God in Flesh and Blood

January 16, 2014

God in Flesh and BloodLast Sunday we introduced the song “God in Flesh and Blood” (By Jennie Lee Riddle, Travis Ryan and Brandon Collins) to our congregation. One of the moments that all worship leaders dread a bit is wondering if a song they introduce is going to “take hold” in the congregation. Some songs you don’t even bother doing again because the echoing thud of it seals its fate. Others deserve a second or third go around before deciding and some just settle right it at home. I knew that would happen with “God in Flesh and Blood.” It’s just that good. At rehearsal, the band asked “why didn’t you do this at Christmas time?!” Well, I have only just come across it for one and besides that, why are incarnation songs limited to the Advent/Christmas season? I love narratives that cover the scope of Christ’s ministry. A great example is Stuart Townend’s “From the Squalor of a Borrowed Stable.” The title sounds all Christmasy but it’s one of the most dynamic resurrection songs you will ever hear. “God in Flesh and Blood” begins at the incarnation:

From heaven You came down
You left Your throne and bowed
Humble sovereignty
Laid at the Father’s feet
Earth recognized Your cry
As worship filled the night
Son of God has come
Love now here with us

The chorus hearkens to the angels of Bethlehem and yet rings out as the fresh cry of grateful hearts at anytime:

Glory to God in the highest
Peace to the weary world
Blessed is He who has come to save us
God in flesh and blood

The second verse goes right to the cross and God in flesh and blood takes on a whole new insight:

Your hands and feet were bound
Thorns became Your crown
The love that molded us
Was nailed upon the cross
Every drop of grace
Was spilled out on that day
You were lifted high
O God the crucified

The chorus, as you might imagine, gains even more power at this point and the bridge that follows brings God in flesh and blood to yet another place – not the babe in Bethlehem or the crucified one on Calvary but the church!

Resurrection life
You gave up Your Spirit to give it to Your bride
Resurrection life
You gave up Your Spirit to come and live inside us

I don’t know if the writers were consciously carrying that theme forward from the manger to the cross to the church, but I think it works powerfully as praise and instruction. The melody is memorable, easily learned, the hook is there but the star is the lyric. By the way, you can purchase the beautiful string arrangement that accompanies the song in the video below.  If I have any quibble at all with the song it’s the use of “it” to refer to the Spirit. The Spirit, being a person, should be referred to as such but it’s a small matter. All in all, I’m delighted to add this to our church’s repertoire. Thanks Jennie, Travis and Brandon for such a lovely song.