It’s rare when someone can step back at the end of something and realize the fulfillment of a life-long dream. For Stu Garrard, it was just eight short years ago when all of his dreams, it seemed, had all but left him. The Delirious? days had ended, and for the all-but founding member (“Stu G” joined the band within just two years of its official formation) of one of the most iconic worship outfits of the modern era, Stu admits, “I kind-of hit my own personal crisis.”
But like a polyrhythm on a drum loop, there was always something permeating throughout Garrard’s life—and it was found, rediscovered, and brought to new light in the book of Matthew. “I don’t know what it is,” says Stu G about the Sermon On The Mount, that, he says, has captivated him since he was a child. But what was once favorite scripture passages to read or write underneath an autograph for fans at shows, showed up in a very real and tangible way when the artist found himself at the bottom of life.
“It’s an upside-down message,” adds Stu, which describes the crux of The Beatitudes Project, a multi-faceted offering that incorporates an album, Beatitudes (buy), a book, Words From The Hill—An Invitation To The Unexpected (buy), and forthcoming film. With intentionality, Garrard steps back from any potential limelight, and invites his friends to shine, with the album alone featuring the likes of Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, a reunion with Delirious? band mate Martin Smith, Propaganda, Joel Houston of Hillsong UNITED, Matt Maher, All Sons & Daughters, John Mark McMillan, and Audrey Assad among many others. Considering the vast scope of this project, headlined by its all-encompassing and important message, CCM Magazine highlights Beatitudes for this issue and invited Stu G to provide personal insight into fulfilling a dream he didn’t even know he had.
CCM Magazine: Let’s start at the beginning. How did your admiration for the Sermon On The Mount inspire some of the first visions for this project?
Stu Garrard: Back in the day when we were playing with Delirious?, we’d meet people before or after the show and a lot of them would ask us what our favorite scriptures were. I was always drawn to the Sermon On The Mount. Maybe it is because it’s how the gospel works practically? Sometimes we trip over the words of Jesus when He says, “I am the way.” But I think if we see “the way” as what He laid out in the Sermon On The Mount, and especially the Beatitudes, I think that gives us a real practical thing of what the Christian life looks like.
I was drawn to that kind of thing at a young age, actually. That’s always been my favorite portion of scripture. In terms of the Beatitudes, I thought, “There’s eight themes here—from poor in spirit to persecution—that’s like, a nice number for a record or some kind of project.” I just thought it would be as simple as writing songs about scenes. It’s always a good time to talk about peacemaking and mercy and poverty and pure in heart. Now, what does that mean? What does that look like? Who are the meek? And lifting up the voices of those who are marginalized or suppressed—we can never exhaust those sources. And I thought, “Yeah, okay, this is going to be a Delirious? record, and we’ll sing about these things, and we’ll make a nice little project.”
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