Behind the Song: Holy Ground
Holy Ground is a song that once again shows the power of God.
Geron Davis was nineteen years old when his minister father ask him to write a song for the new building their church was dedicating in Savannah, Tennessee.
Weeks before the dedication his father asked him to write a song and Davis kept meaning to, but either inspiration never struck or he never had time. However, as time drew closer to the dedication his father kept asking him about the song and Davis kept promising he would have one.
Geron Davis explains what happened the Saturday night before the dedication:
“Saturday night came, the night before the first service in the new church auditorium, and I still had not written a song. My dad and I were finishing some last minute chores at the church when he turned to me and asked, ‘Do you have a song for us?’ I quickly answered, ‘No sir, but I’m fixin’ to.'”
“I went into the sanctuary, dimmed the lights and sat down at the new grand piano. I asked myself, ‘What do we want to say when we come into this building tomorrow to have a service for the first time?’ I began to hum a bit and softly sing some lyrics that were entering my mind. I wrote the lyrics on paper and they kept coming, about as fast as I could write. Within 15 minutes I had finished the entire song. I then went home and to bed.”
“I’m the oldest of four kids, so I awakened Jeff, age 17, and Alyson, 11, early the next morning. I taught them my new song, “Holy Ground.” They learned to sing it by rote because I had no music written on paper. We sang it, as a trio, later that morning in the church service.”
“My mom cried because she thought her kids never sounded better. My dad was just happy that I had written a song. The congregation responded unbelievably to ‘Holy Ground.'”
Davis recalled that someone later asked if he realized he was writing something so powerful. He said he answered Are you kidding? I was 19 years old, it was midnight and I wanted to get to bed.'”
Soon thereafter, Davis helped record “Holy Ground” for a friend’s album. Another friend heard the recording and asked permission to shop the song around; 24 hours later, he returned to Davis with news that Meadowgreen Music was interested. When the company bought the tune, music executive Randy Cox told Davis: “This song will live beyond you. It will be bigger than you can imagine.” Davis remembers thinking, “Yeah, sure,” only later to realize that his words were right on target.
The song has grown in popularity over the years and is sung in church, at weddings, at funerals and in times of joy and times of heartache.
Davis says, “The most satisfying thing is not how many units we’ve sold or how much money it’s made, but the fact that I have done something that becomes a part of the fabric of people’s everyday lives.”
Davis and his wife, Becky, sung the song at the inauguration of President Bill Clinton, who is a fan of the song. The song was also sung at the funeral of Clinton’s mother, Virginia Kelly, in 1994. At the funeral, Barbra Streisand heard the song for the first time and recorded it a short time later.
After the album’s release, someone asked Geron Davis: “How does it feel to know that you ‘electrified’ Barbra Streisand?” Davis replied, “Here’s a lady who’s sung on Broadway. She has sung duets with every famous person in the country. She’s produced, starred in, and directed movies. You think a 19-year-old’s song is gonna electrify her? That’s not what electrified Barbra Streisand. What happened to Barbra Streisand-and I believe she would agree-is that she got into the presence of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. She was electrified not by my song, but by the presence of God that she felt in the room.
Davis went on to become a musician and composer and has written other songs including, “In the Presence of Jehovah”, “Mercy Saw Me”, “Send It On Down”, “Holy Of Holies”, “Gentle Hands”, “Peace Speaker”, and “Something About My Praise.“
He performs with his wife, sister and brother-in-law as a part of the group Kindred Souls.
May we always remember this comment by Geron Davis, ’we’re all on level ground’ when we’re on His holy ground.”
Pictures courtesy of FreeBibleImages.org and Pixabay.com