Behind The Lyrics
In one way or another, we can all relate to a song’s lyrics. Perhaps, it’s because a line or two easily connects us with a memory, be it happy or otherwise.
Or maybe it’s because it resonates a truth about our lives — or life in general for that matter — that is both relatable and undeniable.
For Bro. Eli however, no truth could sound sweeter behind the songs he loved than that of the Holy Scriptures.
And so here is a compilation of the songs that have struck a musical and biblical chord in Bro. Eli’s ears and heart. See Behind the Lyrics.
A Little Kindness
A cup of drink to hand, a piece of bread to give
A dark day becomes brightened, a weary heart relieved
How small but genuine gestures can weigh and mean much more
For a little warmth of kindness can save a kindred soul
Julie Andrews & Bill Lee
Music and Lyrics
Carrier Underwood & Stephen Mayer
“Something Good” is an original song written for the first film adaptation of the classic musical play “The Sound of Music”, which tells the love story among the household governess Maria Kutschera, her employer Captain George Von Trapp, the Captain’s children, and the thing that bonded them all — music.
The play debuted on Broadway in 1959, while the movie version, starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer as the lead actors, had its first cinematic release in 1965. Playback singer Bill Lee voiced over Plummer for the singing parts of the film.
The song was featured in a scene between Maria and the Captain confessing their love for each other inside a dimly lit gazebo. As a sort of realization of the good fortune that came her way, Maria broke into the song, singing how she must have done something good in her “wicked and miserable past” to be worthy of Captain Von Trapp’s love.
And it is exactly the song’s conclusive line, “So somewhere in my youth or childhood, I must have done something good”, that Bro. Eli found noteworthy, so to speak, as he related it to the importance of doing acts of love to other people.
He cited Matthew 25:34-40 in his preaching, where it speaks about the Lord Jesus Christ welcoming to the kingdom of God those who have done something good — even a small act like giving a cup of water to drink to one of His brethren.
Feeding the hungry, providing shelter to the homeless — these are among the many charitable endeavors pursued by Bro. Eli and the Members Church of God International to this day, with God’s help, because these acts of love and mercy are enough for people to merit the bliss of Paradise.
‘Tween the shadows of the trees and the radiance of the lamps
Two lovers kissed as the leaves and lights danced
In the dark of one night and the void of a park
Romance found its footing and love its new start
The Second Time Around
Sammy Cahn (Lyrics)
Jimmy Van Heusen (Music)
This classic was originally recorded by American singer, actor, and songwriter Bing Crosby.
Come 1961 however, it played a special role in the life of another master crooner: Frank Sinatra.
In fact, Sinatra officially launched his own record company Reprise on February 13, 1961 with this very song.
It talks about the sweetness of finding love’s second chance — one of the many topics of concern that people asked Bro. Eli for the Bible’s answers.
“The patch that can be used to cover the tear or repair the damage done by infidelity is fidelity. The patch of fidelity is love,” wrote the Sinatra fan on his blog.
Falling out of love towards a person, or to part ways with a loved one may be very painful and heartbreaking. But Bro. Eli argued that if time can mend a broken heart, all the more that God’s power can do it.
And hence from the lyrics of this sublime song comes the title of his biblical blog, “Love is Lovelier the Second Time Around — With God”. Indeed.
Grander Than Grand
A horse, a yacht, fine jewelry, the moon and stars above
Some ask for such and count them as proofs of care and love
But pray for me each night and day, kiss me, hold my hand
For darling it’s the little things that are grander than the grand
Little Things Mean a Lot
Richard Edith Lindeman (Lyrics)
Carl Stutz (Music)
Cliff Richard and The Shadows
Many consider that the 1954 recording of “Little Things Mean a Lot” is the greatest solo musical achievement of American pop singer Kitty Kallen.
Kallen passed away in 2016, and throughout her singing career that withstood the Swing era, post-World War 2 pop scene, and early Rock ‘n Roll, her rendition of this song is probably what she will always be remembered for. In particular, it is how her soft, young voice finely complemented the sweet lyrics written by Edith Lindeman and Carl Stutz.
The song is an ode to how it is actually the little things that couples do for each other that mean more than the material things that even come with a hefty price tag.
It is the song’s resounding line and title that Bro. Eli used in his preaching, primarily, to remind married couples that they should still do the little things they did when they were still courting each other to help keep the sweetness of their love alive.
The song is also a reminder to everyone that love should be expressed, and doing so does not require spending a certain amount of money. It can be expressed in simple ways like helping someone carry a load, opening a door, or even smiling to lift a heavy feeling.
As the song says:
Blow me a kiss from across the room
Say I look nice when I’m not
Touch my hair as you pass my chair
Little things mean a lot
Indeed, little things mean a lot.
Above the Stars
Amidst an earthquake’s chaos or a tempest’s blaring noise
Above the stars there’s Someone who’ll hear a timid voice
For He who can move mountains and silence raging seas
Has ears for a heart’s whisper of someone who believes
Al Stillman (music and lyrics)
“I Believe” was penned in 1953 by Ervin Drake, Irvin Graham, Jimmy Shirl, and Al Stillman as the Korean War raged on just a few years after the Second World War ended in 1945.
Wanting to instill optimism to the masses, American singer and actress Jane Froman commissioned the song and released it on her own television show.
In the same year, Frankie Laine recorded his version, which is hailed today as the most commercially successful and most popular.
And among the song’s eight lines, these lyrics are the ones that made an impression on Bro. Eli because they are consistent with what the Bible teaches:
Bro. Eli said that God doesn’t need many words nor loud speeches to hear what the heart of a believer wishes to say. He also pointed out the biblical fact that God understands even what humans can express only in tears.
So long that a prayer is said in faith and love, no violent storm or raging sea can hinder the loving Father in heaven from hearing the prayer of someone who believes.
Paper, ink, and words imbued with a lover’s soul
Filled with love and devotion, his emotions he did pour
A hundred miles between them, she hears his voice in every line
Though far apart, she feels their hands and hearts entwined
Edward Heyman (Lyrics)
Victor Young (Music)
Nat King Cole
The song was first heard in the 1945 American film noir of the same name, which portrays the love story of a man and an amnesiac woman in the midst of the second World War.
Dick Haymes’s original version was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1945. Soon after, it was followed by many other chart-topping covers by esteemed singers such as Ketty Lester, Alison Moyet, Nat King Cole, Tony Bennet, and Elvis Presley.
Today, love letters may just be some form of sentimental gift to a special someone. But before the age of digital communication, handwritten letters were the only way for two lovers to talk to each other and bridge the long distance that separates them.
Commanded by God to be manually written by His servants of old and the apostles in the first century, the Bible can be considered as a love letter from God, according to Bro. Eli.
It contains His words of love and admonitions that are intended for His people to read and follow.
And the same way that love letters connect two lovers far apart from each other, the Bible also keeps us close and connected to the Almighty God even with the vast distance between heaven and earth.