The Songwriting Journey: Crafting the Lyrics

In an earlier post, I described how our church began its songwriting trajectory with the view to eventually having our congregation use a pool of “homegrown” songs in our corporate worship.

To recap, we selected a winning song from all those that were written as part of our New Song Cafe in September last year.

That song was “Your Love” by Joe Wee Chuah, Rina Tean, Melvin Kway and Brittany Gan.

We then purposed to refine the song further and then to work out its musical arrangements.

Over the last many weeks, Dave and I have been working on the lyrics to:

  • ensure the song is theologically grounded;
  • refine the words further to tidy up some thematic threads and to give the song an overall unity;
  • round off some of the imagery.

Actually, we have been really slow in exchanging drafts, and to be honest, the original was already pretty polished.

Here is a mark-up of the changes:

Your love Lyrics

As you can see, the changes were minimal since the original lyricists did such a good job.

When I first read the lyrics, I thought they were pretty generic. Recently, however, I was sharing with the Perth Prayer team about “hope”, particularly because in the current economic conditions in our city, with people losing their jobs, the price of oil dipping (our economy is very much based on oil, gas and mining) and the fall in the sharemarket, there is a lot of pessimism out there.

But yet, I believe that this year is a “Year of Possessing Our Possessions”, of entering into the promised land.

The problem is one of perspective. In Numbers 13, of the 12 spies that were sent to scout out Canaan, 10 reported a land that devoured people; a land, whilst full of milk and honey, was inhabited by indomitable giants. Only two of the spies came back with a different report. Caleb and Joshua kept their eyes on God and saw that the land had already been given to Israel. Ultimately, of their generation, only Joshua and Caleb were able to enter into their promised possession.

So this year, I believe that God has already given you His promises for your life. But the circumstances around you might seem unyielding; that the promises seem improbable and distant. Keep your eyes on God, the One who is able to fulfill His promises. His promises are “yes” and He has called us to echo with “Amen!”.

When we revisited the lyrics to “Your Love” it became clear to me that the song was breathed out of a prophetic moment, capturing a sense of hope in God’s unfailing love despite the circumstances that we may face. It will capture the cry of many in our congregation. And it will also be prophetic in the sense that it will propel our ministry forward in the area of songwriting.

Tomorrow night, a team of musicians will get together to work on the arrangements. It’s going to be exciting.

In the meantime, here is the “raw” recording of the song by Joe Wee. He plays everything, so the recording is not really that “raw”. Enjoy!

 

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