Theology & False Starts
The initial inspiration for this song came from Revelation 14:3. Though the context is referring to martyrs I was struck by the thought that even though the angels see God face to face, are sinless and have better singing voices, even an average group of average Christians has something angels don't. Only Christians can sing from the knowledge of what it is to be saved from sin.
I jotted down some notes down only to discover later four lines I'd written on the same theme a few years before. Sometimes I have the same idea over & over again!
I felt that God was giving me a nudge to finish the song when a woman in my church spontaneously pray out the burden of the song one Sunday morning.
Creation and Nations
The 2nd verse was originally "we have a song the rest of creation cannot sing", but I realised that Romans 8:19-22 teaches that creation in some sense will be redeemed so that idea had to be abandoned.
The 3rd verse really encapsulates the cry of my heart; that God would be not only preached and prayed to in every language (wonderful though that will be) but praised as well.
This is a truth too great for one nation to express
Summon the choir you bought with your blood from every race
In every language, God, be praised
For every tribe the ransom's paid
Syllables and Hemiolas
The original tune was slower, more anthemic but the stress in the chorus fell heavily on the wrong syllables (THE song of THE redeemed) & after trying every possible remedy I scrapped the whole thing and started again. I wrote the new tune one afternoon while a repairman was fixing the lights in my house. After changing the key (twice) & some more fine tuning the song was finished.
It had taken two years.
The last line of the chorus melody "Je-sus (rest) we sing (rest) to you (rest) the song (rest)" uses a rhythmic device called a hemiola (a 3 against 2 hemiola to be precise) which I learned from funk bands like the Red Hot Chili Peppers (hear it in the guitar intro to 'Can't Stop').
Download this song!
mp3 Chord Sheet Lyrics
Related Posts: Behind the Song - More Than I Could Say
Behind the Song - Son of God/God the Son