>Asleep in The Light

>Keith Green was quite possibly one of the most influential of the contemporary Gospel singers of the late 1970s. He was originally signed to Decca Records in 1965, at the age of 12, with the hope of making him a teen idol but as he matured his strong Christian faith caused him to balk at most of the lyrics to the songs he sang. By the mid 70s Decca had given up on him and released him from his contract.

In 1976 Green, now 23, signed a new contract with contemporary Gospel label Sparrow records and his first album was released in 1977. By the time of his tragic death in a plane crash in 1982 Green had release 4 more albums of praise and worship songs, with a few well timed barbs at the established church thrown in for good measure.

What follows are the lyrics to my personal favourite of his works. Asleep in The Light first appeared in 1978 on the album No Compromise. In it Green pulls no punches, pleading with the Christian church to put faith into action. This past week I’ve been meditating on Matthew 25, whenever I think of Jesus words about caring for the weak or the needy I think of this song.

I challenge you to read these lyrics and not feel a little uncomfortable about what you’re doing for the “least of these”;

Do you see, do you see
All the people sinking down
Don’t you care, don’t you care
Are you gonna let them drown

How can you be so numb
Not to care if they come
You close your eyes
And pretend the job’s done

“Oh bless me Lord, bless me Lord”
You know it’s all I ever hear
No one aches, no one hurts
No one even sheds one tear

But He cries, He weeps, He bleeds
And He cares for your needs
And you just lay back
And keep soaking it in,
Oh, can’t you see it’s such a sin?

Cause He brings people to your door,
And you turn them away
As you smile and say,
“God bless you, be at peace”
And all heaven just weeps
Cause Jesus came to your door
You’ve left him out on the streets

Open up open up
And give yourself away
You see the need, you hear the cries
So how can you delay

God’s calling and you’re the one
But like Jonah you run
He’s told you to speak
But you keep holding it in,
Oh can’t you see it’s such a sin?

The world is sleeping in the dark
That the church just can’t fight
Cause it’s asleep in the light
How can you be so dead
When you’ve been so well fed
Jesus rose from the grave
And you, you can’t even get out of bed

Oh, Jesus rose from the dead
Come on, get out of your bed

How can you be so numb
Not to care if they come
You close your eyes
And pretend the job’s done
You close your eyes
And pretend the job’s done

Don’t close your eyes
Don’t pretend the jobs done
Come away, come away, come away with Me my love,
Come away, from this mess, come away with Me, my love.

Of course just reading the lyrics doesn’t give the emotion of them justice, so if you aren’t uncomfortable yet watch this concert footage and listen to the emotion. There’s some cheesy 1970s editing going on and he goes flat a few times but I dare you not weep!

What’s God calling for you? Don’t close your eyes!

Checking out the Believer’s Trust page for more information on God’s calling for me and to join the movement.


  1. >I wish this kind of sentiment permeated the church! :-)But, playing the devil's advocate as you know I do, it is interesting to note that Jesus was moved to compassion, and subsequently on to healing, upon seeing the need of the people; that is to say *literally* seeing the needs in person and being close enough to touch them.By contrast, God, being omniscient, sees the needs everybody for healing, yet does nothing to heal the overwhelming majority of people.I do not say this to blame or accuse God of injustice or meanness in withholding healing, but rather to point out how one could extrapolate God's and Jesus' own example to show that charity should have a localized focus.Is there someone in your community that is poor? Is there someone in your community that is homeless? Do you know them? Do you see them personally in your daily affairs? If so, then take action.This somewhat localized perspective is also supported by Deuteronomy 15:4. Even the "Good Samaritan" parable relies on that Samaritan walking by the robbery victim and seeing his need.So I guess what I am trying to say is that Biblically speaking we shouldn't necessarily feel moved to do something about starving Africans when there are people right here in the U.S.A. and Canada who need our help. And even then, it may not truly be a sin not to help them if you do not actually see them.That's my $0.02, which I will now give to the next beggar I see. 😉

  2. >wise fool – you're not too far off the mark here. That's what I see in the lines;And all heaven just weepsCause Jesus came to your doorYou've left him out on the streetsI make it point of carrying extra change so that I always have something to give to the beggars I see. I've stopped going to Starbucks in the mornings and freed up $2-$3 a day. But in today's 24 hour news cycle we see a lot of suffering all over the world that we are also called to do something about. Just because Jesus only helped suffereing that he could physically see and touch, doesn't let us off the hook for the drowning Pakistanis that are on the news every night. We live in a globalized world, we see a lot. But if, as you suggest, everyone took a localized approach to charity the impact would still be huge. Like the old saying goes, charity begins at home. Keep doing what you do, but just humor me and make it $0.25, at least that's enough for the beggar to make a phone call and get some real help.

