The Story of "I am Free"
Updated: May 26, 2020
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In February 2018 we began the development of a new song intended for use at remembrance services from November 2018 and to mark the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day. We began by considering the people who would sing the song, recognising that individuals attend remembrance services for many different reasons and from different faith backgrounds, some who would say they have no Christian belief at all, but for whom remembering a loved one is greatly important to them.
The lyrics use both “I” and “We”, which although unusual in a song of this genre, is important as it considers a deep personal reflection, which is individual, as well as describing the context of remembering and supporting each other together. The focus of the song is very much about the people feeling a sense of freedom, both physically and spiritually. Its hope is to inspire a collective determination to seek this ‘freedom’ through unity of all people.
From early feedback from church groups and choirs, people have found one phrase in the second verse especially poignant and helpful. “We are gathered all as one, to honour those who have become a reflection in our lives everyday”. People have described how the death of a family member, whether relating to the military or not, creates a daily thought that stops the otherwise continuous flow of life. Often remembering and reflecting is part of our everyday life and some aspects of life are particularly important to us.
For people of Christian faith, the freedom, often described as ‘new life’, is the belief that God sent his son Jesus Christ to die for us, so that we can be forgiven for the things we get wrong. On Armistice Day, also known as Remembrance Day, Christians meet at churches to give thanks for and to remember Jesus dying for us.
The Bible teaches us to surrender to God’s plan for our lives. The concept of ‘surrender’ can appear like a weakness or aspect of negativity. It is a word synonymous with Armistice Day 1918. However, Christians all over the world would describe how this surrender to God actually leads to the greatest sense of spiritual freedom.
Musically, there is a large range of pitch. Some phrases are purposely composed in the lower range to encourage a more reflective, deeper approach. The early part of the bridge especially is intended to be a deep soulful reflection. In contrast, the pitch of the opening lyrics of the chorus “I am free, I am free” is high - it cannot be sung softly. It is intended to be sung loudly and with determination so that others can hear the message of the song.
The sheet music for “We are gathered all as one (I am free)” by Dave & Miriam Lowe is available free here. Please feel free to photocopy, print and share. We want to encourage as many people as possible with this song.