Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Yes, Jesus Loves Me

As part of my daily routine, I pray using the PDA version of Sacred Space during lunch. Because the lunch room at work is noisy, I listen to music as background noise to help keep my focus. Generally, I don't notice the music much. Today, I happened to be listening to John Fahey's Return of the Repressed.

The scripture reading for today on Sacred Space was John 3:16-17, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him." Generally, it's hard to hear such a familiar verse with fresh ears. Today, what spoke to me were the words "God so loved".

It's far too easy to slip into thinking of Jesus in terms of doctrine or proclamation. It's much harder, for me at least, to actually connect with Jesus in terms of the love of God. I don't mean to see Jesus' life as an expression of God's love, but rather to actually feel loved by God when thinking of Jesus. That is, it's hard for me to connect to it personally.

So today I was ruminating on these things, and I prayed for God to give me the grace to make this kind of personal connection. About that time, I noticed the song playing in my earplugs. It was "The Sea of Love." Now, the Fahey album is instrumental, but this song has just the right mix of familiarity and simplicity so that the lyrics flow in my mind when I hear the music.

Call me sappy, if you must. Say I'm reading to much into a coincidence, if you must. But I was touched. And so I just sat silently and listening, imagining Jesus was sitting there with me playing this song for me (and perhaps laughing at me just a bit).

And then when the song was over I said a concluding prayer as the next song started, like the music accompanying the credits after a movie. The next song? "Yes, Jesus Loves Me"!


Chris Sagsveen said...

Thank you for the great reminder - Jesus Loves Me. I should reflect on that statement at the start of each day. Because that's what its all about.

Andy said...

It really is simple, isn't it? And yet, even now I'm tempted to muck it up with a lot of analysis about how emotional content is beside the point and so forth.

Chris Sagsveen said...

"Muck it up with analysis." I agree - for some reason we feel the need to go there.

David said...

A book that I really enjoy is Jesus Loves Me by Calvin Miller. While it is not necessarily on the best seller list, it is a good book about the love Jesus has for all of God's people. And is based on the song.

Tom in Ontario said...

You talk about coincidence and I've heard people say they don't believe in coincidences. I wouldn't go that far but sometimes it's good to think that maybe something that seemed coincidental might not be.

Here in our town we're doing something called "Proclamation." It's a 10 day, 14 hours a day, reading of the Bible by volunteers from various churches around town. I took a turn last week and read a bunch of chapters from Deuteronomy that didn't say much to me but then part of my reading was from Romans 5 and I thought, "what a coincidence that a Lutheran pastor gets to read about justification by faith." But maybe it wasn't a coincidence.

Then this week I went just to hear some of the reading by someone else and she was reading from Luke and concluded with verses 12-14, the text for my sermon last Saturday at our conference meeting. I'd like to think that these weren't just coincidences.

Eric Stark said...

Neat testimony. Really, who gives a nit about being sappy. If fear of sappiness should at any moment deprive us of basic earthly joys under secular pressures of being "unmanly", then how lost may we be to all the greater joys that await us.

Anyway, on the topic of "muck it up with analysis", I have an analogy for you: I don't recall where I heard this, but I understand that the primary instruction given to a pilot upon encountering any number of alarming situations is "fly the plane". If the landing gear doesn't deploy, first "fly the plane" and worry about the other stuff later. If the radio goes out, "fly the plane" and worry about the radio later. And so forth. Now, a lot of study and analysis goes into the whole matter of flying a plane and preparing for the unlikely and critical situations. That is important and should not be neglected or forgotten except for the application of the golden rule, "fly the plane."

So much of my Christian walk has been the same. I can study and analyze and debate the innumerable facets of the Word (and I really get a kick out of that), but I must always apply the first rule of "Love our God" lest I get too caught-up with the details. Yes, it is that simple, any yet it is that rich! Cool stuff.