"Asleep in the Light" by Keith Green


Keith Green performing live in Estes Park '78

I first heard this song as a seminary student in Romania. Both convicting and musical well-executed, I included its live-performance music video as an intro to a sermon about the importance of missions.


However, one of the services who witnessed the video was a "traditional," post-WWII missiology, Southern Gospel-loving Christians of the rural midwest. Not the type of demographic who would enjoy that music video. I was naive and had no idea.


The rest of the staff wasn't disappointed in me and never brought it up. However, the executive pastor (who spear-headed my hiring) told me that one congregant of that service, who was a singer and particular fan of Bill Gaither, pulled the executive pastor into a booth at a breakfast diner by his sleeve and vented about the music video, telling him to take it and "burn it." (Not the slang for duplicating media onto other formats for proliferating, but the literal burning at least similar to treatment of heretical material).


Suffice to say, this song, with its convicting lyrics, was controversial in its release. It was controversial ten years ago, and it would probably still be controversial today, given how much complacency of the American Church is being exposed in current events. Lyrics below:


Do you see? Do you see? All the people sinking down? Don't you care? Don't you care? Are you gonna let them drown? How can you be so numb Not to care if they come? You close your eyes and pretend the job's done


Oh, bless me Lord, bless me Lord You know, it's all I ever hear No one aches, no one hurts, no one even sheds one tear But He cries, He weeps, He bleeds And He cares for your needs And you just lay back and keep soaking it in Oh, can't you see it's such sin?


'Cause He brings people to your door And you turn them away As you smile and say "God bless you, be at peace" And all heaven just weeps 'Cause Jesus came to your door You've left Him out on the streets


Open up, open up And give yourself away Ya see the need, ya hear the cries So how can you delay? God's calling and you're the one But like Jonah, you run He's told you to speak But ya keep holding it in Oh, can't you see it's such sin?


The world is sleeping in the dark That the church just can't fight 'Cause it's asleep in the light

How can you be so dead When you've been so well fed? Jesus rose from the grave And you, ya can't even get out of bed Oh, Jesus rose from the dead Come on, get out of your bed


How can you be so numb Not to care if they come? You close your eyes and pretend the job's done You close your eyes and pretend the job's done Don't close your eyes, don't pretend the job's done

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