Behind the Lyrics: A Student's Song

By Callie Owensby ’20
5/31/2019 5:00:00 AM

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Jen Edwards, assistant professor of worship arts, assigned students in her Writing for the Church class to write a worship song to serve as the anthem of JBU’s centennial year. The challenge was to write a song that would spiritually enrich those without knowledge of JBU and also be relatable for the JBU community. Three songs were written and recorded by the students, then sent to various JBU faculty and staff on which to vote.

The committee chose “Christ Over All,” written by Jake Smith, a senior worship arts and graphic design major, as JBU’s centennial anthem.

“Our heads, Lord, we raise to behold you,” the chorus of the song states. “Our hearts, Lord, we lay down before you. Our hands, Lord, we claim hope that once was lost. We praise you Christ Over All.”

Smith loves writing songs and was interested in the challenging objective.

He knew from the beginning that he wanted to include JBU’s mottos “Christ Over All” and “Head, Heart, Hand.” For him, the mottos provided a strong
mental image. 

“I decided to carry that image through every stanza and expand upon it as the lyric progressed,” Smith said. “The chorus of the song is meant to encapsulate JBU’s mission: we serve to worship Christ with our heads, hearts and hands.”

He also notes that the song ends with a call for the church as a whole.

“Upon recognition of God’s love, we respond with our minds, with our love and with our actions, all for the purpose of proclaiming Christ to the world,” Smith said.

As students, faculty, staff and alumni sing “Christ Over All,” Smith hopes that they are brought into worship and encouraged to respond to the great love of Christ.

“Honestly, this song is only important if it accurately reflects the character of God and helps create a moment of worship for the congregation,” Smith said. “As long as it does this for JBU students, then and only then do I think it can qualify as important.” 

Listen to this song and others written by JBU worship arts students in the album “Heads, Hearts, & Hands” by visiting  www.jbu.edu/worship-arts-album/. 

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