It happened again last night. I was moments away from pulling the song “Woe to You.” We were leading the “Knowing Jesus” worship event at FBC Moncks Corner, and as I looked out at the congregation, I felt the same way 1st time we sang it at North Side – people aren’t going to like this one.
In fact, it may be too much. It’s too edgy. Very confrontational. I kinda have to scream some. Maybe we shouldn’t do it.
But each time, I went ahead with it, I sang the truth of Jesus’ words and let him handle the results. I have been overwhelmed at the response of the song “Woe to You.”
When identifying what songs we needed to have on this project, I could not overlook the fact that Jesus’ volatile relationship with the most religious people of the day was a constant theme of his ministry. At every turn, religious people did not approve of his ministry. At every turn, Jesus was the hardest on the most religious. In fact, that is why we had “Woe to You” and “Friend of Sinners” near each other in the story – it was so unique – Jesus was the hardest on the most religious and he was the kindest to the most sinful.
The majority of this song comes from Matthew 23 where Jesus gives 7 “woes” to the religious leaders of the day. In the chorus of the song, there are 7 sung “woes” behind the lyrics of the song just to keep it accurate. I tried to convey with these words and with the music what this dynamic was like. The minor feel with aggressive acoustic riffs and vocal growls attempts to provide an eerie atmosphere for the song. The stinging words from Jesus adds the teeth to the song.
Each time we have done it, I have been shocked that people of all different ages have said this was their favorite song from the entire project. It is truth, and it is hard to hear, but it is definitely different and hopefully memorable.
The bridge of the song sums it up: “O Jesus, please help those who think they can help themselves, for you cannot help yourself.”
Get chord charts for entire album here.
Listen to a snippet below or get your copy on iTunes.