We Will All Be Changed

Buried in brokenness
Raised in glory
Buried in weakness
Raised in strength
Buried as natural
Raised supernatural
We will all be changed

Made from earth
Adam came first
Then came Christ
With heavenly life
We all began in Adam
So we all die
But we will receive new life
If we belong to Christ

In a flash
A blink of an eye
Trumpets sound
We’re raised up to life
This is our resurrection
So we all cry,
“Death, we’re not afraid of you.
We belong to Christ!”

© 2022 JG Songs
CCLI Song # 7206507

Our resurrection is quite rightly eclipsed by the great and utterly astonishing fact that the Son of God was first raised from the dead. Because so much time and energy is put into focussing on Jesus, “the first-born from the dead”, in gathered worship, very little if any is given over to celebrating the wonder of the implications of that resurrection for our very own.

I wanted to write something that was simple, but not simplistic; something that would at once be accessible but also attempt to plumb the immense depths of the truths found in 1 Corinthians 15 about our future hope.

This was written as part of Resound Worship’s 12 Song Challenge in September 2022 when the monthly theme was Songs of Christian Hope.

I had spent an evening reading parts of N.T. Wright’s book Surprised by Hope. In one part, he mentioned Paul’s great chapter on the resurrection, 1 Corinthians 15. I was reading this in order to get ideas for songs for Resound Worship’s 12 Song Challenge, and that month’s theme was Songs of Christian Hope. Earlier that evening, my wife had said she’d like a children’s song based on that theme so, when I saw the following from the New Living Translation of that chapter, certain phrases jumped out at me as being sing-able:

1 Corinthians 15:42-43 (NLT)

I am so often thankful that much of a songwriter’s work has already been done by hardworking and skilled translators!

This gave me most of the refrain, but the last line just didn’t really work for me

Buried in brokenness / Raised in glory
Buried in weakness / Raised in strength
Buried as natural / Raised as spiritual?

So, I switched to the Message paraphrase and discovered that Peterson uses “supernatural” instead of spiritual which was a perfect match. In v51 in the NIV, Paul uses the phrase “We will all be changed” and this seemed like a great phrase to round off the chorus as it summed up the whole process of our future resurrection.

Back in the New Living Translation, I noticed v47 and how it stated a contrast between Adam and Christ.

Adam, the first man, was made from the dust of the earth, while Christ, the second man, came from heaven.

1 Corinthians 15:47 (NLT)

The assonance in “first” and “earth” was too much to resist and this gave me the first couple of lines of the verse

Adam came first / Made from earth

“Christ came second” wouldn’t have worked with the meter that those first pair of lines naturally created. I needed something punchier so reversed the phrase and simplified the syllables by using the synonym “then” to replace “second.” This gave me “Then came Christ” which also has the advantage of alliteration.

I knew that “heaven” alone wouldn’t work with the rhyming scheme that I now had, but as the theme was resurrection, ideas of “life” were on my mind and that was close enough to create assonance with “Christ” to give me

Then came Christ / With heavenly life

Finally, I’d noticed earlier that v22 had another really great comparison between Adam and Christ which would match the theme of the verse so far:

Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life.

1 Corinthians 15:22 (NLT)

This gave me the final lines of the verse. Because the phrases here are longer than that of the first part of the verse, the syncopation changes to something much punchier as a way of building back up to the refrain.

At this point it was 1 o’clock in the morning and I’d spent half an hour scribbling on my tablet in the dark next to my sleeping wife! In my head, I had the beginnings of a tune, and when I realised that I’d better get it recorded before I forgot it, I crept downstairs, grabbed my guitar and (quietly!) sang this first attempt:

First attempt to sing it through

I then attended a mini-retreat organised online by United Adoration. I had a one-to-one session with the great songwriter Andy Clark and he encouraged me to do a few things:

  • add an extra verse – something I’d be toying with
  • add a 7th chord to a turnaround at the end
  • to avoid the phrase “We all belong to Adam” because it doesn’t accurately describe what our current status is as Christians
  • add a minor chord on the phrase “We all die”

I spent an hour or so doing further work on this and took on board all these comments except for the last which I felt simply didn’t work… esp. once I had a second verse.

I looked again at the last part of 1 Corinthians 15 in various versions and decided to focus on the events of our resurrection and the mocking of death Paul writes about there. Here’s my lyric doodle for verse 2.

I also added a modulation to the final chorus. Here’s what it sounded like at this point:

Version 2 first run through

Someone mentioned that the verse meters were slightly different and could do with syncing up, so I set about reworking this using a table with a syllable count column in the middle. Here’s what that looked like:

Working on syncing meter between verses

Similar Posts

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *