HOW GOD FEELS ABOUT YOU (over the mountains, over the sea)

by luketarassenko

This Winter in our church, St Aldates Oxford, we’ve started singing a new song. It’s a song by Martin Smith, of the chart-topping band Delerious?, called ‘Song of Solomon’, and it’s brilliant. Here’s a recording of Smith singing the song live at a concert in New York. Have a listen and see what you think:

For me, the song is almost perfect, but it could do with just one change, in certain contexts: Last Christmas, I felt as though I should give a family member the words to the song written down, but changed from the first and second person to the second and third person. Rewritten in this way, the song reads as a statement about how God feels about you. Have a read and see what you think:

HOW GOD FEELS ABOUT YOU

When you feel the cold of Winter

And the cloak of sadness, He knows you.

Through all the evil things that shake you,

All the things that break you, He loves you.

Over the mountains, over the sea,

Here He comes running

Your sorrow to see.

Do not hide now from His  presence

Or run into the shadows –He knows you.

Beauty will wrap His arms around you

And clothe you with forgiveness –He loves you.

All through the valleys, through the dark of night,

Here He comes running

To hold you till it’s light.

He’ll come running.

He’ll come running.

He’ll come running

Out to you.

over the mountains, over the sea 2

This is a factual statement about the way God feels about you and his orientation towards you. The basis for this fact comes from the Bible, from the eponymous Song of Solomon, chapter 2, where a woman talks about her lover running over the mountains, through the melting winter, to meet her, which has often been read as speaking of the love of Christ for us.

But also, more strongly, rewriting the lyrics in this way shows how they draw their truth from the book of Luke, chapter 15, which contains Jesus’ story of the two sons: The younger son in the story walks out on his Father, and messes up his life. When he has run out of options and so goes back to his father, he expects that his father will be angry and punish him. Instead, his father runs out to meet him, and welcomes him back with loving, forgiving, open arms.  

This is how God feels about us and his orientation towards us: God loves us, and if we turn back to him, he will welcome us with love and forgiveness. When Jesus, the Son of God, came to Earth as a man and died for us on a cross, he ran out to meet us, making us a way to get back to God by taking the punishment that we deserve for our wrongdoings on himself, dying, then rising again. To do this, he crossed the ‘mountains’ of Heaven, and came to rescue us from the ‘sea’ of Hell, the lonely nightmare we are stuck in without God.

But that’s not all. He also went ‘all through the valleys’ and ‘through the dark of night’. By becoming a man and dying for us, Jesus also identified with us in our sorrows and sadness, he showed that he experiences them with us. (Hebrews chapter 4, Isaiah chapter 53). He knows what it’s like to be human, to be tempted, to experience sorrow, sadness and suffering, to die, and to go through hell. He can see our pain and he knows about it, and he has compassion on us in the midst of it. This isn’t an answer to the philosophical ‘problem of evil’ and why there is suffering in the world, but it is a response, from God.

How will you respond to this God who became a man for you, who died on a cross to take the punishment you deserve for your wrongdoings, who loves you, who knows all your sorrows and sadnesses, and who wants to welcome you back with open, forgiving arms?  

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