I love this song. I find it to be a good example of using holy imagination to explore true themes that resonate with Scripture and the experience of believers. In it the songwriters craft a fictional conversation between a struggling saint and Jesus. Notice the desperation of the saint, “the devil; Rides on my back every mile; And he won’t take his claws out of my skin; I’m sorry if I’m bleedin'” This broken saint is met by a laughing and welcoming savior, who engages him and then lavishes on him a tour of biblical history and the created universe. The song contains a promise that the struggling saint will be singing with Christ and the angels when “the army comes marching right down from the sky” and that “All of this is Mine! And yours too.” This saint is so beat up he is apologizing to Jesus for bleeding and doesn’t even know how to ask for help. But Christ laughs kindly because the the reality he knows is one in which this struggling saint is the heir of the universe. I love the line, “stuck our tongues out at the earth and slowed its rotation.” Ha! I guess that’s one way to demonstrate being a true heir of the world. The interwoven melody of the older song, “When the Saints Come Marching In,” is great as well. Lyrics below.
He said to me where is your halo Where are your wings your black book bible I’ve lost them all but you know it’s not your fault He asked me how I said 'the devil Rides on my back every mile And he won’t take his claws out of my skin I’m sorry if I’m bleeding' He bent down and wrote it in the sand Made a wave and spelled it out in the ocean Said we’ll be singing those angel hymns all together When the army comes marching right down from the sky 'I can help' is what came from His mouth I’d yell yes please but I’ve never spoken to the clouds The weight it grows everyday ever hour second and eternity He laughed out loud and asked me to explain Forever, no-end, death, and being born again If it’s the universe you want to see, come and take a walk with Me I told myself son you better listen... And we went into the garden and saw Adam die alone Saw a baby in the water floating to a safer home Saw the walls fall to the trumpeters then to Gilead we ran By the time we made it to the top we were out of breath again Then we stood on the moon, moved the craters to make faces Stuck our tongues out at the earth then slowed it’s rotation It was July in the winter before we moved it back to June Passed the speed of sound, the speed of light and the speed of time too and he said, 'All of this is Mine, and yours too'
“Saints” by Poor Bishop Hooper