Posted by: rcottrill | July 23, 2018

Jesus Loves Even Me

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Also see 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing in your church. As others have contributed ideas, this wonderful resource has grown to over 80 items now. And, for more than three dozen reasons why congregations should still use hymn books rather than merely projecting words on the wall, see The Value of Hymn Books.

Words: Philip Paul Bliss (b. July 9, 1838; d. Dec. 29, 1876)
Music: Philip Paul Bliss

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (for another article see here)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: There’s a simplicity of vocabulary and directness of emotion to Bliss’s songs, as well as a sincerity of devotion. Consider his Hallelujah, What a Saviour! and the compendium of spiritual qualities in More Holiness Give Me. And My Redeemer (“I will sing of my Redeemer…”) is an example of passionate praise.

And just a word of encouragement not to sing the latter song too fast. Here’s an interesting example of a reverent pace for it. (Contrary to the heading, it does not involve the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, but is part of an orthodox Christian forum led by apologist Ravi Zacharias at the Mormon Tabernacle.)

Our English word “song” has been around for over a thousand years.

A song is poetry set to music, a metrical composition framed and supported by a melody so it can be sung.

And we sing songs about all kinds of things. Some subjects are worthy of the singing, and some not. There are songs of pure love, but also songs of carnal lust. There are sentimental or nostalgic songs, patriotic songs and national anthems, melodic battle cries, and songs to protest war, such as Blowin’ in the Wind. There are songs to march to, dance to, or exercise to. There are fun songs, like Mary Had a Little Lamb, and commercial jingles used in advertising.

Then there are the hymns of the church: songs of praise and prayer directed to God, and gospel songs of Christian teaching and testimony we share with one another. Words such as “song” and “sing” are used in the Bible more than two hundred and fifty times, and some words translated “praise” may also imply singing as well (e.g. Acts 3:8; Rev. 19:5).

In addition to the music of the saints of God, the Bible speaks of the angels singing (Job 38:4, 7), and God Himself doing so (Zeph. 3:17). Songs of praise will continue on into eternity (cf. Rev. 15:3-4). It’s even possible that music will be a heavenly language. Whether or not we have good singing voices, there is, in each believer, an impulse to sing, born of the Spirit. As Isaac Watts noted, in a hymn, in contrast, “Let those refuse to sing, who never knew our God.” If you know Him, you’ll want to exalt Him with your songs.

Sacred songs can be complex and explore deep theological doctrines. However some are simple enough for children to sing and understand. But even with the simplicity of vocabulary in the latter, significant truths can be presented. An example of this is a hymn called Jesus Loves Even Me, written in 1870 by Philip Bliss. Consider the words.

CH-1) I am so glad that our Father in heav’n
Tells of His love in the Book He has giv’n;
Wonderful things in the Bible I see,
This is the dearest, that Jesus loves me.

Phrases such as “I am so glad…wonderful things…this is the dearest” alert us to the fact that is is a song about spiritual values, and it points to something highly esteemed. Along the way we are assured that God above is our heavenly Father (cf. Matt. 6:9), and that the Bible is “the Book He has given us” (cf. II Tim. 3:16). The subject of supreme value found there is that the Lord Jesus “loves me.” As the Bible puts it, “The Son of God…loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).

This is emphasized by Bliss’s refrain.

I am so glad that Jesus loves me,
Jesus loves me, Jesus loves me.
I am so glad that Jesus loves me,
Jesus loves even me.

Notice that, in pondering his subject, he sees others far more deserving than himself. Mr. Bliss seems to see himself in the lowest rank, far beneath the apostles and martyrs, great preachers, heroic missionaries, and brilliant theologians. It’s as though the Lord Jesus stooped down from heaven to love “even me.” And this was not phony posturing. His friend, evangelist Dwight Moody, said, “He was the most humble man I ever knew.”

The next stanza may allude to the return of the prodigal son to his home and his father’s love (Lk. 15:11-24).

CH-2) Though I forget Him, and wander away,
Still He doth love me wherever I stray;
Back to His dear loving arms would I flee,
When I remember that Jesus loves me.

There’s a recognition of both human weakness and divine constancy in these words–the assurance that it’s possible to make a new start. The motivation to do so will be a recollection of the warmth of the Saviour’s love.

The final stanza adds the thought that the love of Christ–“who loved us and washed us from our sins” (Rev. 1:5)–will still be our theme in eternity.

CH-3) Oh, if there’s only one song I can sing,
When in His beauty I see the great King,
This shall my song in eternity be,
“Oh, what a wonder, that Jesus loves me.”

Questions:
1) How is the word “gave” (Jn. 3:16; Gal. 2:20) connected to the Lord’s love for us?

2) What will our response be when we realize and accept His love for us?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (for another article see here)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org


Responses

  1. Are you familiar with a song that I think came out of the Grand Rapids School of Bible and Music in late 60’s, early 70’s with this main line “Oh Lord my God, how wonderful Thou art, to make the world and satisfy man’s heart! I fail to comprehend it all somehow. Oh Lord my God how wonderful Thou art”? It was sung beautifully with a very fitting sustained crascendo on the last line.


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