Words by John Thornburg, 2014
Musical Setting 1 by Jackson Henry, 2014
Musical Setting 2 by Jim Strathdee, 1998
United Methodist hymn writer and pastor John Thornburg has written an unconventional hymn text. First, it is written without rhyme. Second, it has a distinctively casual, vernacular feel to it, quite conversational, almost telling a story. Yet, it is not lacking in theological depth. The three stanzas contain plenty of theological substance for contemplation, discussion, class teaching, and sermonizing. The author writes of this text, "I wrote the poem to remind myself of the several ways I slip into making salvation into something I accomplish. I was hoping to offer the reader/singer a chance to consider her or his own tendency to fall into these temptations, and then to rest in the confident assurance that it is God who saves."
The two musical settings are quite different. Jackson Henry's WE TRIED is reflective, perhaps even slightly melancholy, certainly thoughtful. Jim Strathdee's POXON is more regular, sharing some of the same vernacular informality found in the text.