Sammy Horner: Looking at the message of "Free"

Saturday 1st June 1991

In our regular series, a composer of a praise and worship song explains the message of one of his songs. This month SAMMY HORNER of Celtic roots band the Electrics explains the thinking and theology behind the song "Free" featured on the Electrics' soon-to-be-released 'Visions And Dreams' album.

Sammy Horner
Sammy Horner

Often when I'm out and about working with kids and teenagers I come across a kind of oil-slick view of the important things, getting blown every way and broken up by the first storm that happens along. A lot of it has to do with the teaching that goes on in our churches that leaves people walking around with guilt problems, often about things that are silly, things they should know they've been forgiven for. I wrote "Free" to address this issue - to let people know about the kind of freedom God has on offer.

The idea came from Hosea and the story of his life...having a wife who was a whore and whom he loved deeply. She kept running off and sleeping with other men and Hosea kept on reaching out to her - going out to get her and bring her back, just like God and his people. I believe that God comes to make us effective, free from silly things that hold us down 'by the power of him who lives in me'. Once we start to take that in and realise that God first of all takes us as we are and then continues to be there and picks us up again and again, then the quality of our lives are improved and we can start to improve the quality of life for others. Take Zacchaeus-once he realised he was forgiven - free, then he started to effect the lives of those around him because he gave so much more back.

We tend to tie ourselves down with guilt over things that we have no power to change anyway, to take an extreme example - if I get someone pregnant, and the baby is born - that can no-longer be changed. What can be changed (by God's power) is the way of life that caused that problem. People have this idea of God as a cosmic skin-head who is out to ruin our lives - "don't volunteer to go as a missionary to Bongo Bongo land because God might choose you!" As if the father who loves us and keeps on reaching out to us again and again would not give us the desires of our hearts when we're prepared to do what he wants.

God's not like some of our friends who can remember all those embarrassing moments that we'd like to bury! He's got the ability to blot out those ink spots completely and they don't affect our relationship with him anymore. In fact the day of judgement is going to be like a marriage - I wasn't ashamed of my wife when she walked up the aisle, and God will not be ashamed of us because he has the power to set us 'free'.

Words and music by Sammy Horner

I will be free, I shall be free
By the power of him, who lives in me
I will be free, I shall be free
By the power of him, who lives in me

And if I should ever stumble and fall
And if I should slip away
And if my life makes no sense at all
I still will know that you can save

I will be free, I shall be free etc

And if I should ever take my chances
And if I should cheat on you
And if I should flirt with worthless romances
I still will know that you'll be true

I will be free, I shall be free etc.

©1991 Full Circle Music CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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