River’s Gonna Rise Up


“River’s Gonna Rise Up” was written at the request of the On Earth Peace organization to serve as the theme song for the 2010 International Day of Prayer for Peace. Visionary artist Kay Guyer made the accompanying video.

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When I sat down to work on this song, I remember strongly feeling that words weren’t enough, that wishful thoughts and prayers weren’t enough — because the conflicts in our world and our society always reflect much deeper unhealed injustices.  So the song has a very sober, realistic chorus:

We cry “peace, peace, peace”
But there is no peace.
Lord, forgive us,
We know not what we do.

Till the cries for justice have been answered
“Peace” will be an empty word.

But!, the song ends with a motivating vision:

So make it real,
Make it something you can feel.
Look up higher,
For something cool to quench the fire.
Let the raindrops fall in the form of prayer,
Let the rivers rise in the deeds we dare:

River’s gonna rise up,
Rain’s gonna fall.

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