Friday, 11 March 2011

And Can It Be (redone)

So last year was a fairly fruitful year for me for song writing, not that it's about numbers, but i've enjoyed seeing songs develop and being used at church and hopefully helping people fix their gaze on Jesus better.

The song that people seemed to connect to best is one that I can't even take all the credit for. The hymn "And Can It Be" has always been a bit of a favourite song of mine. There is great depth to the song and I love how the gospel seems to flow through every verse.

One night I felt a melody pop into my head and I quickly grabbed the nearest guitar to see how it fitted. It seemed to work well with the lines of "And Can It Be" so I mulled it over for a few days and then played it to a few people. I thought there were are few lines that people might not understand as well - e.g. "Thine eye diffused a quickening ray" (or maybe I just don't get a very obvious meaning) and so I rewrote a few lines to make things more clear (this involved combining verse 2 & 3). Another addition was a progression of "And now..." where I tried to create a journey of what has now happened culminating in "And now my soul complete". Lastly I added a little riff to begin to the song as well which hopefully is catchy-tastic!

The first morning I played it, I expected an outcry at the sheer audacity of changing a beloved hymn yet people seemed to receive it well... So here are lyrics (i've highlighted in red the changed lyrics) and I've put a very rough acoustic recording at the bottom (excuse poor sound quality/singing) and hopefully I'll be able to post the full studio recording of it soon!

And Can It Be - Words - Charles Wesley, Additional lyrics & Music Josh John

Verse 1:
And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Saviour’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain—
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, should die for me?
And now my soul is well
All because of his amazing love

Verse 2 (original verse 2 & 3 combined):
‘Tis Mystery all: th’Immortal dies
Who can explain this grace divine
He left His Father’s throne above
And bled for Adam’s helpless race
Tis mercy all, immense and free
For O my God, it found out me
And now my heart must bow
All because of his amazing love

Verse 3:
Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin, in death and shame
But God himself, He heard my cry
My Saviour came, gave me new life

My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
And now my spirit sings
All because of his amazing love

Verse 4:
No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine;
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.
And now my soul complete
All because of his amazing love

Listen here 

Hopefully those at RFC are still enjoying singing the song and hopefully if you haven't heard it before you'll enjoy this acoustic version (or at least it doesn't put you off til we get the CD done and you can hear how it should sound!)


  1. I think it's a real shame to lose the rhyme in verses 2 and 3, but I do like the updated lyrics. It's nice to get rid of the archaic words without losing a lot of their depth. Thanks for writing them!

  2. Absolutely love the song, and all that you've done to's full of life and truth :-)
    Keep writing....!