The 5 Most Commonly Misheard Worship Songs

The Sofa is pleased to share this guest blog from Kate from Londonwithatoddler.com. Kate describes herself as a “mother, writer, thinker. Granted, the kind of things I think about are along the lines of “What’s that smell?” or “Where can I buy chocolate around here?”, so maybe not that much of a thinker.  But I am definitely the first two”. Here’s her take on a couple of worship songs:

Worship is great. There’s nothing like opening yourself up to receive the Holy Spirit through the medium of music and…hold up, what did they just say?!
It turns out that the people who write worship songs are, unlike God, fallible. And sometimes, amidst the wonderful words they pour out, a little lyrical nugget will hit the wrong note. Which is where our great misheard worship lyrics come from. So, presenting the 5 most commonly misheard worship songs*

5) “God I Look to You”

Some worship songs come along at just the right time. In the aftermath of the riots in 2011, London needed a song of affirmation and focus on God. Freshly released was this simple but beautiful song about reaching out to Him in the most difficult of circumstances.
Which was all lovely. But when you’ve lived in South London for a decade, you simply can’t sing the line “Forever, all my days” without putting on a Peckham accent and saying “Oh My Days”. With the hand gestures. You just can’t. Well, maybe it’s just me that can’t. It also contains the line “You know just what to do”, which always makes me think of an SAS officer briefing his men on a secret raid. Try saying that without raising an eyebrow, nodding and trying to exude military authority.

4) “You are my Shelter”

Coming up, a pair of songs that have the ability to change the very nature of God. And first off is this 2001 Vineyard number. The problem lies in the third verse and the lyric “Your unchanging nature/Sustains me in uncertainty”. Nothing theologically unsound there, right? God is unchanging. Except the lyricist didn’t really leave enough space in the bar to fit the four syllables of “your unchanging” in. There’s a – and forgive me for getting technical here – minim rest at the start of the bar, taking up half of it and then “nature” hits the start of the next bar, leaving “your unchanging” squashed into just two beats. What inevitably gets lost? The “un”. It’s an undeniable fact that “Your changing nature” scans much better. But it does throw the whole of the Bible into question so it might be better for worship leaders to just practise this one in front of the mirror. A lot.

3) “Your Love Never Fails”

On that subject, here’s one that even seasoned worship leaders get wrong…and they may not even realise. One seasoned worship leader, who asked not to be named, humiliated or excommunicated, explained it thus – there is no “cause”. It’s a “but”. If you sing “The chasm is far too wide/I never thought I’d reach the other side/Cause Your love never fails” it sounds like God’s unfailing love is the reason why you’re plummeting into that chasm. It’s “But Your love never fails”. That’s the line that makes theological sense. Yet still, the first version seems to trip off the tongue so much better, doesn’t it? It obviously doesn’t help that the first half of the verse has a “Cause Your love never fails” in it. When you’re in mid worship-flow, it can be really tough to remember which way round they go but don’t worry – no-one notices. Except your keyboard player. They notice everything.

2) “One Thing Remains”

Yup, two Jesus Culture songs in a row…and it’s that other one that uses the lyric “Your love never fails”. It’s not that bit I take issue with though – it’s the third line of the first verse, which says “Constant through the trial and the change”. It would be perfectly innocuous, if “The Change” wasn’t an unfortunate euphemism for the menopause. I can’t sing it without sniggering.

1) Everlasting God

I’m very fond of this last one, as it reminds me of a happier, more innocent time. It’s the line “You’re the defender of the weak”, which is a nice sentiment but it sounds like a feature in my brother’s “Shoot” comics when we were growing up. Every issue had a “Striker of the Week”, so why not a “Defender of the Week” too? And really, Jesus would make an excellent defender – being omnipresent and all. You’d never get past him. It’d be easier to get a camel through the eye of needle than a ball past Jesus.

*Misheard by me. Some would say deliberately.

What have you misheard?

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4 Replies to “The 5 Most Commonly Misheard Worship Songs”

  1. It’s not really a worship song but the start of Handel’s Messiah has the line “comfort thee” which is very nice unless you hear that repeated during a performance of it at the symphony hall and you’re trying to be good and look like you actually belonging there and have to try and hide your giggle fit while wondering why they’re singing “come for tea”!

  2. Oh yes, Messiah contains some real opportunities – “All we like shee (p)”, and of course “Annie/Andy shall reign for ever and ever” (And He shall reign for ever and ever). When singing the Gloria in Latin, I do hear the words “Abi Titmuss” rather than “Al Tisimus”

  3. Presume you opted against the often misheard lyric in the chorus of Jesus Cultures ‘Alleluia’?

    ‘Alleluia, Lover of our souls’ … just don’t sing ‘our souls’ too quickly

  4. In The Angel Gabriel hymn, instead of ‘Most Highly favoured Lady’ I always heard ‘Most highly flavoured gravy’. Then with the hymn ‘I the Lord of Sea and sky’ we used to sing ‘I the Lord of pea and pie’. That’s the Yorkshire humour I guess.

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