One of the things the brothers and sisters in organic church do that’s a little different is write our own songs. We sing songs that other people have written, particularly some of the magnificent old hymns, but we also write some of our own songs.
Writing a song to a well-known tune is a little easier for everyone. First, the song writer may not be an accomplished musician able to invent and write down an original tune. Second, even if he/she is able to write the tune, other people will have to learn the tune before they can sing it. Using a tune people already know makes a song more portable.
I’ve always loved Bette Midler’s song, The Rose. The poetry is wonderful as it is, but I did rewrite it. Here is my version:
That We Might Sing
(to the tune of: The Rose by Bette Midler)
You’re the dew upon the roses;
The kiss of morning sun.
You’re the sweet fruit of the Spirit;
The many become one.
In the midst of Your beloved
Your presence does abide.
We who once stood at a distance
Even now are made the bride.
Lord, we lay our lives before you;
We hunger for Your love.
How we long to drink of You, Lord.
We turn our hearts above
To our King, who came to ransom
All who wait upon His hand.
To our Love, who came to bring us
Into His promised land.
In this world we will have sorrows
And like Him, we will know pain
Suffer loss and walk through darkness
Losing all so we might gain
That which never can be taken;
The hand of our beloved King
Who in dying, bought our freedom,
Whose heart wept that we might sing.
If you’d like to write your own song, here are a couple of things to keep in mind:
- Write your song about something the Lord has been teaching you and dealing with you about in your own life. It will be much more alive.
- Ask Him to help you. If you get stuck, listen to His voice until you get something. Don’t be afraid to revise things later. If a word or phrase seems wrong, it probably needs to be changed.
- After writing your song, wait for a few days before sharing it or putting it in the common song book. You will probably want to make some changes as you practice singing it.
- Ask the brothers and sisters to make suggestions. They can often see things you might have missed; confusing phrases, awkward meter, perhaps a better rhyme, a clearer word picture, etc.
- Doing a little bit of studying on poetry will help you a lot. Discussing meter and rhyme schemes, etc. isn’t my purpose here, but it’s worth reading up a little. Even a small amount of knowledge will help you immensely.
- On a very basic level, if you count the syllables in the original lyrics and match the numbers, the song will work. Even so, try to keep the emphasis on the syllables in the same places. It’s also good to rhyme in the same places as in the original lyrics.
- If you change the tune, try to explain how you changed it for those who might not have you available to teach them how to sing your song.
I hope this will inspire you to write the song Jesus has placed in your heart. Feel free to use mine in your gatherings. Only we can’t sell or mass publish these types of songs. Keep them within the intimate fellowship. Otherwise Bette and other songsmiths are likely to object.