Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Worship Theology - "Lead Us Back"

Lead Us Back (Falling Down Upon Our Knees)

This is a modern-day hymn from our friends at Sojourn in Louisville, KY. You can listen to the tune HERE.

Here are the lyrics:

Lead Us Back (Falling Down Upon Our Knees)
by Bobby Gilles, Brooks Ritter - Copyright © 2006

Verse 1
Falling down upon our knees,
Sharing now in common shame,
We have sought security,
Not the cross that bears Your name.

Fences guard our hearts and homes --
Comfort sings a siren tune.
We're a valley of dry bones;
Lead us back to life in You.

Verse 2
Lord we fall upon our knees,
We have shunned the weak and poor,
Worshipped beauty, courted kings
And the things their gold affords,

Prayed for those we'd like to know --
Favor sings a siren tune.
We've become a talent show;
Lead us back to life in You.

Verse 3
You have caused the blind to see,
We have blinded him again
With our man-made laws and creeds,
Eager, ready to condemn.

Now we plead before Your throne --
Power sings a siren tune.
We've been throwing heavy stones;
Lead us back to life in You.

We're a valley of dry bones
Lead us back to life in You.

We've become a talent show
Lead us back to life in You.

We've been throwing heavy stones
Lead us back to life in You.


It isn’t real flashy but it does take a simple hymn structure with the refrain at the end of each verse section and makes it musically compelling. Not always the easiest melody lines for congregational singing however there is some really good Biblical confession woven throughout.

This really works well as a corporate confessional song. Although it’s modern verbiage doesn’t have as many direct Biblical references (there are a few) the parallels are many and accomplish their seeming intended purpose.

The most prominent Biblical reference is from Ezekiel 37 and the valley of dry bones. The bones needed the Word of the Lord and his Life-giving breath to live again. Although the prophecy speaks of Israel, we too, can find ourselves dry and dead in our comforts, having forgotten the promise and power of the living God in our lives... and wither in our ‘life’ in God through Christ. Instead of seeking refuge in the shadow of the Almighty we instead build fences around our houses (and lives) in hopes of gaining some temporal security... at the expense of our Spiritual vitality and very lives.

Verse 2 is a reminder to ACTUALLY care for the widow and the orphan. To serve others and see others as more important than ourselves. (Matthew 25) And how often we seek personal gain and making the most for ourselves at the expense of others which should not be the mark of a disciple of Jesus. (Jeremiah 22:17 & 1 Timothy 3:8)

Verse 3 is, perhaps the strongest verse in my opinion. Upon hearing it I immediately recalled Jesus’ call to the Pharisees in Matthew 23. “WOE TO YOU... for you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness.”

Now, it could be challenged that we may be tempted here to be soft on sin “lets not cast stones” ... but I think the audience of the song must be noted. This is a song of confession. This is to guard the believer from becoming a pharisee by priding ourselves on our religious accomplishments while at the same time creating man-made hoops for people to jump through to receive our approval and the approval of God. (See Matthew 23:15)

Bottom line:
The language is modern and the tune is simple... but if more songs sang their confessions like this... and if more men and women lived lives that mirrored this repentance we may see a healthier Church, less burdened by the weight of sin and better vehicles of God’s grace... because we are reminded that we also are daily in need of grace... and daily in need of the Gospel preached to us!