'Sloppy wet kiss', or 'Unforeseen kiss'? 'You give and take away' or 'You give and bless the day'?

Just wondering what people's views are on changing lyrics of popular worship songs such as 'How He Loves' (by John Mark McMillan) and 'Blessed be Your Name' (by Matt Redman).

The original version of How He Loves had the line:

'Heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss'

but some of the covers of the song changed the line to:

'Heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss'

Similarly I've heard that some people change the line in Matt Redman's song 'Blessed be Your name' from:

'You give and take away' to 'You give and bless the day'.

Presumably this is legal and the artist's permission was sought before making these changes to the song lyrics - but why do people feel the need to change them? Why not just use a different song?


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"sloppy wet kiss" - yes, it's poetic and I get it. I feel it is VERY difficult for the older generation to accept and I am all about making worship happen across the age barriers. First of all most references to a close encounter with our Holy God involve falling on our face before him not running up to him with a sloppy wet kiss. Recently a certain well known Christian Rock band was in our town this week and the lead singer was on his knees flexing his biceps for the girls to feel. I am afraid we set a bad example of who God is for the younger generation. We as a nation no longer fear God's punishment for sin and so we go without taking a stand against it and accepting a society that is broken in need of a savior. I think the lyrics are worth mentioning in a youth bible study and explaining the poetry in relation to our worship but as a worship song I don't feel it belongs in corporate worship where you may have visitors who would not get it at all and be offended. I know many disagree but I could not bring myself to sing these lyrics in my church. Maybe a younger church or youth event but still I believe we lower the bar when we accept these as terms for worship.

Two observations:

  1. I find the nature of the two statements to be of interest. One statement is an objective Biblical statement ('You give and take away') the other is not ('Heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss). Someone earlier in the thread mentioned that we need to expand our "worship vocabulary." I would agree with one minor but significant tweak... We need to expand our worship vocabulary with Biblical terms, which is what Redman did.
  2. I think a better question might be... "What do these words mean?" I'm not sure what "sloppy wet kisses" means... Looking at the greater context of verse two there seems to be more confusion... "Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes." I have no idea what that means. "I don’t have time to maintain these regret" Um... What regrets? I get the idea that there is some kind of redemptive theme present but I'm not sure what about that redemption is being communicated. There's room for artistic license in the songs we write, perform, and record but I'm not sure we have the same license in the context of corporate worship. The nature of corporate worship demands that we be on the same page and we can't be on the same page if we're not even really sure how to interpret a given song

The verse in Job quoting "the Lord gives and the Lord takes away" is incredibly applicable to their situation given that Job had just lost ALL his children! 

Kaye, we used that song for the funeral of our 15 year old daughter.

It is important to understand that, if God is God and has all things in His hands, then He is the one who allows or prevents tragedies. Did God kill our daughter? Nope, it was a car crash that did it. Never the less, it was important for us to be able to honour His right to her life, just as we'd like to honour His right to ours.

If that concept would have caused issues then I might have considered using another song. Since you can't read 'tone of voice' I'm writing this from wanting to share our experience to bring another point of view, rather than a place of correction or upset. :-)

I agree that is a half-truth, or creative line causes someone to stumble change it or ditch the song entirely... but don't change the Scripture... truth is truth... and our truth should be sung... that's the best worship.

I appreciate the heart of what you wanted to do for the sake of that family, but in my opinion, it is NOT acceptable for any worship leader to change someone else's song, especially when what it is changed to completely misrepresents the intended meaning of the song (in this case, "despite that the Lord gives and takes away he will bless His name"); or, that it misrepresents the scripture the song was based on (in this case, the verse from Job.)   I never questioned your bible literacy.  I was simply pointing out that the song and scripture were incredibly applicable to their situation, so I'm a bit shocked that you felt, especially now that I'm aware of your 'bible literacy', the need to change it.  I do question any worship leader that feels they have the liberty to take someone else's song and alter the meaning of what they intended for that song.  Their songs are not ours to change to that degree.  As you said, it was a one-time, very unusual situation.  Who knows -- maybe in the same circumstances I would have done the same thing under that kind of pressure.  I dunno.  I'm sure you're fabulous at what you do, and I'm glad they had someone with a heart focused on serving them. 

