Misreading the Magnificat
The last lines of the song's first verse are also close to Jesus' original: "How hard for those who are rich on earth / To gain the wealth of heaven." The second verse focuses on the widow's mite story. It concludes, "Not what you give but what you keep / Is what the King is counting."
Keith recently told me that with this album he wanted to join worship to everyday life. Thus it addresses work, suffering, community, family, doubt—and money. "A more quotidian approach to theology," he calls it. Props to the Gettys and Townend for giving us lyrics that present Jesus' message unbated.
I don't want to argue here about what Jesus meant in his criticism of mammon and his threats toward the rich. That's a debate for a different space. But however you interpret those statements, they are harsh and wounding. Keith says that he wants to make us traditionalists uncomfortable with songs like this.
Those who paraphrase Scripture have a special duty to let it speak with its proper force. Add a good tune, and you've fortified those words to shape our lives.
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