16 October 2015

Music Day - Missing Person

Another piece of my childhood (and also one of the few songs on my list of songs to feature on Music Day that actually sort of applies to my life right now).

I think this was actually my introduction to Michael W. Smith. I was young -- about five -- when this was the big hit on Christian radio, and I mostly kept liking it out of nostalgia. But this is one of those MWS lyrics (and one of the very few mainstream CCM lyrics) that actually hints at the reality of being a less-than-perfect Christian whose life is not all together. Christian music needs this reminder in the worst way. We have so many songs (and, increasingly, films) that tell you 'come to Jesus and everything will be perfect,' but that's simply not true; and we as Christians need to stop perpetuating that lie. What's more, we need to stop believing it.

One of the biggest things I miss about not being ticked off at God is being able to tell people I'm praying for them. I feel like it's hypocritical for me to tell others I'm praying for them when I can't even pray for myself. But now I just feel so useless when my friends are having problems. I wish I could help -- but I feel blocked from doing the one thing that I can actually (physically) do.

Where did that person go? I used to pray about everything, all the time. I used to really believe prayer could move proverbial mountains. I used to pray for everyone who I knew needed something. Of course I would do anything I could physically as well, but if I couldn't do anything else, I would at least pray. And I don't even have that anymore. It's funny how much I miss it. But I don't know how to take it back.

There was a boy who had the faith to move a mountain
And like a child he would believe without a reason
Without a trace he disappeared into the void and
I've been searching for that missing person...

Title: Missing Person
Artist: Michael W. Smith
Album: Live The Life
Year: 1998
iTunes here; YouTube here.

Props to MWS for writing this. Most other artists could have written this song and it would have been horribly neglected (though it was so badly needed). But Michael W. Smith, with nearly two decades of CCM popularity under his belt, could write this song and get it on the radio -- despite the melancholy, 'lost' theme of the lyric -- simply because his name was attached to it. And it took off. The chorus absolutely soars. Probably one of the catchiest things mainstream CCM ever produced. Play this for anybody who listened to Christian radio in the late '90s and see if they don't belt out that chorus at the top of their lungs. The smooth melody, the yearning vocal, the vulnerable lyric (the verses are primarily spoken, adding to the vulnerable feel), the melancholy guitar riff, and even the electric organ accents could not be anything but a hit in Christian circles thirsty for something honest.

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