Behold, a Table is Spread

Some songs come quickly. This one, however, took well over a year. It draws its inspiration from “I Hunger and I Thirst.” I liked how that hymn ties Old Testament stories to the communion table. At first I was going to simply write a new tune for this text, but soon my aspirations grew: I added a chorus, then I began to rewrite the original text, and soon it was a completely different song with the 8 “I am” titles for Jesus mapped out to 8 different Old Testament stories.

And then I got bogged down. I had pages of drafts for an epic (read: sprawling, unfocused) 8 verse hymn that said everything and nothing at all. When I came back to it recently, I decided that done is a lot better than perfect. I trimmed it down to 3 verses–bread, blood, water–and kept things tightly focused on the Table.

After listening to the recording, my son, Theo, declared that my songwriting is getting better. I hope so. I was especially pleased with the lyrics, which strike me as poetic without being unlyrical, supported by music which is harmonically “slippery” without losing singability. In any case, an uptempo modern communion song is certainly a welcome addition to the repertoire. My only regret is losing the word “gush” in the third verse after a long, intense rhyming battle to the more predictable “flow.”

Decide if Theo is right: PDF, MP3

1. O Bread of Life, sustain,
with manna each new day;
and ease our hunger pangs
with food along the way.

For hunger hounds us still;
we faint, but you are kind.
Our hearts long to be filled
with you, O Bread of Life.

Behold, a table is spread—
a feast for hungry souls.
Come, eat the Living Bread.
Come, drink the wine that flows.

He who bids us, “Come and dine,”
is feast, and friend, and host.
Come taste and see
the goodness of the Lord.

2. O Spotless Lamb of God,
be yet again our life.
May your redeeming blood
run deep, and rich as wine.

Oh, let this new wine flow,
fruit from the one True Vine.
Let those who drink it know
a joy complete, divine. CHORUS

3. O Living Water, flow
in never ending streams
revive our withered souls
within the desert’s heat.

For still your people thirst–
parched are the throats that praise.
Let streams of mercy burst;
drench us with floods of grace. CHORUS

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