The Gospel According to Hozier’s “Take Me to Church”
Written by Dave Herrmann | March 19, 2015
You’ve all heard it…and heard it…and heard it. “My lover’s got humor. She’s the giggle at a funeral….” Most of you have turned it up—rightfully so, as it’s a catchy song, to say the least. But have you really listened to the lyrics?
Take me to church
I’ll worship like a dog at the shrine of your lies
I’ll tell you my sins and you can sharpen your knife
Offer me that deathless death
Good God, let me give you my life
There are many, and I mean MANY, interpretations of what this song is all about. In general, it’s about a relationship that is all-encompassing. It’s about “worshiping your lover”—as in Hozier’s words, the “she” he sings about. This song is about (gasp!) sex. It’s about our humanity and sex. It’s about how the church views sex. Hozier has stated this song is not anti-faith—it’s knocking how the church handles sex and the natural state of it.
Listening to this song, you get a few feelings as a Christian—first off, how powerful the song is in and of itself. After the 50th listen, it tends to be glossed over. However, go back and listen to it from the standpoint of a man frustrated, frustrated with the church. This is the Gospel of Hozier.
Hozier claims that his church is his lover, not a place he goes to on Sundays. Hozier claims that his heaven is when he’s with “her.” You see, Hozier’s “Take Me to Church” is a wake-up call to us as Christians. This man isn’t alone; the church or “religion” is not doing its part.
Let’s revisit the line above:
I’ll tell you my sins and you can sharpen your knife.
Now, I don’t know Hozier’s interpretation of this, but I can guess. He’s coming from a place of hurt in which he shared his sin with someone in the church and they judged him. This mind-set is the difference between following religion versus following Christ. Religion says, “Sinner!” Jesus says, “You’re forgiven.”
As followers of Christ, we shouldn’t be judging ANYONE. Let that judgment be given to God. Just love on people. The truth is to some, the Gospel hurts. The truth is we aren’t called to do anything BUT love. Jesus’ death fulfilled the Mosaic Law, the law that had called for a perfect obedience under the threat of a “curse.” Yeah, that law, Jesus fulfilled.
Hozier’s song is from a point of contention with the church and religion in its present day. Hozier’s song should be taken to us as a way to do better. To do as Jesus said before he died—”make disciples of ALL nations.” We cannot debate people into believing in Christ. But we can quickly do the opposite if we take the view Hozier is singing about.
This song isn’t something we should silence from our ears. It’s a rallying cry for us to do better, to love one another regardless of backgrounds, and all sit down and talk about this Jesus fellow and what He represents, which is love, not judgment.