Last month I posted a lyric video for ‘Face to Face’ to YouTube, which you can check out below.
I started writing this song in 2013 and finished I think in 2014. I certainly remember that it was one of those I finished after I had been to a songwriter’s conference I was invited to in late 2013. The conference was thoroughly inspiring and I particularly came away with ideas about picture-painting buzzing around my head.
Very often when writing we feel like we need to detail our feelings and thoughts to help others understand. However, we forget that everyone else is human too, and has probably already had similar experiences to ours. All we need to do is paint the memory-pictures that are common to all (or many) of us to bring others into the experience. The memory of something can be as palpable as the experience itself, firing the same neurons and releasing the same chemicals in the remembering of it.
So with this song: I had the first verses largely sewn up (‘Lead me up Lord . . . ‘ and ‘As your favour rests . . . ‘), but knew there was somewhere else to go. Coming away from the conference, I wondered about simply reminding people of what happens when we come into God’s presence. So: ‘Brought to kneel in adoration / Hands held high in loving praise / Worship rises . . . ‘ and only then, introduce a metaphor which people might hopefully be familiar with in describing intimate times of worship in God’s presence: ‘sweetest incense / As your glory fills this place. / Earth and heaven sweetly mingle / Lost in awe, what can I say?’ and we’re back into the experience again. Finally a prayer: ‘May my heart be ever fixed here / Help me never rush away.’
I’ve been grateful to see the way this song has been taken up in some churches. If it has anything to do with lyrics that help us engage in a place where we’ve experienced God’s presence has been, credit should go to speakers at the conference I went to – particularly Peter Nevland, an inspiring and slightly whacky spoken-word poet.
Also, I like the folk-feel we achieved with this recording, with some beautiful violin contributions from my friend and a fantastic musician, Amy Jane Hosken.
I’m going to attempt to make lyric videos, lead sheets and sheet music more readily available for as many songs as possible. And, where possible, tutorial videos for worship leaders. One of those long-term things you shouldn’t hold your breath for! But keep an eye out . . . You can find a lead sheet already available for ‘Face to Face’ at my songs page.