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Army of the Lord! x Sharon Jackson-Tobas

Army of the Lord

– lyrics & music by Sharon Jackson-Tobas, Trinidad


We are the army of the Lord,

down in the battlefield.

The Word is our sword; faith is our shield;

We’re marching to victory!


So, we’re going left-right;

left-right. Praise!

Left-right; left-right. Praise!

We’re not afraid; we’re not ashamed.

We are the army of the Lord!

The Catholic News (CN) will be featuring some of our Catholic composers of hymns, and songs of praise and worship to find out how their creations were inspired. CN hopes this will generate awareness of the persons contributing to the liturgy and providing form to our many expressions of fidelity, love, thanks, gratitude to God.

Sharon Jackson-Tobas was one day looking at television when the hymn ‘Onward Christian Soldiers’ written by Sabine Baring-Gould, an English Anglican priest with music from composer Arthur Sullivan began playing.

“At the time, the thought came that if we truly are soldiers for Christ then as believers we must be in an army,” she said.

A few minutes later, Jackson-Tobas began visualising a powerful army of soldiers marching and lustily singing praises to God. “It felt as though I was in the Battle of Jericho and I simply began to sing lyrics that came immediately.”

Asked how the song would have evolved with time, she said it had not changed.

When Jackson-Tobas completed the lyrics, she took it to the St Anthony’s Pt Fortin Music Ministry; she is a parishioner of the church. “The ministers loved it!” she said. ‘Army of the Lord’ was included in the list of songs used by the Ministry in the parish and outside the parish.

Jackson-Tobas said while composing it, she did not have in mind evoking emotions from the listener, “it was simply the Holy Spirit putting a song to a seemingly real ‘video’ in my mind’s eye.”

“ ‘Army of the Lord’ was first used in a big way, outside of Point Fortin, in a joint National Choir. The event was in Queen’s Park Savannah, but I cannot remember which event it was at this time. It may have been in the late 80s. At one of the practices in the Chaguanas RC Church, Winston Garcia asked if anyone had a song which could be included in the repertoire. Someone from St Anthony’s Music Ministry offered ‘Army of the Lord’ and we sang it for them. It was included right away.”

‘Army of the Lord’ is one of those songs that prompts body movements—marching feet, a salute, when it is performed. Jackson-Tobas said the music ministers are very animated, so it was not surprising the actions used for emphasis in teaching the song were adopted by the group and remains.

She said: “We use both hands to point to our left legs and then to our right legs before lifting them up in praise. This wasn’t intentional but it stuck. Other groups keep their hands lifted for the left and right movement.”

Jackson-Tobas gives glory to God for every song the Holy Spirit places in her heart. “Based on that I say that songs given to me are not for me to keep but to share with others so that they, too, can minister to others. It therefore pleases me when others use them. I never thought, however, that this song would become so popular. Copywriting is key, though, to ensure its origin remains intact,” she said.