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Music and lyrics


An instrumental album by Jon Swerens

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By Jon Swerens · August 2006

River, you carve the valleys in two
River, you bring new life into view
River, you prove your promises true
River, o River

River, an island stands in your way
River, you simply wear it away
River, even the rocks must obey
River, o River

Flood my walls and flood my ceilings
Flood my reckless thoughts and feelings
Soak me through like laundry in the rain
Flood my cellars, flood my rafters
Flood all my befores and afters
Leave no place where dryness can remain

River, bleach me whiter than snow
River, until my heart overflows
River, take me wherever you go
River, o River


River, sweep me far from this place
River, to an ocean of grace
River, where I can look on your face
River, o River

© 2006 Jon Swerens

A Time To Be Born

By Jon Swerens · August 2001

As I drive by the house where I misspent my youth
Now with somebody else living under its roof
An odd feeling of homelessness clutches my soul
Then He says that this house was never my goal

And the earth turns her face to the warmth of the sun
As dark as my night, it lost all its fight
In the light of the dawn
There’s a time for the tears, to remember and mourn
But this is the time to giggle and sing
It’s a time to be born

As the yearbook displays photos from my deep past
All those might-have-been friends, never gave them a chance
The blank stare of my selfishness uncovers my shame
Then He lifts up my head and remembers my name


As I’m kneeling in prayer and my sin marches by
And regret closes in, how I wish it to die
A cold stab of my helplessness pierces my heart
Then I know that His grace has erased every part


©2001 Jon Swerens

And Mary Said

By Jon Swerens · completed April 14, 2001
From Luke 1:46-49

Awaited through centuries of silence
Desired and feared through the years
The Son of the Highest, the promise of God coming near
An angel had finally spoken
The favor of God on one girl
Conceived in her womb there shall be the King of the world

And Mary said, “My soul glorifies
The Lord and my spirit rejoices in Him
For He has been mindful of me in my lowly state
From now on, all generations will look on me and call me blessed
Holy is His Name” (this line last time “Holy, Holy, Holy is His Name”)

The words of the angel still echoed
As she pondered these things in her heart
She was given a glimpse of His grace but only in part
For His glory was hidden within her
And she could not imagine the cross
And she carried the One who would carry the sins of the lost


And just as the Child grew in Mary
As a husband would give to his wife
The Lord overshadows His people and gives them new life
The waiting was worth every minute
Even though it was a thousand lives long
Rejoice as He comes to our rescue and join in her song

As Mary said…

© 2001 Jon Swerens

Blanket of Snow

By Jon Swerens · January 9-10, 2001

The seed doesn’t ask to be frozen in time
The tree doesn’t seek to lie dormant
But as winter winds blow, they are thankful for peace
As they patiently wait for their moment

Sometimes love is a coal that warms the bitter night
Sometimes love is a deep blanket of snow
Sometimes love is a fire that burns the hardest wood
Sometimes love is a deep blanket of snow

There’s a season to climb, there’s a season to slow down
There’s a season to hide from the tempest
There’s a time to go forth, there’s a time to hang back
There’s a time to retreat to the fortress


We shovel and pick through this grace that we curse
And we pray for the ice to be broken
But the sunshine holds back till we breathe in the truth
That all that we need is summer within


©2001 Jon Swerens

Christmas in Our Town

By Jon Swerens · November 2004

An inch of snow and five below
Bundled up against the night
With frozen face we stamp in place
Just to see the glowing lights
Reindeer scenes and evergreens
With mittened hands the crowd applauds
With bulb and cold, our history’s told
We walk the streets our parents’ trod

Bells are rung, stars are hung
And lights are strung around the tree
Hymns are sung unto the One
Who bore our bleak humanity
On Christmas, on Christmas
Christmas, Christmas in our town

The malls are packed, the stores are sacked
As shoppers strain to break the bank
We find the toys, but lose the joys
‘Cause we’ve forgotten whom to thank
But God has spent to His last cent
A precious treasure Heaven poured
For Jesus Christ could pay the price
The richest man could not afford


