Ricky Skaggs and Steven Curtis Chapman Took the Opry to Church With Their Cover of “What A Friend We Have In Jesus”


The Grand Ole Opry is hallowed ground for country musicians. It is the home of legends and giants of the genre and the goal of every struggling musician. But there is something beyond the Opry. Something better. Ricky Skaggs and Steven Curtis Chapman (sporting a Glen Campbell t-shirt under his blazer) took a moment to point the audience heavenward, reminding them of the God who sees and cares for them singing “What A Friend We Have In Jesus.” Quite frankly, it is exactly the reminder I needed this morning.

Ricky Skaggs and Steven Curtis Chapman are Opry regulars and Nashville royalty. Chapman is well known for his work in the Christian music industry and generosity towards other musicians. Skaggs is a bluegrass man, know for his versatility and old time sensibilities. I had the opportunity to see him live with Earl Scruggs, who was then in his late eighties, and I have never seen someone more willing to shed the spotlight for the encouragement of others than Skaggs. They live what they believe.

When they sing “What A Friend We Have In Jesus,” a song that has been covered countless times, you believe every word they sing. This isn’t some ole-time standard, it’s truth they hold on to. They had me hanging on every word like I was hearing it for the first time. And, honestly, there is more truth to hold on to in one couplet of this song than an hour of contemporary Christian radio.

It is a beautiful song. The ending is a helpful reminder that even legends can be awkward, so, you know, there’s hope for the rest of us.