I interviewed Jonny Robinson this week (co-songwriter of Jerusalem) to ask a few questions:
What is the song about?
The song follows Jesus scene by scene as he walks through Jerusalem to the Cross. In Luke 9.51, Jesus ‘sets his face’ to Jerusalem and makes a decision to go through with this very difficult plan. So we wanted to capture some of that commitment and that resolution, to show him physically walking through those old streets on the way to the Cross. It’s quite visceral, in that sense.(The path that Jesus took is also known as the Via Dolorosa)
There are some terrific plays and films about Jesus and the crucifixion, and they’re able to rely on visual techniques to get the story across. Even the not-so-great ones have pictures and images and their disposal. And that leaves a mark- images leave a mark. What we wanted to do was try and incorporate that visual and cinematic feel into a song. So, it’s the story of Jesus walk through Jerusalem to the Cross with a focus on the visual elements- the streets, the crowds, the rocks, and so on.There are a lot of really good and strong songs exploring the spiritual things that took place that day, but we also wanted people to be able to see this wild story unfolding- such a crucial part of the faith that did take place in history and on a road, and that, of course, for a reason.In such a story, though, the spiritual aspects of the day do come through in the song because they are tied to the history so inextricably. But the focus is Jesus walking, Jesus waiting, Jesus hanging there, and what it looked like. It’s important to get inside this story and to feel it and to see it.This song, of course, can’t do that for someone completely or perfectly, but we wanted to give any help we could in that direction. If nothing else, it’s a song about the most important story on earth.
CityAlight is a team of songwriters, singers and musicians from St Paul’s Castle Hill. We aren’t a band or a movement or a church (although we do all go to one!). We have simply written and produced songs for the church because we love to hear the people of God come together and praise His name. The sound of a church singing is like nothing else. And God deserves that.
Jonny is highly regarded at St Paul’s and his paper last year on the topic of lyrical clarity has been a great resource for songwriters.
Jerusalem is a timely release for Easter, powerfully communicating the gospel of Jesus in song. May this song nourish your soul and by all means, share with your friends!
The Jerusalem lyric video has been created to show in church or at events. This is also available now to download for free.
May this song refresh your soul and draw you nearer to “the One who Saves us”.