With the new year 2020 fast approaching, many experience a call to “start anew,” whether it be through resolutions, habits, or even lifestyles. In the spirit of thoughtful reflection and great change taking place during this time, we’re excited to share an inside look into singer Jen Aldana’s original music video: “Heaven Rejoices.” Jen is a Boston based singer-songwriter and worship leader at Impact Church in Medford, MA. She was also a singer in UniteBoston’s 3rd annual Celebration of Worship and in the blog below, she also shares about how her experience in the band shaped her understanding of different denominations within the Church.
Released on November 1st, “Heaven Rejoices” captures the stories of those who may be struggling or feel disconnected, but ultimately find their way back to a state of grace through facing their fears and reconnecting with God. These stories are shown from the perspectives of three primary characters:
- The “Happy” Couple, played by Jen’s Impact Church friends Saskia and Jalen, focuses on a woman who feels tied in an unhealthy relationship with her significant other, but finds the strength to walk away after realizing “she deserves better than this” because she is “beautifully, wonderfully made and loved by God.”
- The Dreamer, played by Jen’s song producer Danny Godwin, touches on struggles with anxiety, prescription drug addiction, and emotional disconnection from friends–culminating in a “moment of relief” when the character lets go of his addiction in order to “give it up to God.”
- The Runaway, played by Jen’s Impact Church friend Brittany, serves as the most abstract character “running away” from an unseen fear in the woods, but eventually “brings the whole video together” through her “rejoicing” and “dancing.”
According to Jen, the video’s anecdotes are adapted versions of her own experiences building her relationship with God through challenging circumstances, but are told in a broader “fill in the blank” framework so viewers can relate them to their own lives. “With the video concept, I didn’t want it to be like ‘let’s show a bunch of people in a group and suddenly they get saved,’” Jen said. “It’s beautiful when that happens, but I also wanted to show imagery of struggles that relate to my story as well. Man and women alike can relate to the stories displayed in the video, and how easy it is to get tangled in these situations.”
Tying it all together, the chorus of Jen’s song “Heaven rejoices when the lost are found” acts as a thread woven throughout that inadvertently communicates the ever-cited hopeful perspective that ‘that it’s never too late to start anew.’ That said, Jen is quick to point out that the characters’ illustrated scenarios are complex, that their transitions are based on individual decisions rather than A-to-B transformations, and that the struggles represented may still continue even while walking with God. “I wanted to show for the people who already believe that this walk is not easy,” Jen said. “You’re still going to struggle, and tough things are going to happen, but God is always present”.
Jen’s motivation to share such individual experiences stems from her drive to communicate topics “that are not openly spoken about or shown in art or music you would put under a ‘Christian’ category. “I’ve always been a person to tackle a heavy topic, and I wanted to express myself the same way I would artistically if the music wasn’t faith-based,” Jen said. “So I just want to show, this is what real life looks like, but God is still there. He can still be there for you, and present in your life if you want him to be there.”
Inspired by Luke 15:10, Jen sees her own music work in close alignment with UniteBoston’s mission for “Christian unity” because the underlying themes of ‘rejoicing’ and ‘starting anew’ ring “true regardless of denomination.” Reflecting this back to experience at this year’s UniteBoston Celebration of Worship, Jen said her “awesome conversations about Jesus” with fellow singer Lucia Maria were “very unifying” because they had the “same heart rooted in Jesus, originating from different denominations (Protestant and Catholic).” “Heaven still rejoices when you choose God, when you accept Him into your life,” Jen said. “Every church home offers a different thing, but Jesus is all the same, the same God that we serve. And I think that pretty much embodies what UniteBoston is about: breaking barriers and bringing people from different denominations and church homes together. It was just such a beautiful moment for me.”