Editor’s Note: “Revelation Song” has been a constant on CCLI’s Top 20 for over a decade. The iPhone recording of the rehearsal for People & Songs‘ new version has over 30 million views (with 20 million coming in the first 2-3 weeks!). We are honored to share the reflections of its writer, Jennie Lee Riddle, and also share some of our own Q-&-A with Jennie.
As I awoke this morning, it was with an unusual amount of grateful joy and an overflowing heart. Today People & Songs releases “Revelation Song” with a version that leaves me undone. Time flies. It turns 20 this year, and I can’t help but reflect on the journey this song and songwriter has taken.
“Revelation Song” has traveled far and wide and has been on the lips of millions of saints carried by artists we all know and love. It has been recorded multiple dozens of times, won awards, “gone gold,” and found its way into hymnals. The Holy Spirit carried it like wind. Now He has carried it to the hearts and mouths of those I love as my very own children.
I will never forget the day I wrote that song. My son Andrew, who also turns 20 this year, was playing at my feet on a blanket. My habit was to use the afternoon for songwriting and Bible study as a means to bless others (cheaper than a hallmark card and more personal); music makes learning so expedient and fun.
On this particular day, however, I was in a bit of a disconcerted funk. It was one of those seasons where I couldn’t get away from myself, and I was thoroughly annoying me. And what I was being required to sing at Church at that time was not helping. I remember telling the Lord that day that I was tired of songs that focused on “me” and asked Him if we could write something that was all about Him; something that filled my eyes, our eyes, with Jesus. The Holy Spirit suggested we write the two passages that had mesmerized me into song; Revelation 4 and Ezekiel 1. I wrote it on guitar (which I really didn’t know how to play), and it originally had 5 verses that I pared down to three. I did not know what to name it, and so I wrote what we now know as the title at the top of my notes to remind me to find a real title. That never happened. It was a sweet time with the Lord. I remember the Lord saying He would carry “Revelation Song” across the earth. I thought this possibly meant my missionary friends would teach it while out in the field. God always means what He says. His words echo long and wide. He asked if He could have it. I said yes. And He gave it to the Church.
I never could have imagined the trajectory and scope the Lord had in mind.
This version that People & Songs has released has made it new all over again for me. It is the most honoring and special thing I could imagine in all the world. I didn’t ask for it, it was a gift. It gives me fresh vision to see Jesus with all over again as I see Him through the eyes of those I love. This anointed recording was captured at the one-year anniversary of our grand opening of our miracle headquarters in LaPorte, IN at our first annual “Turn Up The Lights” festival. I’m truly overwhelmed by God’s faithfulness.
I look forward to worshiping together with you, who have also become so dear. We’ve read all of your comments. We’ve prayed for you. We will stand before Him together. Until that day, let’s lift up our voices as one to the only One worthy! Holy, Holy, Holy is He!
Jennie Lee Riddle
Q-&-A Follow Up
CCLI: Jennie, the simple iPhone vocal rehearsal video for the new version of “Revelation Song” has been viewed over 30 million times in 3 months. Your thoughts?
Well, we certainly didn’t strategize the iPhone video release with the thought it would reach that far. I’m glad we didn’t. That too is grace. We were simply worshipping through our vocal rehearsal in preparation for Turn Up The Lights. David Gentiles grabbed his phone and captured a snippet of our time together. It is astounding to us, and so encouraging as worship leaders, to turn around and discover so many hungry hearts following us from our living room to the Throne. Simply put, all the awesome things that happen, happen in spite of us. That’s God. He keeps us on our toes and running to keep up! He is a wild adventure that we enjoy and respond to with childlike obedience and faith. What we hope and pray is that the overflowing love we have for God and one another would be contagious. We know that in homes across the world, saints will gather and behold Him with no need to be led because Jesus is the well-worn path to the feet of the Father! We can all just boldly enjoy God! Ephesians 3:12, Hebrews 4:16
CCLI: Tell us about People & Songs community.
We are missionaries and vastly different from one another; purposefully multi-denominational, of varying traditions, cultures and generations. We love Jesus and we are learning to love each other as He has asked in John 17. We use the tool of music, community service, and hospitality to preach the Gospel and make disciples. Song-writing is the means by which we study the Word of God, and write it upon our hearts. We love to take God at His Word and obediently act on His promises in faith. Sometimes we gasp for air, sometimes we swim, and sometimes we walk on water. But He is always Emmanuel; God with us. There is not a second where He has not been. He is the wild adventure worth enjoying and spending your life for!
CCLI: Give us a glimpse into your history and what motivates you to serve..
We are just beginning to see the fruit of an almost 30-year patience. In 1988, as newly saved believers in a tiny CFNI church plant in Anchorage, AK, the Lord filled my eyes and I’ve never recovered. We’ve been actively practicing and training throughout our whole married life for the season in which the Church is now entering. What did I see?
I saw a spotless radiant Church made up of every tribe, tongue, generation, denomination, united as one standing, at attention, eagerly waiting the joyful sight of Jesus’ face. The Church wasn’t weak; She was strong! Her head was not hung low; She was standing tall and radiant with a fierce, loving courage. The Church was the hospitality agent of God on the earth. She was His Help-Meet, Friend, Co-Laborer, and Beloved Co-Heir. Everywhere She stepped She made the city glad. She was not afraid of the days to come. She laughed at them, because this world was not Her home. I saw Her as an army; a Band of Saints. I heard Her singing. It was Her joyful response of faith that superseded Her circumstances and called the wanderers home. The sound of Her echoed across the land. The Church moved with grace and ease without need to be led, because Her obedience and responses were so perfectly tuned to Him. I saw the barren places becoming springs and the wastelands becoming flourishing gardens. I saw the rising of the Bride. And I saw a way in which to serve Jesus by serving Her. I would help raise People & Songs to raise People & Songs on repeat.
CCLI: You’ve shared that this vision has changed the way you and Darrin have lived. Tell us about that.
This single vision has informed every song I have ever written, the core of every decision , and the heart of every young leader we’ve attempted to train. It has required we wear the glasses of faith that sees the crooked way made straight when brokenness is staring you in the face. The Lord of the Harvest invited us into the harvest field and it is very ripe. He invited us to yoke up with His other laborers. He suggested we be given to hospitality. He worked in us the heart posture of Abraham in Genesis 18:3. He required idolatry to cease. He beckoned us into a life of service. Into a life of oneness (John 17) and community (Acts 4:32) and sacrificial giving. He formed in us the heart of a steward. He called us to the cross and the empty tomb. He called us to a life of worship. He promised that if we would sow our lives into others we would see the Kingdom come in our midst.
And so we began. We opened up our hearts and home and lives. We’ve faithfully done so for our whole married life.
CCLI: What Now?
For Darrin and I, growing People & Songs has been a long-time habit and joy. We’ve had to formalize and put more structure in place out of pure necessity because there are now so many of us. By faith we took possession in 2016 of the historic Ruth C. Sabin mansion, our debt-free headquarters in La Porte IN. It is home to People & Songs, The Emerging Sound, our 40-week internship program, and our full-time residential missionaries. This is the first of many training/sending/receiving hubs to come for musical missionaries that will reside around the nation.
We hope that the lives we lead and the songs we sing bring Revelation of Christ Jesus. We are grateful to join our voice and heart to the collective Song of the Bride. We will serve until Her own Revelation Song is lifted high echoing across the land, across the crystal sea, to the heavens, encircling the Lamb! Holy, Holy, Holy is He.
If you want to learn more about People & Songs you can visit www.peopleandsongs.com and follow them on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. Their songs can be purchased on iTunes.