Behind the Song: Jesus, Be Our Light (Glory, Glory)

After "Burdened," I think this is the oldest song on the record.  I had started being involved in the music team rotation at my church, transitioning from playing bass and singing BGVs to also playing guitar and leading worship periodically.  This was one of the first songs that I wrote with the intention of introducing it as a congregational song at my church, and it's since become a part of the song repertoire there.

Our pastor used to say something along the lines of "For every one look you take at yourself, take ten looks at Christ."  I think this song came out of that idea, together with a couple of the "I am" statements that Jesus makes in the Gospel of John.  It's a simply constructed lyric of contrasts, juxtaposing all manner of our shortcomings and the ways that Jesus meets our needs in every one of them, leading into a chorus of praise as a response to that.

As for the music, while I'm not a thorough student of the genre, I've enjoyed Black Gospel music in church and concert contexts since college, and that's an influence that's evoked here.  I asked my friends Treva Blomquist and Charlie Murphey to sing the harmonies--stacking some three-part sections, but also giving them a bit of freedom to do some ad libs here and there.  Chris Payne laid down a steady 6/8 groove.  Ben Gortmaker added some tasty, bluesy licks.  Zach Vinson played the studio Wurlitzer for that electric piano sound with a bit of crunch.

It's always a struggle for me to believe the promise that God is really making all things new.  This song is something of a reminder to me in the midst of the doubting and the longing--preaching the gospel to myself and turning my eyes to Jesus.