Come, Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy – Anathallo (2004, Hymns)

click on image to listen to song for free.

Today’s selection has a two-part or two-tiered approach.  Meaning that I have two selections, both from the same band.  It is more two-tiered, perhaps, because some readers may prefer the first part only.

Anathallo is simply unclassifiable.  Therefore, I will let the music do the talking for me in that regard.  However, I can explain more about the band’s existence, the song lyrics and history.  Anathallo (taken from Greek word meaning, “to renew, bloom again”) is a band from the great state of Michigan with many members who covertly, but beautifully entail the tag of being a Christian entity.  Most of their music has a very small, eclectic niche in the big picture of musical things; but, they did strip it down for the masses once upon a time to produce a small collection of old hymns re-birthed.

The really cool thing about the hymn that we are featuring today is that it served as the inspiration for one of their more original songs, which is the second tier of our blog post, to be listened to and discussed in a moment.  First, “Come, Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy”:

Come, ye sinners, poor and needy,
Weak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus ready stands to save you,
Full of pity, love and power.

Come, ye thirsty, come, and welcome,
God’s free bounty glorify;
True belief and true repentance,
Every grace that brings you nigh.

Come, ye weary, heavy laden,
Lost and ruined by the fall;
If you tarry till you’re better,
You will never come at all.

Let not conscience make you linger,
Not of fitness fondly dream;
All the fitness He requireth
Is to feel your need of Him.

Joseph Hart first composed this hymn in the late 1750’s (along with a couple other verses not used here).  It is old language to be sure, but the concept seems clear enough.  The Christian Gospel message is simply that we, sinners, are incapable of the spiritual “fitness” that God requires of all people.  But, God sent His Son to be that fitness for us.  Therefore, Jesus has done all the work for our salvation.  The final piece of the puzzle is that we “feel our need of Him” or repent.

The invitation from Christ is a welcoming sound of rest and peace that only He could offer.  He says to us, “Come, you poor and needy children.”  And those of us humble enough to admit and accept this as our reality are deeply touched by seeing His hand stretched out to us.  It is an emotional, even physical relief to think of how God’s Son literally carries us through our mistakes, toils and trials and leads us to our everlasting home with Him in joy and bliss.

But for now, we are greatly helped to remember, relive and re-feel how we finally realized our need for Him…and how we always, in this broken flesh, think we need to work our miracles out with our own hands in order to please God.  Even though the christian life requires sacrifice, a zealous pursuit of holiness, and the burden of own crosses these things do not exist outside of an honest dependence on God’s effort to actually live for Him from the inside out.  This can all be summed up in the idea of rest.  In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus declares,

Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.

The second song, a more robust version of what can only be called the Anathallo sound, is of the same theme.  It is called, “Don’t Kid Yourself, You Need a Physician” and it can be listened to here.  Here the lyrics:

For days and weeks I made the parting call.
I cupped my hands, my mouth an “O”
I shouted saying,
“Brothers, hold my fading arms in the air, I am weak!”
They just faded there.

Who will rescue me from this body, not the arms, the fingers still? yes,
they feel what they touch as well,
cut the cords.
Let the ancient Adam go.
I’ve been dancing with this corpse for nineteen years. (x3 etc.)

And when I said,
“Who will shave my head, and on the might, reveal me in my skin?”
All the secrets of fitness:
all the fitness He requires is to feel your need for Him.

In my room, in my room,
in this gospel I have made
Salvation is a broken cistern in a handmade frame.

I cut the sheets into a flag,
paint it red,
self-pity hangs over the doorway in.

From seven times seventy scraping knees,
blood lets, deficiencies,
these are the layers of bandages, protection from the sting.
In this great lacking,
I’ve found a way.

And when I said,
“Who will shave my head, and on that might, reveal me in my skin?”                                  All the secrets of fitness:
all the fitness He requires is to feel your need for Him.

Who will rescue me from this body, not the arms, the fingers still? yes,
they feel what they touch as well,
cut the cords.
Let the ancient Adam go.
I’ve been dancing with this corpse for nineteen years.

A very creative and talented group, no doubt.  I hope that many of you give both songs a good listen.  I also hope and pray that each of us daily remember, relive and re-feel the blessed calm that can only come from resting in Jesus Christ.  Let there be no doubt, we are all spiritually poor and needy without Him…we all need the great Physician.  Hallelujah, He is ours!

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2 thoughts on “Come, Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy – Anathallo (2004, Hymns)

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