Rap Gospel

Having enjoyed the chance to go out with two mics and an amp on the streets of Bristol and do some evangelistic rapping with my friend Andrew Couch, I thought I might finally make public the lyrics to this. I usually do it with Sing Hallelujah as a chorus.

I wrote it in a single day whilst on my DTS, the fruit of the adrenaline flowing after a few of us had tried some tongue-in-cheek rap battling after ThizzNick had performed one evening.

It’s a hip hop paraphrase of the message of Elihu, who I have argued (it turns out that John Piper is in agreement with me!) is the misunderstood hero of the book of Job. The dream eventually would be to do a complete album with the entire narrative of the book of Job transposed into hip hop rhyme.

Lord before I start, I dedicate these words to you.
You destined me for this even before my mother’s womb.
Many words can lead to sin so I’ve kept my words few–
I’ve quietened my soul, been still and silent, even mute.
But now my heart is burning and my tongue’s on fire too–
How can I be silent when men who are violent keep talking like they do?
I’ve waited for the aged to speak, for I am just a youth
But the Spirit of God lives in me too and it’s him who teaches truth

So Maker, here’s my prayer: Help me not show partiality
To man or woman, black or white, for you made all humanity
Please help my words at all times correspond to reality
Help me not exaggerate or treat the truth elastically
Or abuse half-truths to rudely use my speech sarcastically
See Maker what I’m saying, though I put it periphrastically
is make my words the overflow of Christlike spirituality–
And let my tongue speak not of me but magnify your majesty!

First things first: the reason I’m repeating rhymes is not because of me.
This gift of speaking lyrically with some verbal agility
Is not something I’ve practised — it’s a God-given ability,
So please don’t just encourage me, give glory to the Trinity!
It’s the Spirit indwelling me who taught my tongue these words. You see,
The Maker in eternity spoke the Word which caused the world to be
And now his Spirit lives in me! That’s why I speak in poetry.
But let’s pause briefly because we’ve reached the time for chorus three.

Well, I’ve been sitting quiet here among you for some time.
Like Shakespeare says, the world’s a stage — if so, I’ve been the mime.
But now’s the point of crisis and to my surprise I find
I’m centre-stage, I’ve come of age, the spotlight is now mine.
And suddenly I’m bursting, I’m a wineskin filled with wine
And I’m rhyming without trying — this’s my original design
I’m an urban John the Baptist, standing here and prophesying
That the Maker is returning so you’d better get in line!

Don’t be intimidated, for you know I’m only just
A mere human just like you — and it’s the same for all of us:
Sooner or later, we meet our Maker, and crumble into dust.
The one quality that distinguishes me, is the God in whom I trust:
He’s the Maker and Judge of all the earth: and the law explains to us,
A judge can’t punish whom he choose, he judges whom he must
So the logical conclusion is that though my God’s gracious
If you’ve ever committed wrong, frankly he’s dangerous!

So let me ask you something — Do you think that this is right?
To say that God is in the wrong and you are in the right?
This is the Maker of the stars, who clothes himself with light
Compared with his holiness, the bright noonday resembles night
Even the angels hide their eyes before the blinding light
That proceeds from his throne above the heaven’s highest height
And yet you’d rather claim that God’s to blame now for you plight?
Don’t you know that there in no-one righteous in his sight?

So listen mate you need to stop your self-righteous grumbling
I don’t pretend to understand the mystery of suffering
But acknowledge your sin, God will draw near you if you come to him,
For that’s the kind of God he is: good, patient, kind, longsuffering!
Wow, even just to speak of Him makes my heart begin trembling
And honestly I do not think there’s anything resembling
The glory of the Lord we’ll see one day with saints assembling
In countless multitude and there before him join as one and sing!

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