The song “Up on a Mountain” by The Welcome Wagon has been haunting me recently (in a good way). It is a simple song about the simple truth of the Gospel – that Christ came down to save us from our sin. And just as it should, it hits me right in the heart:

Up on a mountain
Our Lord is alone
Without a family, friends, or a home
He cries, “Oo, oo, oo, will you stay with me?”
He cries, “Oh, oh, oh, will you wait with me?”

Up on a mountain
Our Lord is afraid
Carrying all the mistakes we have made

And He knew It’s a long way down
Do you know
It’s a long way down?
Up in the heavens
Our Lord prays for you
He sends His spirit to carry us through

So it’s true
That you’re not alone

Do you know
He came all the way down?
So it’s true
That you’re not alone

Do you know
He came all the way down?

Here’s what Sufjan Stevens, the producer of the album, has to say about it:

First things first: this is not complicated music. But church music—the kind that invites public participation—shouldn’t be…“Up On A Mountain” works as a prelude in which cascading melodies and naturalist theology simulate the salvation of the soul and the soothing of human loneliness, all evoked in the metaphor of “heights.” Monique Aiuto takes the mic for a disarming study of the Christian paradigm of God made-manifest, a mystic divination of the wilderness, God as “native,” preternaturally holed up in the hollows of a remote mountainside, who descends, at last, to a society of thankless infidels. The classic mountaineering chronicle of the “up/down” is a familiar Jewish principle. Moses, having the beheld the divine glory, descends from the mountain with the Ten Commandments and a glowing countenance only to find the Israelites stampeding with idols. Then, there is Mt. Sinai, Golgotha, and, in the New Testament, the Sermon on the Mount, the holiest of homilies. The “mountain” of this song is less substantial in size, but no less vast in meaning: the mount of Olives, which happens to be the unfortunate setting where Jesus was abandoned by his closest allies, the 12 disciples. Monique’s un-ambitious Sunday school recital here best suits the magnitude of the situation, as if she were instructing, in rueful, plaintive melodies, the theology of death to unsuspecting toddlers.

As we know from Martin Luther, “True theology and recognition of God are in the crucified Christ,” and I believe this song brings us, in mind and spirit, to the crux of the matter.