Using contemporary songs to illuminate Scripture and life

Monday, April 19, 2004

"Take Me Down" by Ellis Paul

Connect with Scripture: Psalm 139:1-10,23-24
O LORD, you have searched me
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you know it completely, O LORD.

You hem me in—behind and before;
you have laid your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

Ellis Paul
Today’s Song: “Take Me Down” by Ellis Paul, from the album, Translucent Soul
1. I'm a one man line at the twenty-four hour store
I'm in a town that reminds me of my home town streets
I roamed the aisles a thousand miles from what I was looking for
A familiar face that would smile at me sweetly

(If you)
Take me down
to where I'm whole
Where everybody knows me
deep as a soul can go
If you take me down
I gotta know
Did you really know me,
as a soul can go?

2. We'd drive up the canyon to watch the stars fall down
Watch them turn off the lights on the church down on second street
There's Jack's old man, he's still the only cop in town
He's patrolling the sidewalk on the graveyard beat


And everybody needs a place to call home
A roof over head a bed for dreams of their own
I've never been so lonely as when I told you I was leaving
This time I'm really leaving


© Ellis Paul Music (SESAC) 1998

Ellis Paul: acoustic guitars, harmonica, vocals
Jerry Marotta: drums
Tony Levin: bass
Bill Dillon: loops, electric & acoustic guitars, mandolin
Harvey Jones: keyboards, pianos

Behind the Music
1. Stanza 1, what makes Ellis start thinking about his hometown streets? What does he realize he’s looking for?
2. Chorus, what makes home different from other places?
3. Where do you feel as if people really know you?
4. Stanza 2, how does this stanza help you to start understanding his connection to his hometown?
5. Stanza 2, what things would you use to explain your connection to your hometown?
6. Chorus, even while wanting to be home “where everybody knows me,” what is hard about being in a small town where everyone knows you?
7. Bridge, what is he talking about when he says, “This time I’m really leaving”?
8. Bridge, describe what it was like to leave your home, hometown, or someplace where you were really connected.
9. Looking at Psalm 139, how does God answer the need to be known “as deep as a soul can go”?
10. What is difficult about knowing that God knows everything about you? How is that similar to the difficulty of living in a small town, a close-knit community, or a close family?
11. When in your life have you felt that need to be back home? When have you realized that you needed a reassurance of being back home with and being known by God?
12. From the album notes:
During a lecture once, composer John Cage related an old Chinese Buddhist poem: "The mind is like a mirror," wrote a Zen monk. "It collects dust; the problem is to remove the dust." Few contemporary songwriters "remove the dust" and mirror real-life with the clarity, detail and shine that 32-year-old Maine native Ellis Paul does, and few craft such lucid, moving portraits, never resorting to the manipulation we take for granted in Hollywood tearjerkers and maudlin love ballads.
Even when Ellis Paul’s songs don’t come to the same conclusion about Jesus as truth, why do we need songs that help us to “remove the dust”?
Where do Christians need to be better about mirroring real life?

Lyrics reprinted with the kind permission of Ellis Paul.