Last night we sang Martin Smith’s 1992 song, ‘Lord you have my heart’. Melodically it’s brilliant. I love the tune, even though it is a little ‘gentle’ for my tastes. Congregationally it’s so easy to sing because it’s uncomplicated. Theologically it’s orthodox and so it passes the CCB ‘soundness’ test! Devotionally it’s encouraging because it ensures that our relationship with Christ is not mere assent to theological facts but living dependence on a person. It’s lyrically that I have issues.
‘Lord you have my heart and I will search for yours, Jesus take my life and lead me on’
What was he thinking? I may be overreacting. It wouldn’t be the first time. But am I the only one who sings those lyrics and feels distinctly uncomfortable.
I don’t know Martin Smith. Never met him. I think he’s the front man for Christian band Delirious. But I’ve never bought into the Christian pop/rock scene so that doesn’t help me much. In all likelihood he’s probably a thoroughly good bloke and I’d enjoy his company. He’s probably a wonderful Christian man. He might even be a full on alpha male for all I know. But you wouldn’t guess it from those lyrics, would you?
‘Jesus … lead me on’ sounds like something that’s been cut and pasted from a the dialogue you’d encounter in a Mills and Boon. It’s romantically loaded. The somewhat overwhelmed younger woman throws herself into the arms of the slightly older gentleman and whispers ‘have your way with me’. It’s right out of the ‘Jesus is my boyfriend’ selection of Christian music. I accept that it could just me my twisted mind or an embarrassing over familiarity with the romantic literary genre, but it sounds to me a little bit too much like ‘Jesus have your wicked way’. I know Martin Smith didn’t intend that. And I do feel uncomfortable having a go. But I am. Gently. In love. And for the good of the church. And though he’ll never read this I wouldn’t want to discourage him in any way. I sympathise with the creative sensitivities of those who work hard at something and then put it out there for use only for it to be chewed over by a bunch of opinionated critics. But can we really encourage ‘Jesus lead me on’ to be sung in congregations where we expect men to feel at home?