Song Snapshots is a column featuring the stories behind new and classic Southern Gospel songs.
Like so many of Southern Gospel’s finest songs, “I Have Seen the Lord” was inspired by a sermon. At the time the song was written, co-writer Belinda Smith was attending Grace Church of the Nazarene in Nashville.
“When you work in music all week,” she explains, “it’s kind of fun to slip into the balcony and sit back and listen to what other people do. I’m not going to say I wouldn’t support a church musically, but it’s Nashville. Everyone’s so talented musically! So nobody there knew I was a songwriter.”
One Easter, Pastor Richard Ball kept using the phrase “I have seen the Lord” in his sermon. The phrase stuck with her. One day, in a co-writing session with Sue C. Smith, she mentioned the idea, saying, “We should write this.” They did; Signature Sound Quartet recorded it on their debut recording, Stand By Me.
After the recording came out, she mailed a copy to Pastor Ball. She said, “Hey, I write songs, and you don’t know this, but I thought you would get a kick out of hearing this.”