Poetry in Song: “If We Answer”

Okay, time for more music. I have at least one reader who wanted more in the Poetry in Song series after I kicked it off a couple months ago. Here is another installment, finally.

Today I’m featuring an intriguing number from Steve Green, off of his excellent album Woven in Time. The sound is uncharacteristically gritty for him (believe it or not, it reminds me just an itty bitty bit of the theme music for LadyHawke, BUT it’s not THAT bad so DON’T STOP READING PLEASE, THANK YOU), but the light rock feel works surprisingly well with the lyrics. Just read them out loud and feel the rhythm. Pause to savor the satisfaction of each perfect rhyme. It’s not absolutely perfect, but it comes close. Written by Doug McKelvey, Phil Naish and Scott Dente (I don’t know who handled the lyrics or if it was a collaborative thing):

He is fierce and He is tender
He’s our judge and our defender
And He calls us to surrender
For He loves us to the core
He is frightening and resplendent
He is present and transcendent
He’s enmeshed and independent
And He cannot love us more

(Chorus)

So He calls our names
And we fear Him for His goodness
For we know He won’t be tamed
So He calls our names
And we wonder if we answer
Will we ever be the same?

He’s a comfort and a terror
A destroyer and repairer
He’s more terrible and fairer
Than our mortal tongues can say
He is hidden and revealing
He’s appalling and appealing [<--arguably the weakest line---just a bit of over-extension]
He’s our wounding and our healing
And He will not turn away

Holy Lamb of God
And He cannot love us more
Holy Lamb of God

He is wild, He is wonder
He is whispering and He is thunder
He is over, He is under
And He suffered for our gain
He’s a comfort and a danger
He’s a father and a stranger
He’s enthroned and in a manger
And He says we’re worth His pain

Listen:

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4 Comments

Filed under Anatomy of a Song, Songs, Songwriting

4 responses to “Poetry in Song: “If We Answer”

  1. He’s appalling and he’s appealing.

    That line is genius.

    • Ha! Well we can agree to disagree. I think it’s the only weak line in the whole thing. :P

      My reasons are that even though I wouldn’t have a problem with calling God terrible or fear-inducing, I would not call him horrible. He is powerful and frightening in his splendor, but the word “appalling” is meant to encompass horrible and grotesque connotations as well. It’s not precise enough for the purpose and leaves itself open to too many interpretations.

      As for the word “appealing,” it’s a strange way to refer to God. You find God “appealing?” A synonym for that would be “attractive.” Do you find Jesus “attractive?” We are drawn to Him because we love Him and He loves us, but the word “appealing” is cheap. It doesn’t rise to a sufficiently high level for the context.

  2. donsands

    Not much for Steve, though I appreciate his talent. I did like him more in my early years as a quickened saint from a filthy sinner. I do however really like him in this vid: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NRJHKzU_t1M

    Gives me goosebumps!

    • I think he’s always sounded pretty much the same, though he’s obviously aged a lot from his golden prime (e.g. “A Mighty Fortress”). His voice is quieter and less strong now, but it’s still Steve.

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