My Redeemer Lives Considered From The Standpoint Of Grammar

WARNING: grammar geekiness ahead.

I hate songs with nonsensical lyrics, especially those that purport to be worship songs. The lyrics of a song matter far more to me than their accompanying music: I would forbid a song from being played in my ministry for having bad lyrics but never for having chords which I did not like.

And so I was especially pleased to make sense of some puzzling lyrics in My Redeemer Lives

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in church this morning.

The problematic stanza is

You lift my burdens
I’ll rise with You
I’m dancing on this mountain top
to see Your kingdom come

I was hung up on the word “to”, which I took to mean “I am dancing on this mountain top in order to bring about Your Kingdom’s arrival.” In another language this would be called a dative of purpose. This troubled me, because as Lindsey download the tragedy of macbeth online download drag me to hell dvd download the namesake online

said this morning, “There are few things less likely to bring about the kingdom than dancing on a mountain. How about feeding some homeless people or talking to someone about Jesus?”

But then I realized there were at least two other interpretations of the word “to”. It could be like a dative of instrument (“I am dancing on this mountain top because I get a good view from up here which enables me to behold Your kingdom as it spreads on earth”) or like an ablative of attendant circumstances (“To see your Kingdom come causes me to dance on this mountain top”).

I suspect it’s the latter.

So now I can sing that song.

For the 1% of you who have been similarly puzzled, you’re welcome.

For the 80% of you wondering if I made up the words dative and ablative, check out Wikipedia’s list of grammatical cases.

3 thoughts on “My Redeemer Lives Considered From The Standpoint Of Grammar”

  1. glad to know I am not the only person who has banned songs on grammatical / non‐sensical basis… it is amazing what we allow because we only really need to emote… not think in our worship. I banned “my glorious”… my glorious what?

    1. Now I want to play madlibs.

      “My glorious… car.”
      “My glorious.… sunglasses.”
      “My glorious… cookie.”

      Heh.

  2. Seriously. One day I was like, “Huh? Wait a minute, what the heck are we singing about?” I agree with your final interpretation. I know this is an old post, and I probably shouldn’t even care, but I do. Why on a mountain top? Because it’s close to God? Because everyone can see you? Or because it sounds nice? Other? I don’t know, but just kicking around the idea…

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