We pause at last for Christmas past
Simplicity of Babe and creche
We sing the songs, confess our wrongs
As hearts of stone are turned to flesh
And God descends and calls us friends
And grants the presence Jesus gave
We eat His meal and humbly kneel
Before the Son who came to save


© 2004 Jon Swerens

Come To Me

By Jon Swerens

If you are searching for the strength to survive
Afraid to just face the truth that you’re less than alive
If you’ve no feeling in the depths of your soul
Then cling to the Shepherd who makes broken things whole

The Savior says, Come to me
Bring your burdens and come to me
Whatever your sin or the darkness you’re in
You should come to me
The Savior says, Come to me
If you’re weary, then come to me
The times that you fall, they don’t matter at all
If you come to me

If you are doubtful that you really belong
Then heed to the Spirit’s call and prove yourself wrong
‘Cause He’s not conniving for a way to revoke
All the love He has shown us and the promise He spoke


You have no need to fear because He invites you here
He opened the blood-stained door with plenty of room for more
He’s not the God of the big stick, no, He placed His own back under it
He suffered the blows and settled the scores
And died on the cross that should have been yours


Whatever your sin or the darkness you’re in
You should come to me

©2007 Jon Swerens

From Midnight to Daylight

By Jon Swerens · July 16, 2003

Suddenly, a splash of sunlight
Is bleaching through and reaching through my eyelids
I feel my skin, the gray is fading
I’m sensing it’s commencing into feeling
Surprisingly, the scent of summer
Is breaking in, awakening my nostrils
I hear my name, a whispered shouting
It’s waking me and taking me to morning

I am taken from midnight to daylight
I am trading my dirge for a dance

My mind’s eye sees my dear two sisters
They went to Him, they sent for Him to come now
They wait and pray and watch my passing
They carry me and bury me at sundown
Despondently, my sisters’ mourning
They’re sleeping in and weeping in my pillow
They hear my voice, they stare in wonder
The doubt is gone, they’re shouting from their window

Chorus x2

Certainly, the fear of dying
Was haunting me and taunting me from childhood
But gradually, the sweetest friendship
Was reaching me and teaching me of mercy
I see His eyes, His cheeks are tear-stained
I wonder why He would cry, still knowing
But pardon me, I see He’s leaving
I only know, where’er He goes, I’m going

Chorus x2

Suddenly, a splash of sunlight
Is bleaching through and reaching through my eyelids

©2004 Jon Swerens

Hanging on His Word

By Jon Swerens · Nov. 25, 2001 · Based on Luke 19:47-48

They followed Him around the sea
This wondrous Teacher, strong yet meek
They followed Him across the cityscapes and wilderness
Just for a chance to hear Him speak
He preached the living Word to them as though He had authority
He told the people they were dead, but they could live again
And told the captive to run free

They were hanging on His word, the sweetest sound they’d ever heard
Feasting on His bread and drinking of His cup
They were hanging on His word

And as He leveled all conceit, the proud and arrogant would seethe
They swore and swore again to kill Him for His insolence
The more the people would believe
Despite His enemies’ disdain, He never called for His retreat
He cleared the temple of the hypocrite and charlatan
Then taught the people at His feet


As His disciples stopped and stared, He told them of His coming death
He called Himself a Shepherd sacrificing for His sheep
Until He drew His final breath
Hoisted high upon the hill, His people gaining from His loss
The only heir to ever die for His inheritance
This crowning glory of the cross

He was hanging on His word, the sweetest sound you’ve ever heard
The breaking of the bread, the draining of the cup
He was hanging on His word
We are hanging on His word, the sweetest sound we’ve ever heard
Feasting on His bread and drinking of His cup
We are hanging on His word, we are hanging on His word

©2001 Jon Swerens

I Love This Road

By Jon Swerens · September 6-25, 2003

Slanted beams of early dawn filter through the forest
Scent of spruce and fallen rain softly speaks in cool mist
Every night the moon more full, every day less clouded
Every word more understood and Your face less shrouded

The light grows clearer
As I draw nearer
My God grows dearer
I love this road
I love this road

