Behind the Song: The King is Coming
Recently, I heard a sermon relating the first days of the church of Christ to the uncertainty of our future as Christians in this world. The sermon ended by assuring us that although we live in an uncertain world today, one thing is for sure. Jesus Christ will return again one day just the way he promised.
When I hear or see something that ministers to me, songs often began to run through my head and heart. Before this sermon was even finished, I could hear The King is Coming in my heart.
This song has continued to provide a soundtrack to my days in the following weeks.
I began to wonder what prompted Bill and Gloria Gaither to write this song.
I was thrilled to find that Gloria had written the story in their book, Something Beautiful.
Gloria shares that it was the early 1970s and they were busy with family and life. The second coming was not on their mind. One evening their friends Chuck Millhuff and Jim Bohi came over for dinner. During the meal, the two evangelists shared about a recent sermon they’d heard from Jim Crabtree.
Crabtree pointed out that Jesus is coming back, but we often forget that with the busyness of life. He ended the service walking through the congregation shouting “The King is Coming! The King is Coming!”
The quartet at dinner that evening began to brainstorm and word images began to form.
After the men left, Gloria and Bill continued to talk. They knew they wanted the song to have a “musical setting that would…be something simple and yet grand—like a coronation procession.”
Bill sat at the piano and the music and melody in his heart began to flow through his fingers to the keyboard.
Gloria pondered the conversation and eventually set aside her housework, to sit down and write the lyrics of the song. Once again the words flowed from her, and she even incorporated some of the word images pondered by their friends when they visited.
When she finished with the words, she took them to Bill at the piano. Gloria explains in the book, “when the lyric was written, I felt spent, yet shaky with excitement. I took the words in to Bill and he immediately played and sang them fitting them like a glove to the music he’d been hearing. His chorus finished the piece with simplicity and power.”
The song has been recorded by numerous artists and sung in countless concerts over the years. However, the message remains unchanged. One day, when we least expect it, “The King is Coming! The King is Coming! Praise God, He’s coming for me!”