In June 2017, Illumine held its first annual Songwriting Weekend where several songwriters came to Illumine with a single goal: to start and finish writing a song that can be used by congregations for worship. Each Thursday, we will be featuring one of the songs that was composed that weekend.
Why (did you write) this song?
“You are the tragic moment in the story of my God, the seed in his teeth. He lacks nothing until he has you. At the same time, you are an amazing display of his love. Sure, he loves other things like animals and plants, because he made them and there is nothing about them that he should hate. But he loves you and hates you more than he ever would an animal or a plant.
The truth that God is a god of just laws who punishes based on behavior collides with the truth that God is a god of merciful love who forgives based on grace, and living in the midst of that collision is what this song is about. The human life is spent in the space between the Law and the Gospel, at the meeting point of God’s grace and his truth, at the foot of Christ’s cross. This means we see both come completely true, and we live life figuring out what is which from experience to experience. Walking that line looks exactly like living in love, and learning to understand and enjoy our place in this collision is the very thing that gives us hope that we can follow the Lord’s call. This is our reason to rejoice.” -Kent Reeder
Kent admitted that one of his (secondary) goals as he was working on this song was to see how weird he could make a song, but still have it be congregational. In that regard, he certainly succeeded. The melody is very singable, but not something you typically think of as “church music”. The metaphors are vivid but complex; they certainly take a little digging into to fully comprehend.
Perhaps more importantly though, he does an excellent job of portraying the relationship between Law and Gospel and how they play out in the life of a Christian.
Use in Worship
The proper distinction between Law and Gospel is one of the most important doctrines the church has to offer. Virtually every service you have will center around these two concepts, so the song could be used in a great variety of settings.
As mentioned above, the song is a little “weird” so we recommend carefully and intentionally introducing it to your congregation, perhaps having a vocalist sing through the different parts before asking the congregation to join in.