  3. >Great post Lauren!To Wise Fool I see your point of view in asking if God is omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent why would he allow so much suffering? That is a reason many sadly use not to believe in Him. The truth is that God, in his wisdom, has chosen to work through individuals and prayer. He doesn't always answer how we would want and most individuals do not do their part in allowing Him to work through them.Ghandi once said, "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." While I don't agree with such a broad generalization there is much truth in what he said.We are each individually responsible to do our part in helping others as best as we can.Charity in today's world has become, in many cases, a popular thing to do but it has lost the true spirit of giving from a generous heart out of sincere concern for others. "Too many have dispensed with generosity in order to practice charity." ~ Albert Camus I like how Ketih sang that it was Jesus that you were turning away from when you don't help others when it is in your power to do so. Most people don't get that. Jesus did say, "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. So I challenge anyone who is reading this to find at least one person today that you can help in some way. There are also many ways to give. It can be financial (like giving to a good cause or a person in need), helping someone move, offering a listening and compassionate ear, a simple call to someone to tell them you love them, giving encouragement to one who is down, inviting someone over for dinner who is financially struggling and the list is infinite with possibilities.Is that equivalent to .025 cents Lauren? lol

  4. >To J. Lawerence, welcome to the conversation, What I would like to see is a more tangible contribution to those who are suffering. Offering a compassionate ear and giving encouragement only goes so far, it doesn't fill an empty stomach. A few years ago, when I was out of work and broke I had a lot of people praying for me but only one gave me a cent and it was that person who kept me from losing my house so that I could keep looking for work.

  5. >I know what you mean. I find myself in a somewhat similar situation now. I moved to Las Vegas a few months ago to be with my daughters. I was divorced 10 years ago and won full custody of them. I was a single dad with them for eight years and we are so close and in love. We lived in South Florida.Two years ago, however, they came to me one day in tears saying they don't like the schools there and want to try living with mom in Las Vegas for a while.It was so hard for me to let them go across the country but I did.While I was still in Florida I was working on building my auto-delivery company and it was starting to blossom… at great expense to me.Then I started getting calls from them crying and saying, "Please come out to Vegas Daddy, we miss you so much."It was another big decision to close my business and move to the state with the highest unemployment and the worst economy.I decided I would rather struggle and be with them than succeed without them.I interviewed all over when I got here and had one company that was offering a 65,000 base plus commissions. I was told if I hit quotas I would be at 109k/yr. I went through the interview process for 5 weeks and it came down to one other person and me..they chose the other guy.I ended up taking what I could find and am now making what I made at the age of 17 and barely getting by.People in my church and bible study groups know my situations and yes, some of them are wealthy.The tough thing, as I am sure you know, is that you just can't ask them to help you. At least I can't. I don't look at it as an issue of pride or shame but to me it's just something you don't do. You think to yourself, "If I was them and one like me came across their path I wouldn't hesitate to help."I have had to rent a room in a place in which my roomate won't allow my daughters to come over. With what I am making I cannot afford my own place.So I truly know exactly what you mean. I have had to go weeks where I eat just ramen because it's all I can afford.I have an education and many abilities for the job market but haven't found a good paying job yet.I just trust that God will come through and I must learn what I can in this tough time.My point in the earlier post was to do whatever you can with whatever you have. Sometimes all you can offer is a compassionate ear or encouragement, but if that's all you can do, at least do that.

  6. >As an entepreneur, I'm sure you understand the "you" part regarding helping the needy. Unfortunately there are too many who donate to charities feeling they have done right yet the misspent money leads to the suffering of others rather than helping. I am not saying don't donate to charities. I am saying that if doing so is your desired method of giving back to God then it is your responsibility to know exactly what will be done with God's donations. I have a local charity that donate to and I know the folks running it, and the recipients of the donations. Much of what I give is time. Time is far more precious than things we hold in value. There is no limit to how much money, food, toys one can amass, but time is limited. With time, you have what you have and that's it. Look at all the people getting insane plastic surgery now, why? To beat time, which is impossible, and that is why plastic surgery addicts look so horrible after a few years. Donating time that you can never get back at a homeless or animal shelter (for example) where you see and know the difference you make is far more valuable both to you and to God.Let me make clear: it doesn't matter whether all you can spare is a dollar or 10 minutes of time, it is your responsibility to give and help. That is the price of freedom and we are free to help whom we choose thanks to God.@Lauren: I bet you already knew I would say something like this.

