Saturday, May 9, 2015

We Bow Down -- Twila Paris

Twila Paris was a 26-year old star, with a number one hit, her very first one. So one could imagine that she might have felt she’d arrived at the top. Others might have understood, since she had already written dozens of songs and produced four albums, if she had acted a little cocky. Her life was set, and all she needed was to keep moving upward, composing more memorable, inspiring songs. But, that wasn’t what she must have been thinking when she composed “We Bow Down” at the same time in 1984. What’s the foundation for a successful worship tune? Twila is as much an expert as you might find, since she’s been at this task as an adult for over 30 years professionally.

Twila’s understanding of good music development by 1984 had been inside her probably for many years, even from her childhood before she reached double-digits in years. By the age of 7 she was known as ‘Little Twila Paris’ on her first album, a collection of hymns she’d grown used to singing with her family during evangelism campaigns. No doubt about it, Paris received her musical genes from parents Oren and Rachel and the Arkansas roots that nourished and shaped her. Success and recognition at so young an age could have been a burden to others, yet in Twila’s case it must have given her the recipe for healthy development. “We Bow Down” embodies an attitude of prostration to the God she calls Lord and King in the song’s two verses. Little people, even one at 26-years old, can say powerful things, she realized. This was also an idea that was the theme of the album on which “We Bow Down” appears -- The Warrior Is a Child. Jesus had learned to humble himself, Twila must have realized, and became everyone’s Savior as a result. We don’t know what minute-to-minute circumstances evolved to guide Twila’s hands to write “We Bow Down”, but her words tell us of a life that was tilted toward Him personally. She begins each verse with a personal declaration of her devotion to Him, and then does what must have come naturally since her childhood. She invites everyone around her to join in the ‘we’ that say they bow to Him. Let’s all be His children together.

Twila’s in her mid-50s by now (in 2015), and still composing songs, although she’s taken more time out for her family. She and husband Jack are raising kids, teaching them what it means to bow and sacrifice, and to whom. It’s a posture from which Paris has probably never left, really. She probably still sings those songs from her ‘Little Twila’ days, and the one she wrote as a 26-year old too, as reminders of the way she relates to her Father God. It’s a way of staying grounded, letting Him be in control. Try bowing a bit each day, and see if a childlike posture doesn’t make your life go better.

Check out the following links to read about the composer:

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