Every breath of winter wind sharpened by Your justice
Wakens every weary soul longing for Your presence
Every valley, every knoll, rugged, barren places
Carved by Your unerring hand, flooded with your graces


Every step the way more soft or my feet more hardened
Every thought my mind more pure or my sin more pardoned
Every star becomes a sign, every constellation
Leo’s roar, Orion’s aim point in Your direction


© 2003 Jon Swerens

In the Morning

By Jon Swerens · September 27-29, 2004

As we huddle under streetlights
In the ever-present gloom
Planting flowers by the roadside
Wond’ring if they’ll ever bloom
So we watch the east horizon
See a single golden thread
Hope springs up and we look forward
To the day our fears have fled
In the morning, in the morning

Living lives of mud and charcoal
Dull despite what we intend
We’re compressed to pearl and diamond
By the sorrow Jesus sends
In the company of angels
In the presence of the saints
From this palette of dark colors
See the brightness our God paints
In the morning, in the morning

Charging to the dragon’s lair
All to free the prisoners there
All the friends who have deplored Him
He lay down his claim to light
Walked into the jaws of night
Keeping joyfulness before Him
Knowing joyfulness would join Him
In the morning, in the morning

Every candle in the darkness
A reminder of the flame
That will burn the spangled heavens
That will thunder with His Name
And our enemies are scattered
As they’re blinded by the sun
And the very earth rejoices
When it sees our Bridegroom come
In the morning, in the morning

© 2004 Jon Swerens

Relentless Love

By Jon Swerens · July 9, 2003

When I was far away
You would bridge the distance
Carry me for days
When I was underground
You would drill through bedrock
Till the lost is found

And you came through fields of land mines
And you saw my hedge of doubt
And you conquered every front line
You sought me, bought me, caught me by your love
Relentless love

I could not take a stand
All the stone I quarried
Wobbled on the sand
I could not free my hand
From the gold I plundered
From the trap I planned


You did not wait for me
To request a pardon
Or to cop a plea
You did not hesitate
To besiege my fortress
Cannonball the gate


© 2003 Jon Swerens

Second Childhood

By Jon Swerens · June 1999-March 2000

Lemonade days and firefly evenings
And kick-the-can played under streetlight
In sepia tones our minds hold the snapshots
And dwell in the sweetness of hindsight
And dwell in the sweetness of hindsight

And we long for the days when our eyes are ablaze
With the sight of another neighborhood
When we all are mature and we play on the shore
In our second childhood

The joints of our souls are stiff from inertia
We creak from the weight of our daydreams
To run in the fields, to splash in the gullies
To dance unafraid in the moonbeams
To dance unafraid in the moonbeams


And we think we’re so strong and we don’t get along
With our peers, but tomorrow will solve
All our petty vignettes and our painful regrets
The rain will dissolve all their resolve

Will we withdraw to the cells that once held us
Or will we rejoice under blue skies
And sing a new song of the freedom Christ granted
Will we grow up and be childlike?
Will we grow up and be childlike?


© 2000 Jon Swerens

The Sins of the World

By Jon Swerens · June-October 1999

Forever in time, forever in space
Forever fixed before our eyes
A picture of sin, a picture of grace
A picture of a great divide

Behold, strung between the earth and Heaven
Behold, abandoned by His own Eleven
As creation goes astray, as Creator turns away
He is taking away the sins of the world

Humanity’s sin, humanity’s debt
Humanly impossible to pay
Divinity’s sun, divinity’s death
Divinely paves a narrow way

Behold what your efforts have begotten
Behold why you’d rather them forgotten
As creation goes astray, as Creator turns away
He is taking away the sins of the world


Behold the One who mouthed your existence
Behold the One who offered no resistance
As creation goes astray, as Creator turns away
He is taking away the sins of the world

A picture of sin, a picture of grace
A picture of a great divide

© 2000 Jon Swerens

Still Beautiful

By Jon Swerens · Sept. 30, 2006

What if no one believes? What if no one perceives?
What if everyone leaves at the sound of His voice?
What if nobody fears? What if nobody hears?
If they plug up their ears like it’s nothing but noise?

