“Twisted crown of thorns upon Your head.”
When we got together to begin the process of writing “Knowing Jesus” – a chronological worship project focusing on the life of Christ – the above lines were the first ones penned. I had put a group of 4 in our living room to work on the crucifixion song, and 4 of them were in the playroom working on the resurrection song. The task was to study all 4 gospel accounts on the event for a good while before writing anything down.
The groups studied the Word for a long while. After I went back and forth between each room, I eventually allowed them to start writing the song. It was so incredible to watch Woody, Evan, Peggy, and Michael work. The line that served as a catalyst for this group was John 19:2 as it described a twisted crown of thorns placed upon the head of Jesus. If you are familiar with the artwork, you also see how this line played a big part in the big picture.
This one took a long while for it to be finished (kinda ironic).
We treaded cautiously because of how pivotal of a song this would be. We also had grown weary about songs about Jesus’ sacrifice that are not biblical. Songs that use imagery that might sound poetic but are not truth. We aimed to be faithful to the text most of all. The first time we led it at our church, someone approached me afterwards who had been reading through the New Testament. Their comment: “I’ve never heard so much Bible in one song.” That’s a good thing.
We also treaded cautiously musically. We wanted it to be a triumphant song about death which is kinda tricky to pull off. So we changed and tweaked a bunch. We changed the verse to delve more in the minor and the chorus delving more in the major with some minor 4ths added to provide tension. The bridge had about 3 totally different directions.
The biggest problem was agreeing upon the chorus. We kept changing it. I kept challenging everyone to dig a little deeper to make it sit just right. I told them that I wanted when the last chorus to hit, it was as if the final gavel struck for the Judge to say that we were no longer guilty. Praying while playing the piano one day, I felt like the song all came together. Peggy worked so much on this song (she wrote so much of it herself), and she sings it with so much conviction and passion.
When we introduced this project to the church, this was the first song that we used. The response has been so encouraging. It was a powerful moment of worship when we first used it, and I can still remember listening to the energetic recording from the Good Friday service. Even as we used it during communion yesterday, it was a reminder of God’s finished work on the cross. A couple who recently joined the church said “I can’t believe that people in our church wrote that song. I was singing it in the car on the way here! It is finished!”
I can’t believe it either. I am so honored to lead worship alongside so many godly and talented people.