BEHIND THE SONG WITH KEVIN DAVIS
#309 "When Love Was Slain" by Jennie Lee Riddle
The songwriter of "Revelation Song" and "When The Stars Burn Down" shares the inspiration behind her first single from her upcoming worship collaboration, People & Songs: Opus 1.
 


We have become familiar with Jennie Lee Riddle’s songwriting through the voices of Kari Jobe, Phillips Craig & Dean, Selah, NewSong, Trica Brock, Newsboys, Travis Cottrell, Rebecca St. James, Shane & Shane, and JJ Heller to name a few. Now, Jennie Lee Riddle, top five CCLI writer, two time Dove Award winner, and author of the worship anthems “Revelation Song" and "When The Stars Burn Down" is opening up to share more of her heart and life with us. 
 
"When Love Was Slain" is the first single from the upcoming project, People & Songs, Opus 1 Collective. The song features the vocals of New Nation Music Band which consists of three main worship leaders who all lend their voices to the sound. Husband and wife team, Crystal & Will Yates and Jennie Lee Riddle; Crystal sings most of the lead vocals, Will directs the band and Jennie teaches and writes the majority of the songs. 
 
Jennie founded New Nation Music out of a desire to write scripture-based doctrine upon the heart and mind of the church. Motivated by a desire to cultivate unity and authentic respect in the family of God, New Nation Music Band travels throughout the churches inviting all age groups to join together to lift one voice as one Bride to One King. Visit http://www.peopleandsongs.com to discover more.
 
The full length debut album People & Songs: Opus 1 Collective releases Tuesday, May 8th. I had the great opportunity to interview Jennie Lee Riddle about her current single “When Love Was Slain” which features Crystal Yates. 
 
Please tell me about the background in writing the song "When Love Was Slain." 
 
I remember the afternoon the Holy Spirit beckoned me into my living room with the sound of Crystal singing the words “this world is not my home” over and over and over. Her voice rang through the house with peaceful resolve—a sweet mixture of the finality of death and newness of resurrection. Crystal and her family had just moved into our home from Florida and had left behind everything they had known to obey God’s call. In her voice, I heard the passing of old and embracing of things new. That resonated so strongly in my heart, having again made all the adjustments that come with moving a family in to live. We were both ripe for the truth that God brought to our collective home that day. His peace and presence was obvious. Scripture came alive and the “Word made flesh” dwelled with us by His Spirit at my old piano in that moment. We rejoiced that “our home’s been made at heaven’s throne,” where we are sealed with Christ Jesus Himself and reign with Him as sons, daughters and co-heir  royalty. We possess everything in Christ and nothing is ours, all at the same time. Everything pales in light of Christ Himself.

The second verse sings “this life is not my own, I am His and His alone.” That cross was fashioned for each of us and suffered by our Lord and Savior, Jesus that He might free us to be slaves to Freedom! What a beautiful oxymoron and present reality! We are no longer slaves to this world but children over it because Jesus arose and raised us with Him! We, the ransomed Bride, once had the dowry price of blood hanging over our head. Our former master demanded the absolute highest price to release us. For Love’s sake, our Groom, Jesus, paid with every last drop until He fully won the legal right to us. The price to free us from captivity was negotiated long before our Love approached us with the cup and asked us to be His.
 
Which Bible verses are connected to the message of the song?

John 8:35-36: Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
 
1 Peter 2:24: He himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; By His wounds you have been healed.
 
1 Corinthians 6:20: For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.
 
John 14:2In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
 
How can Christians apply that message as they reflect on this song?
 
