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Wednesday, February 25, 2009
My Beloved. Traveling Music for the 40 days
This is a little, simple song I wrote a couple of years ago on my front porch. As the spring opened up I found myself immersed in the Song of Songs.  The real song at the heart of the Song of Songs comes down to 5 Hebrew words.  They translate like this:  My beloved mine. I his. The last time I heard these lyrics sung was in the 80's standard, "His Banner over Me." It occurred to me that we weren't really singing the simplicity of these lyrics very much any more. And we completely burned out that 80's tune.  This is the song at the heart of the Song of all Songs and we weren't really singing anymore. 

One spring morning on the front porch swing I sang out these words as prayer and this simple melody flowed out.  (The great Willie Nelson was right when he said, "The air is filled with melodies.  We need only reach up and pull one out.")  As I sang the 5 words, my mind ran to Psalm 40 and I began singing each of those first several lines as verses to this new-old song. At the end I added a doxology, "Praise the Father. Praise the Son. Praise the Spirit, three in One.  Praise the Father. Praise the Son. My beloved mine I his.  

As I journeyed through those 40 days of Lent to the Cross, I imagined Jesus singing this song to his Father on that lonely road.  "My beloved mine; I his." This song captured the "joy set before him."  As my life slowly and progressively becomes "crucified with Christ," and I can more honestly and humbly whisper, "and I no longer live but Christ lives in me," this is my song. Someone out there in YouTube world put this song to a series of texts.  Listen and Watch and Pray.

A few years back on a visit to Austin, Texas, to see Chris Tomlin, I shared this song. He liked it immediately and the song began its long road to a record. Chris worked with some of the verses and invented a powerful bridge. He invested a lot in the song, pulling together a choir and making a great recording. The song was slated to be on the Hello Love album right up to the last minute when it was pulled in favor of another one. It wound up finding a spot on the iTunes version as a "bonus" track, free for those who purchase the entire iTunes record.

Perhaps that's fitting. The Song of all Songs must be free and yet a bit hidden. Off the beaten path, it must be searched out and found. I know it took me years and years to find it. The singer most always discovers this song like a treasure buried in a field. The lyrics stand the test of time while the melody moves with the age.  "My beloved mine; I his." This song rings out the very heartbeat of the cosmos; the anthem of creation, and the essence of redemption. 

I offer it here as a song for the 40 days ahead; traveling music as we head to the Cross and onward to Easter.  

For you musicians, the chord chart may be found here.  

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posted by John David Walt | at 2/25/2009 03:01:00 AM



Blogger Markio said...

This is a stunning song. I am not particularly good at putting my finger on the exact reasons for liking certain songs more than others; but I will try.

I would describe this song as simple but not simplistic. As much as that might sound like nonsense, it means something to me. This song is singable, by the second chorus you have the tune.

The words give clear account of their meaning without any sort of philosophical waffling that blights some great -but complicated- songs, but at the same time there is no reducing of faith to sound-bites.

I first listened at my Pastor's house, where I found myself awestruck by this song. Probably a contender for my favourite worship track of the last 18 months.

5:18 AM EST  
Blogger JAy. said...

Markio, I agree. Simple lyrics, but immenently powerful meaning. And it is really singable.

Hadn't heard this song before, and usually my firewall blocks YouTube. But it worked this morning. Pretty Cool.


7:35 AM EST  
Blogger Corey, Shelley & Miles said...

"Free yet a bit hidden" ...how powerful are those spaces that emerge from the corners.
Thank you so much for sharing.


11:38 AM EST  
Blogger Kendra said...


11:16 PM EST  
Blogger sandra r. said...

I have to tell you the first night I listened to this song, I was really captivated by it. I was thinking it was a revised hymn or spiritual - I'm not kidding! (I think it was the choir bringing that experience to my heart & mind...) I remember wishing I could read the album cover to find out the writers or the history of the song.
I struggled with some of the lyrics, too, because I didn't completely understand the grammatical phrasing of "my beloved mine; I his." (At first, I was hearing it as "my beloved, mine eye his" until I played it a few times more.) It was still so powerful, though, and probably one of the songs I listened to the most.

These are my favorite moments: when a song is experienced in a completely different way and the story/Scripture behind it is brought to light.

Thanks for your transparency in sharing, JD.

1:16 AM EST  
Anonymous elaine @ peace for the journey said...

I'm a huge Chris Tomlin fan and have all of his music, except this one.

I'm with Markio. Stunning. I'm going to download this one on my ipod for this Lenten season.

peace~elaine killian olsen

12:26 AM EST  
Blogger Kathy said...

It's beautiful! Where can I get the sheet music for the choir parts on this song?

12:34 PM EDT  

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