I was just looking at the song ‘Anchor’ by Bethel Music. I was singing it through just to ‘try it out’, see how it felt and whether it was useable in church. I’ve heard it sung at a conference before. I remembered and knew I liked the tune. I had got the verse and was just singing through the chorus when… I was brought to a grinding halt.
“I’m holding onto hope, I’m holding onto grace,
I’m fully letting go, I’m…”
Am I holding on or fully letting go?
A case, maybe, of subtle Christian jargonism means that somehow this glaring diametric opposition of metaphors which is given no explanation or clarification has somehow gone unnoticed, and become very popular, having as it does over 1m views on YouTube and being used widely in the church. Yet I was brought to a grinding halt and I don’t think I could ever use this song. Not without liberally adjusting the lyrics which, well, that’s another debate. Oh, in many respects, it’s a good, strong song! But this…really?
What do you think, readers? Are those two diametrically-opposed metaphors too jarring, or can we allow it because ‘we all know what it means’? I guess the idea is that I’m holding onto what God says, what he gives etc. ie. hope and grace, and letting go of everything else in order to surrender to God’s ways (which handily almost-rhyme with ‘grace’). But putting myself in the shoes of a new or non-believer (always a good exercise), I’m confused! Am I holding on or letting go? Wouldn’t it be better songwriting either to really clarify the difference by explaining what is being let go of in order to hold onto God’s grace etc., or just to focus on the one metaphor of holding on?
Perhaps it would be more powerful to do the latter and still to use the language of surrender, because there is a kind of surrender in choosing one way only, no going back, following hard after God and clinging onto him with no other options. “I’m never letting go, I’m surrendered to your ways.” Hmm. Or something.
What do you think?