Lyrical battles? (I of II)

Apropos my remarks about the Cathedrals, close-reading regular JG writes to say,

While I agree that the music and harmony of “Life Will Be Sweeter Some Day” is sweet, Trammell’s line [”Because the joys of heaven of I’ll miss”] has always bothered me. I’m Baptist so there’s that “security of the believer” thing. I’ve always wondered how a group made of different denominations reconciles lyrics that may be contrary to their individual beliefs.

Yes, quite a potential lyrical pickle, this one. What is a group to do if one member or more objects to the theology of a particular song? A good question that deserves an answer or two. But before we get to that, let’s look at the “security of the believer thing” JG brings up. The opening seems pretty self-evident:

Jesus said it I believe it, life will be sweeter some day.
I’m gonna trust him never doubt him,
No matter what the folks may say.
Can’t turn away from him lightly
[Trammell’s line] Because the joys of heaven I’ll miss ….

OK, let’s stop here because this is the important part. What we designate to be the object of “turning away lightly” - what we’re turning away from, that is - will largely determine whether or not there’s a suggestion in the lyrics that salvation is finite, or limited. If by turning away lightly, one means turning away from salvation already secured by the act of repentance and faith, then JG is right: we’ve got ourselves a General Baptist songwriter here who believes that salvation can be lost. But, perhaps (and this is the way I interpret the song) the writer is saying that I can’t turn away lightly from inviting the action of god’s grace into my heart. “I’m gonna trust him no matter what.” Period. New thought: Can’t turn away from him lightly. That is, I can’t reject or blow off or ignore the solicitation of the holy spirit to save my soul as if it’s just some telemarketer calling at dinner time. The stakes are HIGH - I’ll miss the joys of heaven and living on in glory after while, after while. This reading makes sense to me, not least of all because that turning-away line alone is singled out for emphasis by being given solely to Trammell (which of course could have just been an arranger’s doing and not the expressed intention of the writer, I realize). If this were a song about the loseability of salvation, wouldn’t it make more sense to emphasize “no matter what the folks may say,” since backsliding due to the influence of worldliness is, for those who believe this way, at the heart of lost salvation?

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Comments

  1. Nancy jones wrote:

    I have just recently heard the song “Life will be sweeter”, and while I really liked the song, I had to think–when ” I talk to the ones that I love”, walk the streets of pure gold, I doubt I will even think of telling them about my troubles. — I am sure that this was put in just for filler but thought there might be something better. “I’m gonna sing throughout the ages with my Lord.

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