I have been blessed by Judy's music for years, as well as the music of her sister, Becky Morecraft. The majority of my driving time is spent listening to one or the other (and often both) of the Belcher women sing. Becky's "Songs for the Church Victorious" is one of my all-time favorites as is "Arise! Shine!" (by both sisters), and "Pilgrim's Praise," Judy's collaboration with Craig Pitman. And now added to my list of favorites is Judy's newest production, "If You Love Me," songs based on the Ten Commandments.
It is a masterpiece. The letter of the law and the spirit of the law are wed in Judy's music as they should be in our hearts. Although I have listened to the recordings many times now, certain songs, certain phrases still pierce my heart, sending sheets of tears down my face: "Coram Deo, wherever we go, we live before the face of God"; "We will honor and adore, hoping in Him evermore"; "But in beauty of holiness we worship you, we enter thy courts with praise." At other times, I play percussion on my steering wheel and tap my foot, joining Judy with my loud voice, "By your Spirit I will live in your law, in your love." "One Man, One Wife" — a song about the Seventh Commandment — is romantic and glorious enough to be a wedding song!
I am not a musician. Give me a tune in a bucket and soon you will hear, "Splash!" I am among the throngs who make a "joyful noise" to the Lord — and not much else. So I cannot explain the musical technicalities of why this CD is so great. Even though a variety of musical styles are used, the transitions are such that you never feel as though you have skipped from one CD to another. Judy credits Michael Gleason, her arranger and producer, with transforming what she terms "living room" recordings into the musical masterpieces we hear. But, I am sure Michael would agree that he has great material to work with. And that comes from Judy's heart which has been "tamed by God" through, first, the nurturing of godly parents and, now as an adult, through a spirit submissive to the Word and godly counsel. She has been supported for years in her work by a loving husband and family who pray for her, lovingly critique her, and strengthen her so that she can make these remarkable offerings to the King she serves.
Becky has told me that when her sister composes, she does it with the Bible and the Westminster Standards spread open before her. After she has the lyrics and tune down, she checks with her husband, Wayne, and brother-in-law, Joe Morecraft (two of the Lamb's mighty warriors) to make sure she has been faithful to the Word. She then refines her work to make sure it is God-honoring and edifying to the saints. This explains the soundness of doctrine that has for years flowed from this sweet psalmist. Those who appreciate robust Calvinistic theology for its truth, grandeur, and soul-piercing qualities can learn from Judy just how melodious and beautiful sound doctrine can be. People who are not disposed to listen to sound teaching, and who would stomp away from someone who was explaining the five points of Calvinism, will find themselves tapping their toes to Judy's presentation and come away from the experience more Reformed than they ever planned!
I am thrilled at what I see God doing in and through Judy and her sister Becky. Both, through their music and now Becky through her writing, are testimony to the horde of covenant children coming on. Covenant children, when you feel yourselves veering off the narrow way, enticed by covetous lust to become famous in a dead, God-hating, humanistic culture, look for and follow the bright lights of these covenant women who teach you that you can be a singer, songwriter, poet, and writer for the glory of your King. With diligence, hard work, persistence, and submission to your God you can outshine anything the world puts before you. And because you are of the covenant, that light will shine for generations to come. If you want to learn how it can be done, listen and learn from masters of their craft!
- Susan Burns
Susan is the managing editor of the the Faith for All of Life magazine and the Chalcedon Report (bi-monthly newsletter). Susan has worked for Chalcedon since 1997. She lives in Virginia and is rather fond of animals, especially her many cats.