Jesus, the Lamb of God, was slain from the foundations of the world. “When Love Was Slain,” the dowry price was paid in full and the marriage covenant was established. In the Hebrew culture of Jesus’ time, it was customary for the parents of a young bride and groom to arrange a marriage and negotiate an agreeable bridal price, sometime when the couple were mere infants. When the groom’s father decided the couple had reached the sufficient maturity and the time had come for the formal betrothal season, a simple ceremony would commence. The father would give the son a precious cup. The groom would then hand the bride this cup, awaiting to see if she returned his affection. If the bride put the cup to her lips and drank of the wine, signifying agreement, the joyful wait began. The groom would bestow to her the most extravagant gifts his family could afford and would care for her material needs during the betrothal season. Betrothal marked the end of childhood and singleness, and began a legally binding season of anticipation of life together in marriage.

This traditional bitter sweet season was one of separation and preparation, usually a year to two years long. “I go to prepare a place for you” as Jesus said, reflects that time when the bride to be would joyfully work on her dress as the groom would construct their dwelling. Once the father became satisfied that the home was suitable and knew the bride’s dress was fully prepared, gleaming white, and without spot or wrinkle, he would be the one that announced it was time for the formal marriage ceremony. At this point the groom would gather the wedding party, with shouts and trumpets and celebration to go and “kidnap” the bride. Because it was customary for this grand parade to occur at night, the bride was to keep her lamps burning at all times to signify her readiness and eager waiting for her groom, to take her “soon, very soon.”
 
Here are the lyrics:

This world is not my home
This world is not my home
My home’s been made at heaven’s throne
This world is not my home

This life is not my own
This life is not my own
I am His and His alone
This life is not my own

Chorus:
I was bought when love was slain
What high cost to pay death’s wage
Now ransomed, I am freedom’s slave
My Jesus raised me from the grave

Come now and walk with me
Come now and walk with me
Together we our Lord shall meet
Come now and walk with me

Soon Lord, O very soon
Soon Lord, O very soon
You’ll come to take me to be with You
Soon Lord, O very soon

Asbury’s Bible commentary: “On what basis can servants follow the example of Christ? They can because Christ's sufferings are redemptive as well as exemplary. In His suffering, Christ “bore our sins in His body on the tree.” Christ provided a full remedy for the problem of human sin, which otherwise would preclude the possibility of following His example in suffering. Through Christ's suffering we may be through with sins and live for righteousness. Moreover, in the wounds of Christ there is healing for these servants who sustain wounds from unjust suffering.”  “There is ample space in the Father's house, and the purpose of Jesus' journey was to establish a place there for them and to return to take them to be with Him. Even death and its aftermath had a place in the plan. In the words of Nicolaus von Zinzendorf, as translated by John Wesley: “When from the dust of death I rise, To claim my mansion in the skies, Even then, this shall be all my plea, Jesus hath lived, hath died for me. Jesus, Thy Blood and Righteousness.”
 
I absolutely love Jennie Lee Riddle’s songwriting and this beautiful and stirring new song. I really appreciated Jennie’s insight into the song especially as I thought about the biblical truths throughout this song, that “this world is not my home,” and I was bought at a price and “this life is not my own, I am His and His alone.” As we prepare our hearts for Easter, take time this week to reflect on how thankful you are for the gift of Jesus and the moment that He found you and saved you. No matter where you are in your walk with Jesus, this song is a salvation message that causes me to break down and remember that Jesus truly came to die and rose to set us free.  
 
This weekend before Easter, there is nothing we have been given that is more valuable than our salvation. This song moves me to reflect on just how much Jesus endured for His bride to purchase us from the grave. “When Love Was Slain” is about submitting to the Lordship of Jesus over our lives and acknowledging that “I am freedom’s slave.” The case of those that are the servants of sin is sad, but thanks be to God it is not hopeless. You can make the decision to admit you are a sinner, believe that Jesus is the Son of God and came to die as a sinless Savior on our behalf, and choose to make Him the Lord of your life. What a wonderful, loving and gracious God that we serve. I am so thankful to Jesus for saving me. John 8:36 says, “If the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.” Amen to that!

NRT Lead Contributor Kevin Davis is a longtime fan of Christian music, an avid music collector and credits the message of Christian music for leading him to Christ. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and three daughters.

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