sound and meaningful lyrics, what’s at the root of the contagious joy they share? Lead singer Chris Llewellyn takes a crack at explaining the phenomenon.
“I think the reason we gravitate to joy is, in a weird way, because we’re kind of naturally quite grumpy people, believe it or not! We come from this slightly damp, wet, slightly cold country. Waking up in the morning, it’s hard to find joy when you can’t find the sun.”
“But one thing we’ve realized is that the joy isn’t something that is automatic for human beings at all. It’s a spiritual discipline that we need to cultivate and actively practice. Happiness is what happens to us. You pass your driving test. You get a box of chocolates. But joy is something that’s so much deeper than that. It is our strength.”
Chris takes us back to what God’s word says on this key distinction.
“The scripture says that the joy of the Lord is our strength that strength can sustain us in dark times. We can as Christians have this almost defiant joy and that’s what we’re sort of chasing. To be not just happy – but to be joyful.”
The delightful irony behind the genesis of Rend Collective is that the band didn’t get it’s start as a music group at all. They were self described “confused twenty somethings” trying to figure out life as a Bible study group.
“We realized that between high school graduation and the time you’re married there was a real gap in church where you were supposed to fit in. Unfortunately it’s in that gap that we saw a lot of our friends walk away from faith. A lot of it was because of the simplicity of the answers they had been learning in youth group just didn’t stand up to real life. And they didn’t have any community to kind of wrestle through the questions and the gray areas that are so difficult.”
“We wanted to create a space where people actually in that age group could go where we’re really on fire for Jesus. And the funny thing – that Bible study which was actually called ‘Rend’ – there was basically no music! We didn’t play music! There were no lights, or stage, or anything. We just kind of sat on the floor of the sports hall, opened the Bible, and prayed together.”
Chris ties the incredible tale together with characteristic humor.
“We’re still basically those kids on the sports hall floor. With a ukulele. And sometimes not.”
Chris Llewellyn is the lead singer of celebrated Northern Irish worship pioneers Rend Collective.