Story Behind The Song: The Cross Made The Change
The Cross Made The Change
I’m a church kid. And though I am grateful for my Christian upbringing, it feels uncomfortable to acknowledge mostly because of the tension between by professed belief and contrary actions for most of my life. This is the very tension that calls into question the sincerity of believers both from within and without the church. This is also the tension into which God inserts himself and brings about a beautiful resolution to the discordant experiences of our lives.
The Cross Made The Change is a song which acknowledges the paradox of the historical Jesus; a man who was God and a God who was man.
I marvel that in Christ we find a person who was human enough to experience an unprivileged childhood in Nazareth, but God enough to astound the teachers of the Torah in Jerusalem. He was human enough to be hungry, but God enough to feed thousands with just a few scraps. He was human enough to be found sleeping on a boat, but God enough to tame a tempest with just his voice. He was human enough to hang lifeless on a Roman cross, but God enough to take up his body in resurrection power.
This song is for every person who has seen their humanity and despised it, not realizing that it was the very thing that God came in human flesh to redeem. It truly is the cross that made the change for each of us. I pray that you see the beauty in this paradox and are called to worship Jesus in all of his fulness.
“When we see Jesus, we become like Jesus / When we see how he sees us, we will never be the same”. The refrain in the bridge of this soulful song is about the exhilarating dynamic of the personal transformation that occurs simply by gazing at God. I think this line was inspired by the psalmist’s words “Those who look to him are radiant…” and the message of the beatific vision in John’s first epistle: when we see him, we will be like him.
When Justin showed up for our co-write with the beginnings of this song, the imagery of Jesus having a teenage mother and an unbelieving brother really captivated my imagination. And then the kicker line, “just a man in poverty,” hits and all of the sudden, Jesus, fully God and fully Man, becomes tangibly human. I can relate.
Moreover, the specific imagery of those human lines bring to mind an upside-down Kingdom-kind of Savior. Weakness, poverty, and derision were the things the status-quo gave him as a man.
But there’s more to the story, and to the song. There are the lines that speak of his divinity and then, with just a few words, I’m contemplating one of the greatest juxtapositions in spirituality: the presence of the divine and human in one being. I just love it when art can take a complicated idea and with a few words or a simple image, put things into context in a way in which my mind and heart can be thrilled and given a certain kind of clarity.
Finally, the song, the hook, the whole thing is just a banger. It wants to be not just sung, but stomped. Being a part of the writing and refinement of this one was a thrill!