ONE // Song Story by Pippa Baker
It was January 2018 and 10 of the band went away for our first songwriting retreat at the amazing Ashburnham Place. We were expectant to hear from God. Our starting point was to pray and ask the Lord for songs that the Church need to sing at this time in history. We wanted to see what He was doing across the Nations, across the Church, across this generation and then write songs from there.
On the Sunday morning of our time together we were waiting on God and listening for His voice to fill our blank sheets of paper. This time around we didn’t have any melody, concept or lyrical hook to work from. After a while of waiting and praying I could hear these distant bells ringing (even now I couldn’t tell you if they were in the natural or I was just hearing them in my heart) and I felt a strong sense that we needed to write a song about the Church being one – a song about unity.
What better place to start than the most astonishing moment in John’s Gospel where we are welcomed into Jesus’ prayer to the Father. His prayer for unity. He doesn’t just pray for the believers of the time but He actually prays for you and for me. His prayer reaches into the future to bless believers of every age. This is what he prays:
‘I do not pray for these only, but also those who believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, even as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.’ John 17:20 – 21
We wrote One as a way of us joining in with the prayer of Jesus. You’ll see many of the lyrics parallel Jesus’ garden of Gethsemane prayer. This is the cry of our hearts - we as OHP are passionate about working with all of our brothers and sisters from different denominations and it’s something we are committed to as one of the values of our collective.
More than just our passion, it’s clear that God is answering His very own prayer - unity is what God is doing in our days. Anyone can see that from both the grassroots levels and from the top leadership of the institutional Churches, Christians are coming together in a new way, embracing each other as family and building kingdom friendships. We even managed to evidence this in One as Pope Francis gets a solo!
Unity first and foremost is a work of the Holy Spirit so joining in with praying for Christ’s bride must be the first thing we do – hence this song. But from this place we can also put in individual and collective effort to be an answer to Jesus’ prayer. May we keep choosing to love each other, to listen well and grow in friendship. Just like Jesus prayed we would.