Love Has Come
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"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (Jn 1:1) "And the Word became flesh..." (Jn 1:14) "...God is love." (1 Jn 4:8)
What do these versus have in common, and what do they have to do with the Matt Maher song Love Has Come? These three versus together point to the fact that Jesus Christ is the physical manifestation of God's love. The Word is God. Jesus is the Word of God. Jesus is God. With the birth of Jesus, the Word was made flesh. Thus Jesus is love. Matt Maher uses these three verses as the seed to share his musical interpretation of the coming of Jesus Christ.
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The song begins quietly, calling to mind the first verse above: "In the beginning was the Word." The first two lines of the lyrics express the joy of the angels in heaven over the coming of the Word made flesh: "With one voice the angels sing, songs that make creation ring." "Prophets hear and call us to live in righteousness and truth." The prophets have heard the angels songs; throughout the entirety of the Bible the prophets have called us to righteousness.
The first verse transitions quickly to the second, where the lyrics remind us that God the Father spoke to us in thunder, in wind, and in the spirit, assuring us of his love. Because of his love, we can ask the Father for grace to overcome the darkness, the grace that flows through Jesus Christ. Musically, more instrumentation is added, and the verse is slightly louder and fuller than the first verse. The instrumentation builds interest, holds our attention and leads us to the chorus.
In the chorus which follows the second verse, Matt sings that Jesus is Lord (Word of God enthroned), and leads us in asking Jesus to dwell within us and to show us the way to heavenly peace and grace. We can only attain this peace through Jesus. The musical intensity of the chorus, driven by the drums and the bass guitar, is used to emphasize the importance of the coming of Jesus as the bringer of peace and love, and of asking Jesus to dwell within us. This increased energy flows into the next verse.
The lyrics of the third verse, "God of covenant divine, lead us to the end of time," call us ask God to lead us to eternal life in joy with the angels and saints. How joyous will that day be! The music, increasing in its power and in a higher key, helps us to look forward to that day with anticipation and joy. Repeating the chorus, Matt's lyrics again petition us to ask Jesus to dwell within us so that we can enjoy his peace.
The bridge affects a complete change to the feel of the song. It begins with ethereal-sounding music, causing you to feel as if you are floating on the slow current of a quiet lake, drifting towards a river. The focus of the song shifts, reminding us of the reason Jesus became flesh: He is the keeper of the sacrifice, the only sacrifice able to redeem our sins.
As the bridge progresses, the music intensifies and changes character again; one can think of this change as what one would feel upon leaving a calm lake and entering the river, with a rapid current. The lyrics reflect the change, declaring that Jesus was born so that he could die on the cross and be resurrected from the dead, leading to our own resurrection from the dead at the end of time. He feeds us with the spiritual food that will satisfy our hunger, to give us the strength to fight our spiritual battles. The fervor and drive of the music lead up to the climax of the song. What could possibly follow?
The voices of angels singing "Now salvation has come in the new Jerusalem" without instrumentation, declaring the good news! Jesus Christ has been born. His birth heralds the building of the new Jerusalem. What is the new Jerusalem? As described in Revelation, it is the heavenly city that will exist on earth at the end of time. Revelation declares that, with the coming of the new Jerusalem, there will be great joy in heaven and on earth. There will be singing and dancing, with everyone proclaiming Jesus is Lord.
Finally, Matt repeats the chorus. Jesus Christ, the Word of God, is Lord. Dwell within us. Fill us with your grace. Fill us with your love.
Matt Maher uses lyrics, music and instrumentation to lead us from the birth of Jesus to the new Jerusalem. In the end, he superbly express the final joy of being in the new Jerusalem, heaven on earth. Listen to the song, and participate in the joy.
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