Monday, July 21, 2014

A Song Recycled

In today’s “green” world everything gets recycled, (well not always at my house).  I must admit that I grew up in the day when we just took our trash outside and burned it.  We lived 30 miles from town so I didn’t even know where the landfill (or “dump” as we called it) was even located, and we for sure were not going to pay someone to pick up our trash. In fact, I still don’t think that there is garbage collection on the street where I grew up.  Now don’t get me wrong I do see the value in recycling, it’s just that old habits are often hard to break.

Recycling is also occurring in music today.  No matter what style of music you listen to, artists are incorporating parts of older songs into new songs.  This is where recycling really excites me.  Our Praise Team has been working on a new song, well not entirely new, but anyway I am really excited about it.  The song is titled “Lord, I Need You.”  This song was written by Matt Maher, Daniel Carson, Kristian Stanfill, Christy Nockels and Jesse Reeves.  The writers of this song were working on a project together and started talking about old songs and the song “I Need Thee Every Hour” came up in discussion.  They all loved the old song and decided to write a new song around the main chorus of the original.  They took the main chorus line “Lord I need Thee, oh, I need Thee, Every hour I need Thee” and made that the first part of the chorus in the new song except they changed “Thee” to “You.”   I like the words of the new song but when it gets to the “recycled” part then I really love it.

I grew up in a small country church on songs like “I Need Thee Every Hour,” so when I hear them they touch a cord with my heart.  The original song “I Need Thee Every Hour” was written by Annie Sherwood Hawks.  Annie and her husband joined a church whose pastor was the noted hymn writer and composer, Dr. Robert S. Lowry.  Dr. Lowry recognized Mrs. Hawks’ talent for writing and encouraged her to use it.  In fact he even offered her a challenge, “If you’ll write the words, I’ll write the music,” and in 1872 Annie penned the words to the song and Dr. Lowry, being true to his word wrote the music. 

Often times this song comes to mind when I am in a low spot in my life and singing it brings comfort when I cry out to Christ “I need Thee, oh, I need Thee, every hour I need Thee.”  I did a little research on this song and found out that it wasn’t actually written during a low point in Mrs. Hawks’ life.  Here is a quote in her own words, “I remember well the circumstances under which I wrote the hymn.  It was a bright June day, and I became so filled with the sense of the nearness of my Master that I began to wonder how anyone could live without Him, in either joy or pain.  Suddenly, the words I need Thee every hour, flashed into my mind, and very quickly the thought had full possession of me.  Seating myself by the open windows, I caught up my pencil and committed the words to paper – almost as they are today.  A few months later Dr. Robert Lowry composed the tune for my hymn and also added the refrain.”

Mrs. Hawks also stated, “It was wafted out to the world on the wings of love and joy, instead of under the stress of great personal sorrow, with which it has often been associated.  At first I did not understand why the hymn so greatly touched the throbbing heart of humanity.  Years later, however, under the shadow of a great loss, I came to understand something of the comforting power of the words I had been permitted to give out to others in my hours of sweet serenity and peace.”

The newly recycled “Lord, I Need Your” was written in 2011, 139 years after Mrs. Hawkes penned her hymn.  This song talks about needing the Lord to face temptations, going to him for confession, and grace and holiness being found in Christ.  I sure need a lot of that, LORD I NEED YOU!!!!  I am glad that the writers of this new song “recycled” a classic and have given it new life to a new generation. 

What comforting words.  Whether it is recognizing that all is well and being a song of prayer and Thanksgiving, or being a song of prayer during a hardship and time of need, or most importantly a prayer of confession, we all need “Thee.”

Just today our Pastor sent me a link to a new song titled “My Heart is Yours”.  This song recycles a part of “I Surrender All,” another classic.  I LOVE recycling!  The writer of this song is Kristian Stanfill (hey, he was in on the writing of “Lord, I Need You), oh well I guess he loves recycling as much as I do.


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