Cynthia Clawson pioneered contemporary Christian music and has recorded dozens of songs. A professional singer and songwriter since the early 70s, her 17 albums, Gaither Family videos, five Dove Awards, 15 Dove nominations, and a 1980 Grammy Award provide abundant evidence of Cynthia's talent and artistry. Selecting a single composition from her wide range of musical experience might prove overwhelming for some, but the Howard Payne University graduate readily responds when asked to name her favorite song.
"'Jesus Wept,' a track from my latest album is my favorite," the daughter of a Baptist minister says. "It talks about the humanity of Jesus which so often we forget and overlook."
Christ's human qualities have fascinated and intrigued the Austin, Texas-based performer since her youth. In 1987, Clawson scripted a short book for Accent Books detailing her favorite Bible verse.
When she selected the brief passage from John 11:35, editors questioned her choice. One even commented, "Well, just make sure that you don't take it out of context,"
Cynthia responded, "Out of context! That verse practically summarizes the entire gospel record for me. God understands."
Several years later, Mary Dawson, who penned several numbers for Clawson's most recent CD, Broken: Healing the Heart (Civic Records Group, 1999), noticed the booklets as the singer repacked them following a concert. She inquired if a song had ever been written on that theme. Clawson replied no, but one was sorely needed.
Dawson, currently president of CQK Music and Records, took the Bible's shortest verse and expanded the concept, citing several examples of a crying Jesus. She drew upon the imagery of the Christmas carol, "Away in a Manger," in the opening lyrics. Her song begins, "I've often heard the carols say that baby Jesus in the hay made no crying as He lay upon his manger bed."
Clawson also took note of this seeming contradiction. When her children were small, she wrote, "I find the idea of 'no crying' a bit difficult to accept! I know that the little Lord Jesus cried. What baby do you know who doesn't communicate through crying?"
As the verse continues, Dawson, a former missionary to Singapore, relates how Jesus wept over the death of his friend Lazarus, displaying his humanity to his disciples, Mary and Martha, and the people of Bethany. She pens, "And when Christ grew to be a man, He wept to see death take His friend."
In My Favorite Verse, Clawson describes the scene in this manner, "He wept for sadness at the loss of a friend He loved; He wept for himself and other close friends; He wept for all the people who had and would feel pain in life. And, He wept because death was - and because He knew without it there could be no life."
In addition to Lazarus' death, Dawson's song also notes how Christ cried for Jerusalem. The passage found in Luke 19:41-44 details the agony He experienced knowing of the city's ultimate destruction.
The co-host of the syndicated radio program, "I Write the Songs," phrases the scene succinctly, "He wept to see Jerusalem refuse His love's embrace." She concludes her creation with the thought, "He understands the deepest part of every hurting human heart. He gathers all the tears there are and covers them with grace."
"It's very comforting for me to know how Jesus cares, and that we can survive a broken heart," Clawson says. "Death comes in various forms besides physical, and whether it's the death of dreams, relationships, or a business, it's always painful. It's the reassurance of resurrection that enables us to carry on."