The Word of God is still beautiful
The Word of God, still beautiful

What if everyone hates? What if everyone fakes?
What if everyone takes just the parts that they like?
What if they break the rules and establish the schools?
Teach a nation of fools that darkness is light?

The Word of God is still beautiful
The Word of God, still beautiful

What if every setback were an utter defeat?
Could we rest in the promise it’s all under His feet?

What if Christians behave as if Christ couldn’t save
Unless they become slaves to the law that oppressed?
What if grace were passé and a shackle the way
To show how we obey and deserve to be blessed?

The Word of God is still beautiful
The Word of God, still beautiful

©2006 Jon Swerens


By Jon Swerens · August 7-10, 2002

Every morning would be the same, bright’ning sky after pouring rain
My heart expectant of pastel hue just for the prospect of seeing you
No horizon would dare delay the promise of your quick’ning ray
I’d raise my head and warm my face and bask in your consuming grace

Like a sunflower
And your face would be my light
You would chase me from the night and toward the blue
Like a sunflower
You would race across the skies
I would trace you with my eyes and be with you

Life with all of its ups and downs; I’d give them up for a golden crown
Grays are all that I’ve ever seen; I’d be arrayed in yellow and green
I’d see the end of my timeless toil rooted in the richest soil
My eyes would never be cold as stone, my feet would never be far from home


Then one evening, an autumn chill, frosted pattern on windowsill
Seed and stem tumble to the ground still confident I will be found
By the one who will always shine, by the one who is always mine
Come the spring, I’ll be raised anew with thousands more adoring you


©2002 Jon Swerens

We Simply Forgot

By Jon Swerens · September 2006

We promised our lives, we promised our gifts
And everything short of the moon
We entered the race then slackened our pace
It seems that we rested too soon

Father, remind us how quickly we tend to forget, with little regret
Father, forgive us for giving ourselves incompletely, and so weakly

I guess we got hooked on a fat pocketbook
And the treasures and trinkets it bought
We heard what You said but we’ve been so well fed
That it seems we simply forgot

With lips that tell lies and with covetous eyes
And with hands over unbroken hearts
We pledge to obey and in less than a day
Our faithfulness crumbles apart

Father, remind us how often we sink in defeat and beat a retreat
Father, forgive us for thinking we still deserve credit, we don’t get it

We tend to lose track ’cause we’re not looking back
At the parables You always taught
The stuff we ignore when we’re keeping the score
Are the words we simply forgot

So Father we thank You for telling us frankly
That thoughtlessness mars all we do
The only things You have forgotten
Are all of the times we forgot about You

You laid down your life, You laid down Your gifts
And you captured each one that You sought
We’re acting like squatters but we’re sons and daughters of You
We simply forgot

©2006 Jon Swerens

Who I Am

By Jon Swerens · June 2004

Take my pictures from the wall
Scrub my memory from the hall
Strip the world of all I’ve done
I remain my Father’s son

Who I am is bound in Him
And His broken flesh is now my closest kin
Who I am, His flesh and bone
And He names me and He claims me as His own
It’s who I am

I had spit upon the face
That would offer endless grace
I had walked away alone
From the One who took me home


Leave each hindrance on the ground
Seek the everlasting crown
Trust the promise of the Lord
That all good things will be restored


©2004 Jon Swerens

Widow Moon

By Jon Swerens · February 2004

The lady slowly whispers over the landscape
The winter clouds a veil across her face
She sighs a knowing sigh and slides through the darkness
And keeps her distance as she keeps her pace

Widow moon, the sun will rise
So wash your face and dry your eyes
The night will fly before high noon
The sun will rise, widow moon

The lady wears a shawl of midnight and sorrow
But darkest dark reveals a pinpoint light
The grace of heaven filters down to the valleys
The stars are luminaries of His might


Beyond the stars, a city glows in the glory
The sun will fade from view against its light
The moon will bask within the beams of the earthshine
The earth will chase the shadow from the night


© 2004 Jon Swerens