YOU // Song Story by Rachel Mannix
We knew we wanted to include spoken word on the album as it’s something we’re exploring more and more across OHP. For some reason though, I found it almost impossible to write anything. We had so many great ideas and themes but every time I tried to put pen to paper the words seemed hollow. Something kept drawing me back to this poem which I’d written almost two years ago and the more I prayed through the rest of the songs on the album it seemed to fit.
This poem was originally titled ‘psalm of the weary soul’. I was in a tough season of feeling under a lot of pressure and had just received some difficult family news. I had a few hours to spare so found myself praying – more out of exhaustion than anything else. These words just flowed out of me, almost exactly as you’re hearing them.
I love the production of it. We wanted something simple for the musical accompaniment that wouldn’t detract from the words but that would emphasise the feeling of movement. The penultimate line, “It’s you” wasn’t added until we came to record it but it’s the apex of the poem; everything else is drawn towards it. Tom has done such an incredible job to mirror that with the backing. For me it perfectly captures that piercing clarity when we speak out truth that leads us to a moment of encounter with God in the midst of the noise and confusion that so often surrounds us.
Both the process and the final track have been another reminder to me that it’s pointless to be anything other than honest with God. When we bring our whole self; even if we’re feeling overwhelmed by the weight of the world, praise pours out as well as the pain. It’s both cathartic and generative; there’s a letting go and a bringing forth that elevates us to stop looking to ourselves and instead to look at the One who is our consolation and our joy. This is turn reaffirms in us who He is calling us to be. Although these are the words from my struggle, in them I hear echoes of Isaiah 61 – a passage that I connect with as the mission that God has created for my life.
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.