..much prefer the "unforeseen kiss" ..it's far more Spirit inspired. ..the other wording has a carnal connotation which  causes me to wince. It's a sign of the decline in the age of grace that the other wording would be accepted.

"He gives and takes away" is so scriptural - how could anybody change that!@!?

I've never heard the Blessed Be Your Name change, and I actually like the change in the context of changing the "taken away" lyric around a specific congregation...that was well thought out! :-)

The How He Loves lyric is funny, because the Crowder version became more popular than the McMillan version, though I prefer the McMillan version after reading about why he wrote that version. He was also cool with Crowder changing the lyric, if I remember reading correctly.

The thing that bugs me the most in Christian music by far (off topic a little) is the re-recording and re-releasing of songs by different artists. For example, Bluetree's God of this City is cool but Chris Tomlin's became popular. Newsboys seem to be re-releasing every song. I dunno, I know there's something about using a song to worship, but it seems weird to just re release other people's music as consistently as its done in Christian music

My personal opinion is that the first song (How He Loves) shouldn't be a congregational worship song to begin with, so throw the whole song out!  It is really stunning to me that worship leaders think that song is even remotely easy for a congregation to learn and sing.  It is at the top of my list of "great songs to listen to on the radio' but NOT A WORSHIP SONG FOR A CONGREGATION.  In fact, the majority of songs that are passing for Sunday morning worship songs are falling into this category for me.  Sunday morning is not a performance.  It's not a place to sound cool or play cool songs.  If the congregation is not being led into worship, you are failing in your position as worship LEADER.  If they can't sing the song because of the crazy amount of lyrics and bizarre syncopation, you are failing your congregation.

The second song, "Blessed Be Your Name" -- You give and take away" is almost a direct quote out of the book of Job.  Why on earth would a worship leader want to change that line??  The whole point of the song is, whether the Lord gives or takes away, he will bless His name. 

And third, I don't at all feel it is appropriate to rewrite someone else's worship song unless you are using a word that means the same thing but is easier to sing, i.e., "You or Me" instead of "Thou or Thee", or vica versa.  But, to completely change a line which changes the original meaning of the intended line -- that should be illegal.


Wow!  I was going to post on here, but now I don't have to because you said exactly what I was thinking.  Your sentence that begins "It is at the top of my list..." was pretty much exactly what I was going to say.  Now if I am under someone else's leadership that wants to do it or if the pastor really wants me to do it, I would most likely submit and do it, but my feeling is exactly as you stated.  I agree with you (and most others on this thread) about Blessed Be Your Name too.  Not sure how I feel about your third point, though.  There are some songs with changes that I've done and I haven't really felt like I needed to obtain permission for it.  

Also, I liked how you responded to Kaye Smith.  I disagree with her, too, but I would hate for her to feel judged, and I don't think that was your intent.  We all lead as best we can with sometimes great fear and trembling, and in a similar situation, who knows what choices we would make?  We might be criticized for "not speaking the truth" or "watering down the gospel" or whatever other familiar critical quote you want to add, but in the end, we are not accountable to other well-meaning believers who already know everything--we are accountable to God. 

Thanks for your note -- it is not often that anyone ever agrees with me, LOL!  As I had expounded in my other replies, I just don't feel it is appropriate for any worship leader to change a line of someone else's song.  If we are to treat others the way we want to be treated, we have to ask ourselves, "If I wrote a song, would I care if someone else changed it, and then sang it before their congregation with my name on it as if I wrote it with their changes, where they never asked permission and I don't get to know what the changes were?"  I think the majority of us would answer, "NO".   So, I'm a bit baffled at the widely accepted attitude that it is okay with so many people.  Really -- just incredibly shocking to me.  Maybe it's because I'm a writer, and there might be a majority of worship leaders that are not writers so the thought never occured to them.  It's illegal to take a person's written works and change them without permission.  The same rules should apply for worship songs, in my very unpopular and non-important opinion.  ;-)

^  Strong feelings on "How He Loves," Teresa.  I've personally never felt it's a tough song to learn.  I kinda feel like the chorus is extremely simple and singable, actually.  I don't see it as a song that is any more complicated than any other song to learn.  I've worshipped to that song numerous times when standing in the congregation.  But, some songs just don't hit people the same way as they do others.  


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