Okay, I'm sort of embarrassed to admit that I love this song but I CAN'T HELP IT! I don't know why it sort of initially makes me cringe. Is it because there is something reminiscent of Matt West that rubs me the wrong way or is it because the opening verse is catchy but the lyrics are, like, what?! Apparently we have Bill Staines and his perky banjo to thank for this but I would be quite interested to know where that came from!
I really like the sentiment of the words (I can't sing so I like it when Matt says things like, "sing louder! God gave you that voice, so He deserves to hear it!" to people like me.) but am I the only one who thinks of this when I hear the words "bird on a wire"?
So despite that this song makes me really happy and, trust me, when I am in my car there will be car-dancing!
Plus after the cartoony lyric, I really like the words to this song. I like the emphasis on community (something I feel like Matt has always managed to describe well) and JUSTICE! Yes! I am so often turned off by singing "worship" songs that are all about our inner, individual relationship with Jesus with no context for finding Jesus in the least of these. Instead of praising the Lord joyfully I find myself stewing over scriptures like:
22 Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings,
I will not accept them.
Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, [b]
I will have no regard for them.
23 Away with the noise of your songs!
I will not listen to the music of your harps.
24 But let justice roll on like a river,
righteousness like a never-failing stream!
1 Woe to those who make unjust laws,
to those who issue oppressive decrees,
2 to deprive the poor of their rights
and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people,
making widows their prey
and robbing the fatherless.
3 What will you do on the day of reckoning,
when disaster comes from afar?
To whom will you run for help?
Where will you leave your riches?
8 Woe to you who add house to house
and join field to field
till no space is left
and you live alone in the land.
9 The LORD Almighty has declared in my hearing:
"Surely the great houses will become desolate,
the fine mansions left without occupants.
12 They have harps and lyres at their banquets,
tambourines and flutes and wine,
but they have no regard for the deeds of the LORD,
no respect for the work of his hands.
15 So man will be brought low
and mankind humbled,
the eyes of the arrogant humbled.
16 But the LORD Almighty will be exalted by his justice,
and the holy God will show himself holy by his righteousness.
So I like the final verse which point us to what worship is really about- if we follow Matt's injunctions throughout the song (lay down our sin...remember the day our freedom began) we can't help but be moved in this direction.
I appreciate the upside-downness of this song; that's what the Kingdom is about! And, yes!, it's absurd!
Finally, despite the uncertain beginning the song ends up rocking and I can't wait to hear Matt and the guys rock it live. I especially love the drums towards the end. Plus it has that extremely reckless, joyfully vulnerable, lack of pretension a la Crowder's "Undignified."
One of my roommates once declared that even King David would be embarrassed to dance with me (thanks Ronnie.) but with this song we could definitely give it a shot!
look like a fool
all God's creatures got a place in the choir
some sing low and some sing higher
some just hang out like a bird on a wire
waiting to fly home
all God's children are the apple of his eye
even the ones we can't stand sometimes
but because [...] just to go outside
and i need something to sing with this neighbor of mine
and that's why grace is so amazing!
that's why love is so absurd!
and that's why i sing for a God of changing
that's why i don't care if i look like a fool!
all God's people got a reason to live
joy for the hard days and true love to give
and we raise our hands and lay down our sin
and remember the day our freedom began
foolish grace is so amazing!
that's why love is so absurd!
that's why I sing for a God of changing!
that's why I don't care if I look like a fool!
feeding the hungry, clothing the naked
giving the homeless a place to rest
visiting the prisoner
lifting up the lowly
by our fruits may you shine on us!
shine on us! shine on us!
Lord, shine on us!