Guitarist, songwriter, and author Stu Garrard, best known as Stu G, the one-time Delirious? band member, recently put his passion into exploring the Beatitudes from a fresh perspective. The result is The Beatitudes Project, which includes a book, Words From the Hill (NavPress/Tyndale), a full-length album, Beatitudes (Fuel Music), and a yet-to-be titled documentary film, which are set to release this spring.
“The Beatitudes came to life for me as announcements of God’s presence when things aren’t working out,” Garrard says. “I very much saw them as grace and mercy, and announcements of what is already, not what you have to attain.
“Life doesn’t work out like we expect it to, and we spend a lot of time and energy trying to climb a spiritual ladder, but God is fully available to us at the bottom of life. What we want are answers, but what is offered is presence,” he says.
He stresses to Christian retailers, “The message is we are able to lift our heads with confidence, and know God is on our side. God is with us.”
Garrard, who led the project and authored the book, says the book, offers a wide range of stories from real people, encompassing all faiths and walks of life who embody mercy, poverty, meekness, the hungry and thirsty, the peacemakers, the mourners, and the pure in heart—as seen, heard, and experienced through a modern-day lens.
“Out of the stories, the songs have come. In some ways, the book is the backbone to the project. It’s not about my story alone. It’s been a journey of gathering other people’s stories as they pertain to, and embody the Beatitudes. With the album, I wanted to reach out to other artists and say, ‘Can you help me make this record?’ I’ve been absolutely stunned by the response of the artists involved,” Garrard says.
In a “surprising journey,” he went outside of his own comfort zone to capture “very human” stories. In the process, he also connected with some of the biggest names in Contemporary Christian Music like Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, Martin Smith, Matt Maher, Audrey Assad, and others, who are featured on the album. The same compelling stories are captured in the documentary.