Song "Awakening" by Chris Tomlin, uncertain about meaning

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by juergen77, Nov 14, 2014.

  1. Hi,

    I'm from Stuttgart, Germany, and German is my first language. So please excuse my imperfect English. I'll try my best.

    I have a question about a song we sometimes sing at our church. The reason why I ask you about it: It's an English song and I'm not sure what the meaning of the lyrics is. I hope the native speakers here with a little knowledge of English grammar are able to help me easily. The song is called "Awakening", and I think it was written by Chris Tomlin (?). Presumably, many of you know that song. The chorus begins with the following words:

    "For You and You alone
    Awake my soul
    Awake my soul and sing"

    I don't understand whether he is talking to God or to his soul. And I don't want to sing that song at church if I don't understand the meaning.



    To let you understand more precisely what I don't understand, I'll try to explain which possible meanings I am able to see:

    (1) "for" is a preposition, "you" = God, "awake" is imperative, "soul" is direct object: The singer requests God to awake his soul. The problem: After that the singer also requests God to sing. This makes no sense to me.

    (2) "for" is a preposition, "awake" is imperative, but there are commas missing between "awake" and "my soul". The singer is talking to his soul. He requests/commands it to awake and to sing. But if he's talking to his soul, "you" means his soul. So he'd do all this for his soul and his soul alone, but not for God? That makes no sense either.

    (3) The singer is talking to God in the first line ("For You and You alone"), then suddenly turns toward his soul and asks it to awake and sing. Very complicated and inconsistent. How could anyone know that?

    (4) The first "awake" is not imperative (but subjunctive?), it's an inversion (is that allowed in English?), and the last line is a separate sentence (imperative and missing comma). So it means: "for God (for whom?) and for God alone my soul might awake. (now toward the soul: ) Awake, my soul, and sing!". Even more complicated interpretation and perhaps forbidden by grammar (?).

    (5) "for" is a conjunction (like in "for he's a jolly good fellow"). The first "awake" is indicative mood. "you" is subject and means God. The last line again is a separate sentence. So the singer tells God that he (God) awakes his (the singer's) soul. Then the singer turns toward his soul and asks it to awake (although God has already awoken it) and sing. Again, complicated and improbable.


    Perhaps the true meaning is much simpler but I can't see it. Can you please explain it to me?

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. It is much simpler .

    The "You" both times starts off with a capitalized "Y". This means he is speaking/singing to God.
     
  3. I think its is ambiguous and that it uses "poetic licence". Even though English is my only language, I can't do the parts of speech like you. I would however suggest:

    Lines 1 & 2: Only You [God] can awaken my soul.
    Line 3. (A request to God) Awaken my soul and [let me] sing.
     
    Silk and JG27_chili say Amen and like this.
  4. Herzlich Willkommen!

    I wouldn't place too much into the format of the words because they're meant to be sung. The idea of the song is to awake from the sleep of sin:

    Romans 13:11 (Luther 1912)
    Und weil wir solches wissen, nämlich die Zeit, dass die Stunde da ist, aufzustehen vom Schlaf (sintemal unser Heil jetzt näher ist, denn da wir gläubig wurden;

    Time is too short to waste on the things of this world, but we cannot do this, only God can order our steps.

    Psalms 119:133 (Luther 1912)
    Lass meinen Gang gewiss sein in deinem Wort und lass kein Unrecht über mich herrschen.

    I hope this helps. :)
     
    Silk likes this.
  5. I did read your post and I opened up another site where I listened to the song and could read the lyrics, but sadly I didn't have anything to offer that might assist you in your questions. I just wanted you to know that I wasn't ignoring your inquiry.

    I hope the other post here help you and I'm glad your're here and posting. Welcome.
     
    Silk likes this.
  6. Your third option makes the most sense, but there should probably be commas for clarification:

    "For You and You alone awake my soul.
    Awake, my soul, and sing."

    Clearer punctuation would help, but contextually, this is what I would assume is the most apparent reading. Suddenly altering the object is not uncommon in poetry, and sometimes clarity is lost for rhythm/convenience/effect, so you have to rely on context.
     