  7. >Andrew33I did know you'd say something like that. Quite honestly I'm surprised it took you over a week to repond. The sad fact is that money is what makes the world go round and last I checked the electric company wasn't a charity. Giving 10 minutes of your time might have a direct impact on those who need it but it won't keep the lights turned on. Of course the best charities are transparent and they tell you exactly what percentage of your money ends up paying for things like the electric bill and staff salaries and how much ends up direclty in the hands of those they are trying to help. My personal rule of thumb when giving money to charity; try to follow the 80/20 rule. If overhead is more than 20% there is likely some financial mis-management going on and I stay away.

  8. >I quite agree with the localized aid, but that it is important that though we cannot perhaps help the poor in Africa, we can have charitable feelings towards those people, (not sympathy, more empathy), shed a tear for them because they are your brothers and sisters even if they are beyond your ability to help. Also if every Christian person in this world were to daily help the poor instead of turning them away, there would be no poor among us. but there could end up being more beggars. (not as eloquently put as possible, but I pray the spirit helps to deliver the message) – God could help every person in this world and make us all wealthy & healthy and not "need" anything, but then when would we serve each other, when would we have the ability to have charity towards each other. when would we have the opportunity to do what God asks of us. if there is no evil there can be no good, if there is no suffering there can be no saviors. (think about it)

  9. >marymanardYou've touched on an idea that has been dubbed the concept of mixed up grace. God has spread his grace un-evenly so that the human race is forced into relationship with one another. The concept is that if I have an abundance of something you need we shoud seek each other out and share the grace we have been given. The sin is in hoarding grace that isn't really yours but was really meant for someone else. As for the idea of an increase in beggars, it is not your place to judge poeple's motives, only to give of your abundance. If everyone did that there would be no increase in beggars, because if they had extra they too would give it.

  10. >I do not believe in charity, nor do I give to charities.Having been the recipient of charity from individuals and charitable organizations, I find charity to be a very cold, inadequate, and poor substitute for genuine compassion and self sacrificing love.Life is suffering. It is messy and complicated. Charity is a device that allows us to avoid the mess and the complications. It allows us to appear compassionate, without having to actually develope and become compassionate. Jesus called those hypocrites who gave tithes and alms to charity while refusing to dirty their hands with mercy, kindness, and brotherly love.I believe that Jesus called us to a much higher action than charity. I believe that Jesus called us into a compassionate RELATIONSHIP with those we help. When the scripture says "I was a stranger and you took me in" it literally means "you gathered me to yourself". It is the same word used to describe throwing a net into the sea, and drawing the fish to yourself, into your boat. I was in prison, and you came into my house, my prison, with me. I was sick and you looked out for me and took care of me. It means: I had AIDS, and all my friends and family rejected and abandoned me, and no one would hire me, and I had no place to go, and no means by which to survive, and you took me into your own home, prepared my meals for me when I could not prepare them myself. You missed work to take me to my Dr.s appointments. You held my head when I had seizures, washed the vomit out of my hair, and cleaned my sheets when I was incontinent. You listened to me and comforted me and cried with me.This is the compassionate relationship that I believe Jesus called us into. It is life changing for both parties. It is messy, dirty, inconvenient, and expensive. It puts anothers well being above our own plans and desires.Giving money to an AIDS charity would be a poor substitution for this kind of self sacrificing love and compassion, which has the power to heal both the mind and the body.Charity will not save the world, and is not what the world needs. The world needs genuine compassion and self sacrificing love. That is what always saves the world.

  11. >TonjiaI like your spirit. At the end of the day though there are no rules. If you give your time and invest in relationship that is great but don't put people down who's only means of giving is financial. Zacheous gave half his wealth to the poor and Jesus said that salvation had come to his house that day but on another occation a poor widow gave just pennies and he said that she had given more than anyone. I beleive Jesus did this on purpose to prevent us from getting legalistic about it.It's all about the condition of your heart. By the way; http://www.dictionary.com give no less than 7 definitions of the word charity and only one is overtly financial. By giving your time, you are still giving to charity…

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