Sparrow Records artist Kari Jobe just released “We Are,” the first single off of her new record due out in January 2012. I woke up this morning to find it #1 on iTunes Christian songs chart. You can find it here: http://bit.ly/na05Rr. I co-wrote the song with Chuck Butler and Hillary McBride a while back and it’s the first time I’ve ever been directly asked to write a specific song by someone other than the artist.
I was sitting in a Sunday morning worship gathering listening to my good friend Scott Hill preach a sermon about our missional DNA as a faith family. Scott referenced Jesus’ words in the sermon on the Mount from Matthew 5:13-16. “We are the light of the world.” It’s our identity, our calling, the truest thing about those who follow Jesus. Sometimes we pretend to be children of the dark but that’s not our identity. We are the Light of the World. We talked about Philippians 2:14-16 and Paul’s encouragement that we “shine like stars in the Universe.”
Finally he turned to me and said, “James, there should be more songs that let us declare this when we get together, to remind ourselves of our true identity. We need to declare to each other, We Are the Light of the World!”
That Monday morning, I was scheduled to write with Chuck and Hillary. By the time I woke up, my wife had already left for work and I lay in bed thinking about the day. I start most mornings reading scripture on my phone and praying a bit before my feet hit the floor and in those moments of reflection I took up Scott’s challenge and began singing the chorus to “We Are.” I was reaching for a declaration with the same…authority…as classic stadium rockers like “We Will Rock You.” It felt playful but powerful, anthemic but still accessible for an artist.
It was the first idea we chased and Hillary connected with it immediately and sounded great singing it. Chuck started building a killer track and together we filled out the verses in a way that balanced our identity as children of light with our calling as those who follow Jesus. The song sat waiting for the right voice to carry it for almost a year and finally when my publisher heard Kari was looking for another song he sent it over. Kari and producer Ed Cash have turned into something really special.
If you’re a follower of Jesus I WANT you to sing along with this one. It’s your identity, a part of your spiritual DNA. Every secret, every shame, every fear, every pain, live inside the dark but that’s not who we are. We are children of the day. So wake up sleeper, lift your head. We were meant for more than this. Fight the shadows, conquer death, make the most of the time we have left. We are the light of the world. We are the city on a hill. We are the light of the world. We gotta let the light shine.