"Vito's Ordination Song" as written by and Sufjan Stevens....
I always knew you
In your mother's arms
I have called her name
I've an idea

Placed in your mind
To be a better man,
I've made a crown for you
And put it in your room

And when the bride groom comes
There will be noise.
And there will be glad
And the perfect bed

And when you write a poem
I know the words,
I know the sounds
Before you write it down

When you wear your clothes
I wear them too
I wear your shoes.
And the jacket too

I always knew you
In your mother's arms
I have called you son.
I've made amends

Between father and son.
Or if you haven't one
Rest in my arms,
Sleep in my bed,

There's a design
To what I did and said
Rest in my arms,
Sleep in my bed,
There's a design

Lyrics submitted by xsloth, edited by gmayer, doylejg, sunfreezfilms

"Vito's Ordination Song" as written by Sufjan Stevens

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, NEW JERUSALEM MUSIC

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Vito's Ordination Song song meanings
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  • +8
    General CommentI believe it is about God having a plan to be a Father to His Children (Christians). I think when he says "Only wear your clothes; I wear them too; I wear your shoes; and your jacket too" it refers to God coming down in human form as Christ (John 1:1, 14). "I've made amends; we should be father and son" means that because of the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ, God made amends (in the sense that we are counted righteous in Christ by faith in Christ) so that we can come to God with full access. Therefore for Christians, He's our Father, and we are His Sons.

    That's how I've interpreted it because Sufjan's lyrics often have a Christian undertone and meaning.

    For His Glory,
    Pemberley Tea
    Psalm 16:11
    PemberleyTeaon January 01, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis song is obviously from God's point of view. Considering the Christian themes Sufjan often has, it's pretty obvious. If you see any other way of interpreting a song called Vito's Ordination Song, you're either thinking way too hard or trying too hard to avoid the obvious religious meaning.

    sweetandlowon October 29, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General CommentWhat Sufjan has to say:

    We have been known from the very start. Our eye color, our hairline, our jawline, the shape of our big toe, the tone of our voice. These things have been designed from the very beginning.

    What kind of music we listen to. The sort of skirt that looks good. The sort of cap that fits right. We have been made to find these things for ourselves and take them in as ours, like adopted children: habits, hobbies, idiosyncrasies, gestures, moods, tastes, tendencies, worries. We are all these things. They have been put in us for good measure.

    Perhaps we don’t like what we see: our shapeless hair, our loss of hair, our shoe size, our dimples, our knuckles too big, our eating habits, our disposition. We have disclosed these things in secret, likes and dislikes, behind doors with locks, our lonely rooms, our messy desks, our empty hearts, our sudden bursts of energy, our sudden bouts of depression.

    Don’t worry. Put away your mirrors and your beauty magazines and your books on tape. There is someone right here who knows you more than you do, who is making room on the couch, who is fixing a meal, who is putting on your favorite record, who is listening intently to what you have to say, who is standing there with you, face to face, hand to hand, eye to eye, mouth to mouth. There is no space left uncovered.
    desticatelikearaton December 17, 2011   Link
  • +2
    General CommentAlright, first off, let's get this out of the way.

    This song is directed to Sufjan Stevens' friend, Thomas Vito Aiuto. He is an ordained reverend who preaches at Resurrection Presbyterian Church, which Sufjan attends whenever he's in the area. Vito and his wife have a band called the Welcome Wagon, which Sufjan produces--their lyrics are all Christ-centered--and Vito collaborated with Sufjan on a lot of the songs on the latter's Christmas album. So, right off the bat, the title is, at least on some level, literal: It is a song about the ordination of a guy named Vito to the Christian ministry. All your guys' theories about divorced parents and sexual affairs are all well and good, but it's not what the song's about, and insisting that it might not be is sort of like claiming that it's unfair to say that the Battle Hymn of the Republic might actually be pro-Confederacy.

    Now, to the lyrics:

    "I always knew you/In your mother's arms" seems like a reference to Jeremiah 1:4-5: "Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations." This again makes the connection to someone being "ordained" to speak the word of God to people, who's been prepared for this mission since infancy.

    "I have called your name" seems like an allusion to the story in 1 Samuel 3 where God calls the young Samuel three times in the night, which the boy mistakes for the voice of the high priest Eli. When Eli realizes who Samuel is hearing, he instructs the youth to reply, "Speak; for thy servant heareth." This is the beginning of Samuel's ministry as a prophet, and again the imagery of being called to the mission of declaring God's message is the theme here. This could also be a reference to Isaiah 43:1: "But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine."

    The Apocalyptic imagery of Vito receiving a crown, the Bridegroom coming, etc. has already been discussed by other commentators here so I won't really dwell on it; and of course the song derives a lot from Psalm 139, as has also already been mentioned.

    "When you wear your clothes/I wear them too/I wear your shoes/And your jacket too" is an interesting concept. Is it saying that God will be closer to Vito than the very clothes he's wearing? Is the idea that Vito is being clothed in the righteousness of Christ's merits, that he is "putting on Christ" (Romans 13:14)? I'm honestly not sure but I'm kind of reminded of Sufjan's other song "In the Devil's Territory" on probably his most explicitly Christian album that isn't Christmas-themed, *Seven Swans*, where there's the line "I stole my Father's shoes/I pulled His pockets too". That's another line I'm not too certain about, but it seems like the concept is the Heavenly Father's status and stature, as shown forth in His garments, is being shared with the believer.

    Maybe the reference is to the story of the prodigal son being restored to his family described in Luke 15: "But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet" (verse 22). This might make sense of the lyric "I've made amends/Between father and son". If you watch Vito Aituo's personal testimony, which is currently on YouTube, he talks about how he really had no relationship with God throughout his high school years and only found faith later in life, so perhaps that's what this is a reference to.

    Whatever the exact meaning of these details might be, the thrust of the song overall is clear. It's a song about God's election. Like so many of Sufjan's songs (maybe, in a sense, all of them), it's about Grace.
    PWitnesson February 10, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is absolutely beautiful
    Ma800mon November 12, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIf you examine the entire album as a whole, it's pretty obvious that Sufjan is writing this about struggling with God, this song is the conclusion to it all, it doesn't answer every question that the speaker has, but it concludes with "rest in my arms". Beautiful/
    Beicheron February 03, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is absolutely beautiful
    Ma800mon November 12, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song is talking about him and his wife getting married and having a child. But soon after they have a child they get a divorce. The man tells the boy how close they are and to his son, he will always be his father.
    musikisfunon November 28, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think pemberley tea got it dead on. I love that Sufjan can write songs about his faith without sounding preachy so that even non-christians like myself can appreciate their beauty of the song without feeling like they're sitting through a sermon, like so many other christian musicians :)
    deliriumtriggeron January 05, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI'm actually just listening to this song for the first time now. We can infer from the title that this song is celebrating the occasion of his friend's ordination into becoming a reverend. I will try to analyze this song from a Christian viewpoint. (I feel that Pemberley Tea is correct also, by the way.) "I always knew you" even as a baby, in Psalms it says something to the effect of "I knit you together in your mother's womb." The bridegroom refers to Jesus Christ, as he if referred to the world's bridegroom in the Bible. Basically that this man is living out God's perfect plan for him.
    beulahrawkon January 12, 2005   Link

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