by Stacy Tan
It has been nearly a week since Come Thou Fount (Hallelujah) was released & we’ve been so blessed by the outpouring of feedback & affirmation from the Singaporean community. The transformation of this beloved hymn started out as a complete experiment when we unearthed an old project idea for songwriting class, which was to ask students to rearrange a classic hymn. There’s something special about hymns of old that strike a chord in people’s hearts. Perhaps its their metric & musical symmetry, or their distinctive choral patterns that draw people to them, but I like to think that its mostly because so much of their lyrical content & imagery arise heavily from scripture & meditation.
We went through many hymns before finally settling on Come Thou Fount. This hymn has always been a favourite of mine, but I loved it even more after hearing Calvin talk about Robert Robinson (the original songwriter of Come Thou Fount) before band rehearsal one day. Born in 1735, Robinson grew up fatherless & joined a gang as a youth, bullying innocents & living a life of degeneracy. One day, Robinson & his gang started to harass a gypsy who suddenly singled him out & foretold that he would live to see his children & grandchildren. These words shook Robinson, who felt convicted that he would have to change his way of living in order to see the generations after him. In 1755, at the age of 20, Robert gave his life to the Lord & became an influential Methodist preacher. Two years later, he wrote the hymn Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing which expressed the joy he found in his new faith.
I love that story so much because of its honesty. It reminds me that Robinson, like the rest of us, are but strangers who continuously wander from the fold of God. But what immense grace, that this is a God who would take us back, time & time again.
Prone to wander, Lord I feel it
prone to leave the God I love
Here’s my heart, O take & seal it
seal it for thy courts above
But what immense grace, that this is a God who would take us back, time & time again…
& the new bridge & chorus? As we always teach in songwriting class, a good song is one that embodies an eternal, scriptural truth about God while simultaneously retelling that truth in a fresh, creative way. While we love the lyrics of the original hymn, we wanted to write new words to add to the heavily-personal narrative, words that would act as a mighty, calling trumpet sound, words for a truly AWAKENED generation to gather & sing.
Written primarily by Alarice, the new song parts ended up reflecting the very heart of Awaken Generation, which is to stir the children of God to awaken to their evangelistic calling & to celebrate in an eternal, Christ-won victory.
Hallelujah, He has saved me
Hallelujah, He has come
Hallelujah, it is finished
O the victory has been won
O awaken, all ye children
hear the call of Father’s love
This salvation, not for keeping
but to share & to award
A generation you desire
bringing Jesus to the lost
No other worthy cause we cling to
than the one shown on the cross
No other worthy cause but you, Jesus.