On Palm Sunday this year, Fox put on an amazing rendition of The Passion set in New Orleans, LA. However, this version was a little different than your typical “Jesus movie.” The Passion Live was hosted by Tyler Perry and featured an all star cast including: Jencarlos as Jesus Christ, Chris Daughtry as Judas, Prince Royce as Peter, Seal as Pontius Pilate, Trisha Yearwood as Mary, and many more. This was a live performance and was performed on both a stage, different areas around New Orleans, and even on a rooftop. It was also set in modern day instead of the assumed year Jesus died over 2000 years ago, so you could see the disciples wearing jeans and flannels.
What made this special so different than other productions about Jesus is that the songs were not religious songs. The songs the cast performed were modern songs that we’ve heard on the radio. These included “I Won’t Give Up” by Jason Mraz, “Home” by Phillip Phillips, “Unconditionally” by Katy Perry, “The Reason” by Hoobastank, and a ton of other hits. My two favorite performances were when Judas (Chris Daughtry) sang “Bring Me to Life” by Evanescence when he was struggling with the decision to betray Jesus and also when Judas and Jesus (Jencarlos) sang “Demons” by Imagine Dragons as Judas was in the act of betraying Jesus.
Ever since watching The Passion Live, I now have a tendency to pick out songs that I think could be lowkey religious when listening to the radio. So, I compiled a list of eleven songs on the radio that I believe may have spiritual meaning.
1. "Coming Home" by Diddy-Dirty Money ft. Skylar Grey
"I'm coming home I'm coming home. Tell the world I'm coming home. Let the rain wash away all the pain of yesterday. I know my kingdom awaits and they've forgiven my mistakes. I'm coming home, I'm coming home. Tell the world that I'm coming... home."
2. "Don't You Worry Child" by Swedish House Mafia
The whole first part of this song has many religious implications. Again, I think this song is about Jesus first coming to Earth and then dying for us, while His Father (God) is reassuring him not to worry because He always has a plan. Especially the line "Upon a hill across a blue lake, that's where I had my first heartbreak." Calvary (where He died) was located on a hill.
"There was a time I used to look into my father's eyes. In a happy home, I was a king, I had a golden throne. Those days are gone."
3. "Wide Awake" by Katy Perry
This song is definitely about someone who has suffered through tough times and felt like they were at rock bottom. The overall message though is that they woke up and realized that there is hope to feel better. I think this song could also include the message that this is someone who is welcoming God into their hearts and realizing that he has a plan. Fun fact: Katy Perry first started her singing career singing religious music, and then she switched to kissing girls.
PS: the glee version is definitely better than the original.
"God knows that I tried seeing the bright side. I'm not blind anymore."
This is one of the songs on his Purpose album but, it hasn't been on the radio yet. Life is Worth Living has such a meaningful message and gives has many references to religious matters such as praying, forgiveness, and God sending an angel to "help us out" and guide us. He also has one line that talks about people trying to crucify him because of the mistakes he made.
"God sent an angel to help you out. He gave you direction showed you how to read a map for that long journey ahead."
5. "Uprising" by Muse
Although it doesn't seem like this song could have any religious meaning because it such an intense rock song, I think you can definitely find some. This song is all about taking control and overcoming obstacles. To me, the lyrics sound like someone who is overcoming the temptations of the devil. The video is a little interesting though, just a warning.
"They will not force us. They will stop degrading us. They will not control us. We will be victorious."
6. "Eyes Open" by Taylor Swift
Let's just compare the lyrics of "Eyes Open" to the Gospel of Matthew real quick.
Taylor Swift: "Even when you're sleeping, sleeping, keep your ey-eyes open
Matthew 25:13: “Stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”
7. "Lay it all on Me" by Rudimental ft. Ed Sheeran
I think the lyrics Ed Sheeran is singing sound very similar to something God would say to His followers. The message to me sounds like God telling his children to let him into their hearts because he will lead us on the right path and always be by our side through out darkest days. He wants us to give him our insecurities, so we are not burdened. Fun fact: I was at the recording studio where they recorded this song in Ireland!
"Let my love in, let my love in, lay your heart on me."
"If you're scared when you're out on your own, just remember me. Cause I won't let you go, let alone, lay it all on me."
8. "Dead And Gone" by T.I. ft. Justin Timberlake
This song could go two ways with religious meaning. It could either be representing the acceptance of God and how we our lost without God's love in our lives or it could be about Jesus dying on the cross and how He sees hatred but sees love when he looks up.
"I turn my head to the East, I don't see nobody by my side. I turn my head to the West, still nobody in sight. So I turn my head to the North swallow that pill that they call pride. That old me is dead and gone but, that new me will be alright."
9. "H.O.L.Y." by Florida Georgia Line
This song is definitely about a girl that is in the singers' lives, however, you can totally twist the meaning to be religious. The lyrics are about finding light in someone on their darkest days and being saved by someone. I mean how could it not be religious if the song is literally called Holy.
"I never meant to cry, started losing hope but, somehow baby you broke through and saved me."
10. "You Found Me" by The Fray
This song is about finding God in your time of sorrow when you feel lost. I think it is about being at the breaking point of giving up on life all together and realizing there is someone who you can turn to when feeling this way.
"I found God on the corner of First and Amistad."
11. "I'll Stand By You" by The Pretenders
The religious meaning in this song could be about God saying to His children that He will always be there by their sides to make them feel better. The lyrics are not about stopping someone from doing something but, about the support that will be provided in hard situations.
"When the night falls on you, you don't know what to do, nothing you confess could make me love you less"