Throwback to Shawn Craig’s interview at New Release Today (NRT) with Kevin Davis about “The Distance”.
Originally published August 2009 at newreleasetoday.com
A crumbling economy, wars without end, new health risks, security threats and more. The media gives us a constant stream of reasons to be afraid. But what if God’s people shined a light of eternal hope right into the face of this world’s temporary circumstances?
That’s the compelling idea behind Fearless, the tenth studio album from one of today’s most respected Christian vocal groups, Phillips, Craig & Dean.
The album has several great versions of previously recorded songs including “Revelation Song,” “From The Inside Out” and “Counting On God.” Among the originals, Shawn Craig is especially excited about “The Distance,” a soaring anthem of grace with heart-gripping words that read like a story poem.
“The idea is that God couldn’t stand the distance between us, so He came near,” Shawn explains. “There’s a bit of hyperbole in that, but the principle is true. God shows His love in spanning the canyon between mankind and Himself with the humble cross. I feel as strongly about that lyric as any I’ve written.”
Please tell me about writing “The Distance.”
Sometime ago I heard someone say there was such a distance between God and man. And we were fine with that distance, but God wasn’t, so He bridged the gap and spanned the distance between us. I co-wrote the song with Bernie Herms, and he loved the idea.
Is there a personal story about the message of the song?
Not really. It’s more theology than anything else. I am a fan of C.S. Lewis and some of his quotes come to mind as well as my own song, “This Is How It Feels To Be Free” from Where Strength Begins. C.S. Lewis has a quote that says, “If you wanted to know what it was like for God to become a man, imagine becoming a slug.” The impact of the fall and the problem of sin goes back to Adam and Eve in Genesis. When we started the first verse of “The Distance,” “Adam’s fall repeated in a moment…at the edge of Eden’s door. We are all, in a sense, repeating the same thing that Adam did. We find ourselves a step away from where we need to be. If we don’t understand how the cross has already spanned the distance, we will forever be outside of His blessing. Thank God for the cross!
Do you have any bible verses you used in writing the song?
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
What’s the takeaway message for listeners regarding the song?
I like the wording from Romans that says that Jesus demonstrated His love through humility and that He was on display. The cross is more than just a symbol–we put it on church steeples and wear it around our necks. The cross, most of all, represents love. In “The Distance” we are trying to depict God’s love, and 2,000 years later we are still trying to write songs about God’s love.
Here are the lyrics for “The Distance”
Broken up on a road that felt like freedom
A rebel headed anywhere but home
Adam’s fall repeated in a moment
Kept it at the edge of Eden’s door
In the company of the angels
Reachin’ from a beautiful world
You could’ve waited
You couldn’t stand
Couldn’t stand the distance
You wouldn’t bare the silence anymore
Love broke the fall, bridged across to reach us
You opened Heaven’s door
‘Cause you couldn’t stand the distance
Close enough to see the love I needed
A seeker lookin’ for the way back home
Underneath the weight of what I wasted
While mercy stood lookin’ down on hope
Then you ran to where I was waiting
And your love crossed the canyon between us
You came to save me
So close to your mercy
Yet so far away
You ran to me
You ran to me
You call me by name
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah
I love the bridge of this song: “You ran to me, you ran to me, Forgiveness, Embrace me, You call me by name, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah”. I love a song that ties in the biblical truth of God’s love with an emotional response. That concept of God running to me reminds me of the all-time great song “When God Ran” by Phillips, Craig & Dean about the prodigal son. “The Distance” is my favorite song from Fearless along with “Revelation Song,” and if you are looking for a time of praise and worship in response to God, this entire album is full of amazing examples of praising God for His sacrifice “that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”