Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Melody (08/24/06)
- TITLE: "Jesus is the Same"
By Debora Dyess
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Terry was a music evangelist. He traveled the southwest region of the United States with his father, brother and wife, singing Southern Gospel music and exhorting people to come to Jesus and, once there, to bring others into the Kingdom. He was a passionate evangelist, a gifted speaker and…
…a science fiction fan.
So, when Close Encounters of the Third Kind came out in 1977, he and his wife took one of their free weekends home—few and far between—and went to the theater to see the blockbuster.
In case you haven’t seen the movie (is there still someone out there who hasn’t seen the movie?) it’s about a man named Roy, who becomes obsessed with the thought of aliens and 5 musical notes after his truck stalls and he is bathed in light from above. ‘Close Encounters’ follows his tortured quest, and culminates, of course, with Roy, a group of scientists and other people whose minds have been filled with the simple melody, meeting the charming little aliens, and Roy heading off to galaxies unknown with the petite cuties.
The first time that famous musical phrase played (re, mi, sol, sol, do), Terry sat bolt upright in his seat and looked at his wife, Mona, who glanced at him, smiled innocently and turned her attention back to the movie.
That melody plays all the way through the movie, and each time it played Terry glanced at Mona or looked around at the crowd. She, like everyone else, sat unconcerned, taking in the wonders of the film, although Mona seemed slightly confused by his agitation at the music.
When it was all over, the couple walked quietly to the car.
“I take it you weren’t too impressed with the show,” Mona said as they got into their vehicle and headed for home.
“I just thought it was so strange…and in a whole theater full of people, no one seemed to mind…”
“The words to the music.”
Mona sat quietly for a minute. “Terry,” she said after this pause, “there were no words to the music.”
“Of course there were. Every time they played that phrase—you know which one I mean—every time, they sang, ‘Jesus is the same’.”
Mona shook her head.
Terry nodded, emphatically, confused. “I heard it.”
“Only you heard it.”
Terry blinked. “But…”
“Who was singing it?”
“I don’t know... He thought for a minute. “You know, it wasn’t singing, really…more like…the words were just there.”
“In your head?”
“No…no, I heard them, Mona.” He sang the brief melody to her. “Je-sus is the same…Just like that.”
They rode home in silence, each caught in the wonder of what happened at the movies that night. Their contemplation had nothing to do with aliens or visitations or Steven Spielberg. They had to do only with Jesus, and his ability to give us gifts in the strangest of ways, and the most unexpected places.
Terry went straight to the piano, sat down and, using the melody and words provided at the movie, wrote the song, ‘Jesus is the Same’. It never made it ‘big’ on the Southern Gospel music charts, such as they were at that time, and the family quartet, ‘The Followers’, disbanded a few years later. But I’ll never forget the impact that the quartet and that song in particular, had on my life. The lines still ring in my head every time I hear that simple, melodic phrase. A lump still forms in my throat, and I feel so proud of Jesus, and of what he did for me.
“*Jesus is the same,
as the day He died for me…
By His blessed name,
In Heaven I will be!
*He’s the only Way;
In Him I’ll just believe!
*Jesus is the same…
He gave love a name.”
Note: * indicates phrases where the ‘Close Encounters’ melody is used.
“Jesus Is The Same”, written by Terry Sinclair.
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