    Silk likes this.
  7. At any rate, what a poem/song/work "means" varies depending on lots of factors. What "it means" is probably far less important, in terms of your conscience, than what you mean while you are singing it.

    If you can't sing it with a clean conscience, then don't sing it.

    If I were singing it, this is what I would mean: I want to feel more passion for ministry, and I acknowledge that only God can make that happen in me.
     
    Silk likes this.
  8. Here are the words [if it's the correct song]

    CHRIS TOMLIN LYRICS

    "Awakening"

    In our hearts, Lord, in this nation
    Awakening
    Holy Spirit, we desire
    Awakening

    For You and You alone
    Awake my soul, awake my soul and sing
    For the world You love
    Your will be done, let Your will be done in me

    In Your presence, in Your power
    Awakening
    For this moment, for this hour
    Awakening

    For You and You alone
    Awake my soul, awake my soul and sing
    For the world You love
    Your will be done, let Your will be done in me

    For You and You alone
    Awake my soul, awake my soul and sing
    For the world You love
    Your will be done, let Your will be done in me

    Like the rising sun that shines
    From the darkness comes a light
    I hear Your voice and this is my
    Awakening

    Like the rising sun that shines
    From the darkness comes a light
    I hear Your voice and this is my
    Awakening

    Like the rising sun that shines
    Awake my soul, awake my soul and sing
    From the darkness comes a light
    Awake my soul, awake my soul and sing

    Like the rising sun that shines
    Awake my soul, awake my soul and sing
    Only You can raise a life
    Awake my soul, awake my soul and sing



    Here's a google translate (I don't know how accurate it is so...) :

    In unseren Herzen, Herr, in dieser Nation
    Erwachen
    Heiliger Geist, wir wünschen
    Erwachen

    Für Sie und Sie allein
    Awake meine Seele, meine Seele wach und singen
    Für die Welt Sie lieben
    Dein Wille geschehe, Dein Wille sich an mir erfüllt

    In Ihrer Gegenwart, in Ihrer Macht
    Erwachen
    Für diesen Moment, für diese Stunde
    Erwachen

    Für Sie und Sie allein
    Awake meine Seele, meine Seele wach und singen
    Für die Welt Sie lieben
    Dein Wille geschehe, Dein Wille sich an mir erfüllt

    Für Sie und Sie allein
    Awake meine Seele, meine Seele wach und singen
    Für die Welt Sie lieben
    Dein Wille geschehe, Dein Wille sich an mir erfüllt

    Wie die aufgehende Sonne, die scheint
    Aus dem Dunkel kommt ein Licht
    Ich höre deine Stimme und das ist mein
    Erwachen

    Wie die aufgehende Sonne, die scheint
    Aus dem Dunkel kommt ein Licht
    Ich höre deine Stimme und das ist mein
    Erwachen

    Wie die aufgehende Sonne, die scheint
    Awake meine Seele, meine Seele wach und singen
    Aus dem Dunkel kommt ein Licht
    Awake meine Seele, meine Seele wach und singen

    Wie die aufgehende Sonne, die scheint
    Awake meine Seele, meine Seele wach und singen
    Nur Sie können ein Leben erhöhen
    Awake meine Seele, meine Seele wach und singen
     
    Silk and dUmPsTeR say Amen and like this.
  9. Hi.

    I want to thank you all for your contributions and the time you've spent! Now I understand the solution isn't totally obvious for you either.

    There's no broad agreement on the exact meaning yet, but nevertheless we learned that "You" must refer to God and clearer punctuation would be helpful. I also fully accept poetic license as an excuse for being less strict with grammar.

    I agree that it's more important what <<I>> mean while I'm singing the song, even if it's not exactly what the author intended. And that I shouldn't sing it without meaning anything.

    During the next weeks I'm going to ask people in my church what they mean while they are singing the song.




    Side notes: Google Translate isn't good at poetry. Its German translation is amusing.

    Sorry for my own probably bad punctuation, I never learned all the English punctuation rules at school, so I use a mixture of German rules and guessing...
     
    Silk, Abdicate and boltardy says Amen and like this.
  10. You did great :)
     
    boltardy likes this.

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