Sunday, September 30, 2007

Songs to Die For III

C.S. Lewis said various things to the effect that we will actually love the things of this world more when we learn not to grasp at them. I have always found this hard to understand, but I think he is almost certainly quite right.

Which brings me to the song, "Home Where I Belong" by 70's country singer B. J. Thomas. (Very short clip of the recording available here.) My long-suffering immediate family is rather tired of this one ever since I found the chords and can play it for myself on the piano. But my sister-in-law says maybe someone could sing it at her funeral. And she's not much older than I am!

It's a rather surprising song for being so light and popular. It seems to me that the first verse of this song gets just the right balance between love of this world and love of heaven. This world is beautiful, but if we have to choose, we should choose heaven. The chorus is a perhaps unconscious echo of St. Paul's statement in Philippians 1 that he would like to die and be with Christ but that it is necessary for him to remain for the sake of others.

Verse 1
They say that heaven's pretty, and livin' here is too.
But if they said that I would have to choose between the two,
I'd go home. Goin' home, where I belong.

Verse 2
Sometimes when I'm dreamin' it comes as no surprise
That if you look you'll find that homesick feeling in my eyes.
I'm headed home. Goin' home, where I belong.

But while I'm here I'll serve Him gladly, sing Him all these songs.
I'm here, but not for long.

Verse 3
One day I'll be sleepin' when death knocks on my door,
And I'll awake to find that I'm not homesick anymore.
I'll be home. Goin' home, where I belong.


William Luse said...

Old B.J. of "Raindrops Keep Fallin on my Head" fame. Are you a country girl at heart?

A brief snippet of one of my favorites is here.

William Luse said...

Okay, that didn't work. After clicking on the link, scroll down to "History Makers", click track listings, then listen to number 6.

Lydia McGrew said...

For some reason, the boys in my high school church youth group played several tapes of country singers over and over again whenever we went on big youth group trips. There were one or two BJ Thomas tapes and a couple of Kenny Rogers. I got them nearly memorized with all the different youth group trips we took. At that time I think I could have quoted you all the words to "You Decorated My Life" and "Ruby, don't take your love to town." But it was just chance; I didn't pick the music. But I came to love a couple of the BJ ones: "Home Where I Belong" and "Happy Man," especially.

Then there's the Imperials. I mentioned them on the old EM but got no bites, so maybe nobody had ever heard of them. Once again, I picked up a taste for them from the church youth group, but I really loved them and bought several albums with pocket money. And they have several distinctly country-sound numbers; "First Morning in Heaven," for example.

I believe my husband is an old John Michael Talbot fan, but I never came into contact with much of his work. That one you have the snippet in would probably be better at the Sanctus in Mass than some of the things y'all are forced to endure these days. :-)

William Luse said...

Well, we can't use it in the Sanctus because it's the magnificat put to music. But we did sing it in choir during, say, the offeratory. There's a beautiful choral and piano arrangement of it.

Lydia McGrew said...

"Holy is Your Name" is the Magnificat? I guess I'd have to hear the whole thing.

J.Gaertner said...

I have to admit--shamefully-- that despite all the Sparrow Records eight-tracks I listened to as a kid, I didn't realize that contemporary Christian music had it's roots in musicians like John Michael Talbot.

But it was just chance; I didn't pick the music. But I came to love a couple of the BJ ones: "Home Where I Belong" and "Happy Man," especially.

I also like some of B.J. Thomas' music. Maybe it's the familiarity that you like ;p (I like some of it too though, and I didn't necessarily grow up listening to B.J.)

Lydia, I sent you an email about GodblogCon a little while ago and was wondering if you were interested in attending. We would love to have you come, and are offering a discount until October 19th. If you have any questions or would like to dialogue with me, please feel free to send me an email!

I would love to hear from you.


Lydia McGrew said...

Hey, Jennifer,

Sorry, I assumed I was part of a mass mailing on that, which is why I didn't respond. I never travel. Or nearly never. So I won't be able to come to Godblog. Thanks for the invite, though. :-)

William Luse said...

The first line is "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord/And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior..." But the holy name referred to is Christ's.

William Luse said...

Actually, you can listen to the whole thing here.

Lydia McGrew said...

Did I see when they were getting to the sorrowful mysteries some scenes from a movie? I never went to see Mel Gibson's Passion, but I wondered if that was it. It's nicely done video. I'd like to watch it again a couple of times to catch all the art images.