chris rayis and little kids

I’ve had this conversation with my mom. That conversation where you talk about music, and how it’s so strange that we can remember the exact words to songs when they come on the radio or a cd player, even if it’s been years since we’ve heard them. It’s crazy as to what strange memory ability our brain has. When you hear songs that you know you know, that you haven’t heard in a while, it’s like a little piece of the past. It’s safe, it’s comfortable, it’s nice.

Songs hold emotional value for me. I attach them to things, to people, to how I felt when I first heard them. Songs are special. They’re more than words. Sometimes they mean more than words. They take you back somewhere to a specific moment in time and help you remember.

This summer held a great many number of songs for me. Most were fun, there were a few that were serious, and I will always associate certain things to Arizona. But the week I came home, I went to church and sat in my seat next to my parents for another “typical” service. And then, Chris Rayis started playing, and singing.

It was a well-known song, and I think I’d heard it before, but I never stopped to listen. That’s when songs take root for me, when I stop to listen. And so that Sunday in August, back home in Ohio after a long and wonderful summer, I listened to Chris. I love this kid. I love the way he plays and sings with everything he has. He touched my heart that day, and I could not keep tears from coming. He sang “Come to Jesus.” The simplicity of the song and the words struck such a different chord from the chaos of the summer. It hit home. Come to Jesus.

I was taken back to that moment this weekend, as I watched and heard a different group of little people sing this song. I took a much needed road trip with Emma to Grand Rapids to visit our dear friend Anna at Calvin. And at Anna’s church on Sunday, this wonderful group of elementary kids stood bravely in front of the church and sang the exact same song. I couldn’t help myself. Again, the tears rolled down my face as I watched their innocent little hands do the motions and listened to their amazing little voices as they sang as passionately as Chris does. It was incredible. It was emotional. And I remembered that in spite of the craziness of graduation and looking forward to Africa and writing a crazy number of papers, and thinking about different people in my life, that what I need to do is crawl back to my Jesus and rest in His arms. And I won’t do that just today, but everyday, until I kiss the world goodbye.

*weak and wounded sinner, lost and left to die
raise your head for love is passing by
come to Jesus, come to Jesus, come to Jesus, and live

now your burden’s lifted and carried far away
his precious blood has washed away the stain
so sing to Jesus, sing to Jesus, sing to Jesus, and live

like a newborn baby, don’t be afraid to crawl
remember when you walk, sometimes we fall
so fall on Jesus, fall on Jesus, fall on Jesus, and live

sometimes the way is lonely and steep and filled with pain
so if your sky is dark and pours the rain
they cry to Jesus, cry to Jesus, cry to Jesus, and live

when the love spills over and music fills the night
and when you can’t contain your joy inside
then dance for Jesus, dance for Jesus, dance for Jesus, and live

with your final heartbeat, kiss the world goodbye
then go in peace and laugh on glory’s side
and fly to Jesus, fly to Jesus, fly to Jesus, and live

fly to Jesus, fly to Jesus, fly to Jesus, and live*

Thank you, Chris Rayis, for the CD you made earlier this year and for recording Come to Jesus. It has been a great comfort to me this year. You have a wonderful talent, and I have no doubt that God is going to use you for his glory with that wonderful gift.


emma said...

i got chills when i read this...

Bonzo said...

I can relate to how you associate a song. For years I did not like Amazing Grace because it was always sung by a folk singer named Joan Baez (not known for her Christian morals) at the beginning of several 'Hippyfests' and it had a negative connotation to me. Then I read the story of how John Newton came to write the song and the words to the song took on a whole new meaning to me. Now it is one of my favorite hymns and even some guy trying to sing it at a funeral on Utube can't ruin it.

Christi said...

I cry every time I hear that song. Your blog was truly inspiring and God reminded me of how amazing He is. I'm so proud of you and your insights to this life. Love you marge